KK at Yale's Women's Campaign School

Last week I had the opportunity to teach a course on communications planning to the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. It was an amazing room of women of all ages who are either running a campaign or running for office themselves. The school runs an intensive weeklong class bringing in top national campaign professionals on both sides of the aisle to help these women learn the art and sport of political campaigns. From vote goals to targeting, direct mail, paid and earned media, and legal compliance, the students learned every facet of a 2019 political campaign. There’s homework at night and they are graded at the end. 

They brought wonderful questions based on experience and just plain curiosity. It was great to see the energy of budding public servants. What a resource this campaign school is for these women! 

To many of us who have worked in national politics for years, some of what we teach seems obvious - the longer you talk to a reporter the more chance you will make a mistake, that reporters are people too and building relationships with them is appropriate and important, and like most other things in life, that every piece of a campaign should be planned from the endorsements you hope to receive to the coalition rollouts you will do, to the education TV ad that will air. Campaigns may be unpredictable but nothing on a campaign should be left to chance. 

But to most in this arena, some people just know they have a story and a desire to serve and I’m happy to have helped some of them get the knowledge they need to take the next step.

Politics gets a bad rap these days with people’s opinions getting the better of them. It’s tough to wear your beliefs on your sleeve every day while others insult from behind their social media apps. I applaud all of these women for putting themselves out there and stepping up to the plate. We need more highly competent, energetic people to run for office and we need more women to run for office. And all of us voters out there need to see them for what they are - people who want to make a difference while diving into the deep end of politics.

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