First and foremost, I would like to THANK all of you for your love/support during my run for political office here in the City of Niagara Falls, NY. Now that a couple weeks have gone by since our General Election, and I’ve had alittle time to process some of my thoughts about my experiences, I wanted to share with you my Top 9 Political Lessons I've learned. Before I do this, I want to give you a summarized idea of what I was able to successfully accomplish as a political candidate, and what this means on our local geopolitical landscape. Willfully this encourages some of you to also take this step to serve your City in this capacity.
- Politics are a Team Game. Even though I had such a phenomenal turn-out, and received a lot of public/private support from people affiliated with the Republican and Democratic party, I was still looked at as an uncommitted, unsigned, free agent because I wasn't signed with the Democrats or Republicans on paper. I've had people literally tell me, "I wish you were a Democrat!" and others say they voted for me because I'm really a Republican. Now the most frequent questions people ask me are; "Are you going to run again?", and "Are you going to affiliate yourself with, and help build, one of our major parties?"
- Certain things don't change, and won't change, because some people are in paid positions to uphold a status quo, and keep things the same. These gate keepers are people, black and white, who have rationalized that the scraps they're personally given, are alot better than the crumbs everybody else is getting -and the people giving them these scraps are eating a five course meal.
- Fundraising. Although I did alot with the little money I raised, I know the importance of a real budget now. Something as simple as a political mailer with my unique Dos Equis lawn sign on it, would have definately gotten more votes.
- When you run for political office, whether you're elected or not, you've still brought issues to the table that people will continue to consider, after that election year. In other words, whether you're elected or not, you're still front stage and center. If one of your main platform points was 'Health and Wellness', you better believe people are going to watch what you eat, the health initiatives you're now supporting, and if you're packing on pounds. In my case, the message I consistently shared with our voters is my Bio; I'm a successful youth mentor, published author, community activist, and public speaker. This is what I actually do for a living, not something I wished, hoped, and would try to do once I got elected to a local political office. Because people are starting to become more aware of this, various opportunities have opened up to me to continue doing just that. This only becomes more of an asset, if I'm considering running for a political office in the future.
- Things people say about you become old news quick when you ignore it. Feeding into "some" things only allows it to live, and sting somebody else. Sometimes, the only statement you need to make is how inappropriate, inconsiderate, or even racist something is, and how you refuse to even dignify that question/accusation with a response.
- Politicians buy votes, and people bet on political elections like the OTB.
- Your enemy's enemy is your friend.
- When people say, "I support you", it doesn't mean, "I'll vote for you." When people say "I'll vote for you", that doesn't mean, "I voted for you", or "I vote" at all. As a political candidate, aside from all the doors you knock on, hands you shake, donations you get, and etc., it all comes down to basic political science; how many votes were cast for you within a 15 hour period in one day. This is what thousands of hours of campaigning, and money, ultimately comes down to.
- As I've stated, the consistent message throughout my campaign was, "This is what I've done, this is what I do, here is where you can verify it, and then you decide for yourself what my qualifications/potential is to represent our legislative district." In otherwords, I came to the local political table like a rapper meeting with a record label, who was already selling half a million albums out of the trunk of my car; a business acumen Rapper E-40 coined 'independent hustle'). Therefore, I was looking for a distribution deal to help expand what the label (legislative district) was currently offering. I wasn't a starving artist begging for record deal. So instead of agreeing to these mutually beneficial terms, the artist that's currently on the label got their 360 Deal renewed for another two years.