What I wish I knew before

So, you say, your partner (loved one, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend) has decided to run for a political office? I decided, perhaps it would be helpful for me to come up with some tips I’ve learned over the past almost 8 years, about what to expect. Take them as you like, in jest or full seriousness. Before I get to that, though, a bit ironically, it was October of 2016, following my partner’s second successful mayoral election, when I first blogged on this topic. As I reread it now, I find these few lines telling:

As most any politician will likely profess, it’s hard to imagine how your life may change when you enter the political arena – even in small towns in Oregon. And as a First Lady, I am now convinced that those of us who are married to someone in public office should be warned ahead of time to join a “spousal support group” if we hope to keep our sanity.

Politics and elections: then and now (October 24, 2016)

Oh my – and I thought I knew so much then. Ha! In that blog I take us back to the Oregon town of Yoncalla in 1920 when the town’s residents voted out the entire male city council, replacing them with a female council. Now, I don’t think that an initiative like that is very far from today’s political sentiment. What’s different, certainly for me, is that some of the newly elected council members back then in 1920 included the wife of an outgoing councilman and the wife of the outgoing mayor. Okay. Nope. Let’s just say no. Not me. Not now. Probably never, but the wise ones do remind us to never say never.

So with a dash of humor, here are Dede’s tips for what to expect if your significant other plans a run for a political office, particularly one that pays peanuts.

  1. People will call you on your home phone and sometimes leave long messages that are nonsensical, if you’re lucky, and nasty if you’re not. If you wisely get rid of your landline, they’ll still call you partner’s private cell. Even if they are asked not to.
  2. If your kids are living at home, reporters might show up at your doorstep and scare the bejesus out of them when they are home alone.
  3. You will meet amazing people and thank them for being there during tough times.
  4. You will meet people that you never would have met before – some that are amazing (see number 3) and some that shock your socks off, leaving you wondering how they ever made it into adulthood. 
  5. You will be equally shocked at the number of people who really don’t care about things that are happening in their community until the thing approaches their back yard or into their pet interest area. 
  6. You will also find such admiration for the real shakers and doers of communities, many who are never thanked or recognized, but care a lot.
  7. Be prepared to be amazed at how so many people could do it so much better than this elected official who you love, except these people are much too busy with other very important things. 
  8. Small towns can breed the biggest advocates for both public and private interests. 
  9. Small towns can breed the loudest and most demanding advocates for both public and private interests.
  10. Finally, make sure you have some good ideas for how you will spend a lot of alone time. Like, write a book, or two!

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