Posted by DemocracyKit on 03/10/2017

Ange Valentini, Campaign Manager | What I look for in a candidate

Video TypeInterview
Campaign AreaExplore-Candidate,

Ange Valentini, Campaign Manager, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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0:00 - Part 1 - What I look for in a candidate - Shared Values

So if you're thinking about running for office, umm I, there are a couple of things that are important to me about the kind of leaders I want to see elected. So if I were sitting down having a conversation with a candidate or somebody who's thinking about putting together a campaign or making a run for it, I want to know what's driving their interest in in politics and I actually want... I'm looking for a commitment to public service, I'm looking for a commitment to social change and I'm looking for umm, a first and foremost interest in the public good. And if we're talking like cross-partisan or non-partisan, there are a lot of different definitions of how people perceive the public good and I think there are a lot of people whose political leanings or ideology or viewpoint are very different than mine and they have served in the Senate or in Parliament or on City Councils for a really long time, and even though they may have a different approach to what's best in their neighbourhood I think that they're motivated by a belief that they're doing good in the world and, and that is something that's critically important to me. In my life, I have probably had thousands of conversations with people who are interested in politics or who aspire to political office or have a lot of opinions about politics, and it is absolutely amazing to me how many times people will say "oh yeah I want to run for office one day. I'm going to law school because I want to run for office," and then if you dig into that conversation with like "what is it that you really care about in the world?", "What do you what do you see around you that's not working for you now?" and "how do you think you could be part of changing that?" the number of people who like shrug their shoulders and they're like "well, I don't know, I just, I just always thought that I'd like be a natural leader and I'd be good at that."  I'm not interested in working with candidates who want, want the position because it's a job or because it's cool or because they're- they just want power for power's sake. I'm really interested in candidates who have identified an opportunity for us to make our community better and have some sort of plan or idea about how their role in that is critical.

2:45 - Part 2 - What I look for in a candidate - Understanding the Role & Common Pitfalls

There's a couple of pitfalls and there are, and I see them, really only two sides of the spectrum here. One is pitfalls that get in the way and stop really amazing leaders from actually making the jump and taking the risk and running.  And then, and then on the other side, are people who care about the right issue who take the wrong approach to how they're going to run. So there's a common ground between the values- my values and the values of the candidate and what they're hoping to achieve. I look for them to know what they're getting into and like it's important to me that they know what they're getting into in a very realistic way, because in a lot of ways public service is a thankless job. No good deed goes unpunished and it will, the going will always get tough. So if you're asking me or you're asking a group of volunteers to put their sweat equity into backing you and helping you achieve something, I want to know that that person's all in and I'm going to stick with it, so that's one of my tests. And so I guess a pitfall is some people make the jump without really contemplating what, what this mission is that they're embarking on and what kind of sacrifice is going to be in there and how it's going to impact their family like whatever their, their group of close people, whatever that looks like whether, yeah.  So that's that's an important piece: understanding that the role you're getting into, shared values...

4:25 - Part 3 - What I look for in a candidate - Ability to Listen

The other piece of it is the ability to listen. I have in my life - whether it's a issues based activists campaign or an electoral campaign - the number of times you meet someone who is deeply passionate and thinks they know the answer and that, you know they're probably charismatic and pull together a little bit of a cult of personality. But actually, community building and social change and, and good governance doesn't come from somebody who's essentially fascist in their approach. Like I want to work with people who understand that their primary role is to listen to the needs of their communities or their electors or the people they're seeking to be advocates or represent, and I want to know that that's a core value for them about how they're going to approach things. And I want to work with people who understand that if you're ever the smartest person in the room that's probably a problem and you need to widen your circle and bring some more people in, because holding public office - whether whether it's school board whether you're a mayor or a reeve or an alderman, whether you're a city councillor, whether you're in the Prime Minister's office, you are faced every day with incredible complexity and myriad of issues and competing interests and things that need to be balanced and taken into consideration and that actually you need a board or a circle of advisers and I feel strongly that you need to be representing the people who have empowered you. So I, I think a pitfall is people who have decided this is the right answer, this is the way forward and I'm just gonna steam ahead and bulldoze. And it's- I don't think that leads to good governance. It's not just say you're not electable... I'm not interested in working with people who have that approach to governance.

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