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Elections, Politics, and Life Lessons from a Failed Campaign

Talk Bravely

Release Date: 09/07/2020

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On this episode, I chat with movement building expert, and single mom by choice -- Amber England. Amber has nearly two decades of experience navigating politics as a progressive in deep red Oklahoma.

Amber is a proud fifth generation Oklahoman and she says her career is driven by the simple idea that the power to change the world for good rests in the hands of ordinary people. Most recently she led the team that passed a ballot initiative that updated Oklahoma’s constitution and delivered healthcare to more than 200,000 Oklahomans!

Today we’ll talk with Amber about why working in politics is both a blessing and a curse, how a failed campaign in 2016 brought transformative change into her own life, what a campaign manager actually DOES, how listeners like you can participate in building our democracy every day, and why she says her 23-month old spit fire daughter Josie Pearl is her biggest challenge - even bigger than passing progressive ideas in to law in Oklahoma! 

What we’re talking about:

  1. Amber spent her early career working at a state capitol, and has done pretty much every behind the scenes job in politics in Oklahoma there is.

  2. In politics, everyone is an organizer. Organizing is simply asking, “How can you ignite a fire in someone else so that they get to the place where they say I want to vote for that person or I care enough about that issue to support it.”

  3. Advice she gives to candidates - You have to get elected first. Often, that’s about whether or not a voter connects with you. Can you be trusted. Candidates want to talk about policy, but they need the vote first.

  4. For those considering politics as a career field, it’s important to note that elections are very demanding of your time. It’s similar to starting up, running, and closing a business all within about 3 months time. And your performance review is a one day election. A special person is drawn to that type of work.

  5. In 2016, Amber poured her heart and soul into a campaign to get teachers across the state a pay raise. She lost. And lost her way.

  6. Asked myself, What do I want to see in my career, and what is missing in my own life? Having kids was something I put off, and Amber decided that she wanted to put her effort and energy into something beyond just an election night. She started a fertility journey and her daughter was born in September of 2018.

  7. Politics and policy work and campaigns are incredibly hard work. Amber shifted her career from working for nonprofits on issues (like education) and launched her own campaign strategy company called Strategies 77.

  8. As a consultant, Amber is able to work on campaigns, make a living, while also striving for a bit more balance at home with her daughter. She’s also learned a lot about compensation and tells her story about negotiating salaries and compensation for her work has helped her identify her market value.

  9. Amber’s call to action for encouraging listeners to get involved in politics

    1. Figure out a topic. Education, roads, health, a candidate. 

    2. Reach out to that campaign - facebook, twitter, their website. Email them more than once - it may take a while for them to get back to you.

    3. A good campaign manager will show you the next steps. They’ll educate you and get you to a place where you can contribute within the time you want to spend volunteering.

Contact Amber:

Strategy 77 website:  https://www.strategy77.com

Twitter: @arengland

Blog: www.josiepearlengland.com

 

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