Running for Office by Nick Ragone
The ultimate act of getting involved in the political process is running for office. Many a political career began as the simple exercise of responding to a local issue and trying to make a difference. The vast majority of elected positions are at the local and county level.
Deciding to Run
Running for elected office is a big step, and there are numerous factors to consider when contemplating such an undertaking. Would-be candidates typically address five questions before making a decision:
· What do I hope to accomplish by running for office?
· Can I make the time commitment necessary to be an effective candidate and official?
· Which office should I seek — which would help me achieve my goals?
· Can I articulate my point of view on the issues?
· Does my family support this decision?
Because most elected offices are part-time positions, time commitment is usually the biggest consideration. Candidates need to juggle career, family, and political ambitions in such a way that none are neglected. Most citizens cite lack of time as the primary reason they don't seek local office. Establishing a point of view on all the relevant issues is another important factor that weighs on a decision to run for office. Candidates must have the temperament, inclination, and ability to understand the issues and offer thoughts and solutions in order to mount an effective candidacy. Unfortunately, this consideration may be overlooked or ignored.
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THE OATH OF OFFICE:
Montana law states that: Members of the legislature and all executive, ministerial and judicial officers, shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, before they enter upon the duties of their offices:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Montana, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity (so help me God)."
No other oath, declaration, or test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.
Candidates and office holders:
Know the Constitution so you can uphold your oath to uphold and defend it:
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