Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Biggest Farm Bureau Campaign Class Ever

Linda Johnson of the American Farm Bureau conducts Campaign U. Putnam photo
Campaign School Helps Political Hopefuls

Boise--Potential candidates for public office gathered at the annual Idaho Farm Bureau Campaign school on Tuesday afternoon at the Boise Riverside Downtowner. The 21candidates came from all walks of life and political persuasions with the hopes of one day making a difference through public service.

"We teach them what they need to know and what it takes to win election," said Idaho Farm Bureau organizer Dennis Tanikuni. To help prospective candidates prepare, Idaho Farm Bureau offers the unique Campaign school every off-election year in Boise.

The school is open to all potential candidates, with recommendations coming from County Farm Bureaus. The curriculum is targeted for local, state and national political races."We're appreciative of anyone that offers themselves for public office," said Tanikuni, of the Idaho Farm Bureau's Governmental Affairs Department. "But they need to know all the hurdles they must clear and all the difficult things they have to do in order to have a successful campaign, this school gives them that knowledge."

Over the past two decades 80 percent of those attending the school were elected to public office according to Tanikuni.Content for the Campaign School was developed by the American Farm Bureau with input from political consultants, staff of both national political parties and even a group of pesky former reporters.

Videotapes, DVD's, case studies and a computer game assist in the presentation of information. "This really gives the candidates a realistic, hands-on experience and to test techniques, tools and methods," Tanikuni said.

Content focuses on evaluating the viability of the candidacy; selecting themes and issues; budgeting and raising money; and campaign organization and strategy. Working with the news media also is emphasized and participants had to 'meet the press' in a mock interview with former reporters. "You can read about how to handle the media, but until you've been there it's useless," said Tanikuni.

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