By Bev Jorgensen

The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce will host their inaugural “Candidate Academy” the first four Wednesdays in October 2019 for up to 25 regional participants considering running for elected office. Essentially, it’s a non-partisan bootcamp to develop a solid bench of people ready and able to lead South Orange County with wisdom and vision.

“Developing a Passion” is the first segment of this invaluable program, where local elected officials speak to participants about the realities of running for office such as water board, city council or school board. Erik Weigand, District Director at California State Senate, will weigh in on developing a platform and attributes of a great candidate. A confirmed guest speaker, Dana Point City Councilmember Jamey Federico said, “I’m very excited for this program. Even for those who pay close attention to local government, there are so many issues, agencies, and challenges to navigate. Thanks to the Chamber, this program will create better prepared candidates and civically engaged residents.”

Our second session, “Nuts and Bolts,” covers the crucial details of running a campaign, such as setting up a committee and campaign finance. We’ve confirmed both chairs of the major political parties, Ada Briceño of the Democratic Party of Orange County and the Honorable Fred Whittaker of the Republican Party of Orange County.  Marcia Nielsen of Candidate Voter Services and Julianna Mailhot of Candidate and Voter Services will be presenting on behalf of the Orange County Registrar of Voters Office.

Because we all know the saying “If you’re not online, you’re out of business,” we planned our third class around “Marketing and the Media.” Social media guru Michael Hadland of Cox shares a golden guide to social media in a campaign. We are fortunate to have confirmed public relations expert Paul Simonds, Vice President of Curt Pringle and Associates, to talk strategy in delivering your message.

For the fourth and final evening, “Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Opportunities,” we’ve invited local leaders as panelists who can speak to workforce development, education, water, housing, infrastructure, safety and budget. We currently have two fantastic panelists, Megan Yoo Schneider, representing District 7 of the Municipal Water District, and Dr. Elliot Stern, President of Saddleback College.

The cost of this informative program is only $149.00, which includes a resource manual for all graduates. Please note there is an application submission process for consideration. The Candidate Academy will take place in the Pilot Room at the OC Sailing Center, located at 34451 Ensenada Place in Dana Point. For more details, go to: bit.ly/2ZktvQv

Bev Jorgensen is the Executive Director of the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce, which is a business membership-based organization with 350 business members representing more than 20,000 employees. The DPCC mission is to champion business prosperity, economic vitality and community engagement, promoting a high quality of life in Dana Point.

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