Running for Office at 24 Years Old is...
But it's done, folks.
The decision to run for Raleigh City Council was made just six months ago and just like that, the journey is complete.
There are so many things and stories I would love to share. Some positive. Some extremely negative. Some joyful. Some painstakingly tough. But I want to focus on a positive and a wonderful lesson that came out of the campaign.
The odds were against me from the start, but sometimes you have to strive for a different kind of success than a traditional "win."
At twenty-four years old, I can boldly say that I took the first step towards my dream of being an elected public servant, and eventually the Governor of North Carolina.
I ran for office as a transplant in a city of more than 460,000 people. A city I only had two short years of relationships and networking opportunities. I ran for office as a full-time law student. I ran for office as a political "newbie" with no "family money" to bankroll the campaign and with no political connections whatsoever.
Despite the odds, I was passionate about working for the people in my community. I chose to run because I felt wholeheartedly committed to serving the people of Raleigh, North Carolina. I felt confident I could keep an open mind to potential change and progress and also bring a fresh perspective to the table.
I knew the beginning of a career in public service might not be pretty but I prayed it would be worth it.
After several months to reflect on the experience I am thankful I chose to be patient in writing about the campaign. This blog post might have taken on a multitude of different forms.
Often we do not reap the benefits of our effort and dedication to a cause for quite some time. There are times where we actually never see our hard work pay off in a tangible or real way. The moments where we are able to truly SEE how our time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears make a difference are fleeting but oh so sweet. We must embrace and be overwhelmingly thankful for those moments.
My moment was realized just a few weeks ago.
Life is a journey. My path after the election lead me to a position this semester working for the Attorney of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. When I was offered the position I was instantly overjoyed and ecstatic to work with an attorney for a state-wide elected official. What an honor! What amazing experience for this political hopeful!
What took time to set in was the fact that I could be potentially working in the same office with the NEXT Governor of North Carolina.
The very lofty goal I hope to achieve one day.
The gravity of the opportunity set in.
But that is not the topic of THIS particular blog post... Not today. Not to be self-centered, but this post is about MY City Council campaign.
What is so incredible about this new position is something that happened on my very first day at the Lieutenant Governor's office.
As I was being introduced to various lobbyists, elected officials, and staff that were present at the Lieutenant Governor's office that day, I met someone for the second time.
As I was introduced to one of the members of the Lieutenant Governor's staff, he interjected and said,
"Oh, we have actually met before. You knocked on my door when you were running for City Council. We talked and I voted for you and posted on social media about your campaign."
I wish I could say I had some smooth and confident remark but I was honestly stunned. It came flooding back. It was a Saturday morning around 11:00 AM and he told me I had his vote and he was actually working on Dan Forest's campaign for governor. Light bulb. THIS man in front of me was a constituent I met on the campaign trial!
To fully understand why this is such a HUGE deal, you need to know a few things.
I was told by "those who know" that knocking on doors as an at-large candidate was a "waste of time." I was told it would not really produce any REAL results.
If you know me, you know that if I believe in something I will try it against all odds. I prefer to find out for myself what will and will not work. Just because something has not worked for someone else doesn't mean it won't work for me. So I took this advice with a grain of salt and decided, though it may have some truth to it, that even if I knocked on 1,000 doors and only ONE more vote resulted that it was still one more vote than I had before.
Well... On January 9, 2020 almost five months after I knocked on that man's door I was confronted by the reality that every single little monotonous, exhausting, and deliberate effort MAKES A DIFFERENCE in a campaign... and in life. We don't always get to see the difference it makes, but it's there. Always STRIVE to do the hard and uncommon work that YOU believe will pay off.
Sure, I was not victorious in becoming a member of Raleigh City Council, but I made connections, friends, and allies. I gained support, respect, and wisdom. I also learned you have to have REALLY REALLY THICK skin even on the local level because people are MEAN for no good reason. I learned you simply have to be better.
Regardless of what the numbers say, I was victorious in my own way.