At the start of an election campaign, political candidates make public statements that outline their position on various issues. These statements provide information to voters. In this article, we will explore what a candidate statement is and the key elements that make up an effective statement.
We will also talk about how to prepare a memorable statement and how you can use it for maximum benefit.
Let’s start with the most obvious question:
What is a candidate statement?
A candidate statement is a public outline of a political candidate’s qualifications, their position on key issues, and their plans for the future. This differs from a traditional campaign speech in that it is generally shorter and more focused. It’s more like a stump speech, as a statement is designed to be straight to the point, and connect with voters on a personal level.
Think of it as a voter introduction.
Versions of this information may be eventually reworked and included in voter information guides, campaign websites, and brochure material.
Elements of a Candidate Statement
The elements of a candidate statement should easily provide voters with an understanding of the candidate’s background, platform, and vision. Just like a candidate’s personal bio, your statement should be concise and highlight your unique skills and values.Your candidate statement should be short and to the point. It should highlight your unique skills and values to voters. via @onlinecandidate Click To Tweet
An effective candidate statement should include the following elements:
Introduce yourself and provide your background
Your introduction should be concise and clear. It should outline who you are and what office you are running for. Then provide a brief description of your background. Highlight your unique qualifications for the elected position.
For example, you can mention how growing up in the local area has given you a unique perspective on how you can improve the lives of residents today.
Expand on your experience and skills
The background section should provide information about your education, work experience, and any relevant accomplishments. Provide context so voters can better understand how your experience and skills directly relate to the position you seek.
For example, suppose a candidate is running for sheriff of a county, and an important election issue is that of community policing. The candidate has law enforcement background and has worked as a community outreach officer, so the person is well-qualified to address the issue. In their statement, they might highlight their specific qualifications, such as:
- Graduated with honors from a police academy.
- Served as a community outreach officer and earned a trusted reputation acting as a liaison between the community and law enforcement.
- Led successful initiatives that focused on training for officers and building relationships with community leaders.
By focusing on these qualifications, the candidate can show voters that they have the knowledge, experience, and skills to deal with the issue of community policing.
Describe the issues and your platform
This section of your candidate statement is perhaps the most important, as it is where you outline your positions on the issues. Highlight the most pressing issues that your voters are facing. Break down your platform into a concise, informed, and well-organized summary. For each issue, provide details on policy solutions or initiatives that you plan to implement if elected.
Wrap it up with a call to action
Finally, finish up with a summary of your main points, along with a clear call to action. Typically, this will be a request for your audience to support the campaign, to donate, volunteer, or get involved in some other way. Deliver your conclusion with confidence and conviction, so you leave a strong impression on the audience.
Preparing for your audience
Before a candidate statement is created, it requires careful preparation. As your statement is one of the primary ways to initially communicate to specific voters or groups, it needs to provide a specific outline of who you are and what you stand for.
Here are key elements of the preparation process:
- Research: Before writing a candidate statement, it’s important to research the issues and concerns that are most important to the electorate or audience. This can involve focus groups, researching polling data, and finding out more about your opponent’s stances.
- Writing: Once the research is complete, you or your team will begin the writing process. Again, what you say should be concise and easy to understand. It should include a clear message that reflects your vision for the future. You will end up creating several versions, as your material should be tailored to each specific audience you present to. This may determine whether you mention specific endorsements or organizations that you belong to.
- Editing: Once the writing is done, it’s time to edit and refine the material. This may involve cutting out unnecessary information, adding additional detail, or rephrasing certain sections for clarity or impact. Carefully review your text to ensure that it is free of errors. Make sure that it effectively communicates your message.
- Rehearsal: After your statement is written, it’s time to rehearse the speech enough so you are comfortable delivering it in a public forum. You may want to practice in front of a mirror, record yourself on video, or deliver your speech to some trusted supporters or advisors for feedback. The more time you take to practice, the more comfortable you will be speaking before an audience.
Overall, a well-crafted candidate statement can make a big difference in your political campaign. With careful preparation, you can use your statement to establish credibility and build support for your election.
Recommended Reading: Political Candidate Profile and Biography Worksheet [PDF]Putting Together a Great Political Campaign Team
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