Do It.

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“Do it.”

This was the message that 10 year veteran of the Indiana General Assembly, Randy Borror, gave to a room full of young professionals curious about running for office. Over the last several weeks I was fortunate to participate in the Candidate Boot Camp sponsored by the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, UPSTAR and the Downs Center for Indiana Politics. Along the way we were treated with a slate of wonderful speakers that included the likes of Senator Jim Banks, Mayor Suzanne Handshoe, Rep. Kathy Heuer, John McGauley and many more. During the program we learned about important topics such as campaign finance laws, fundraising, platform development, media relations.

Tonight Randy Borror and Andy Miller spoke to the group about lobbying and ethics. It was an interesting session to be sure. However, Mr. Borror concluded his session with certain comments that were sure to inspire the group. You see, he didn’t sugar coat a thing. He told us that if you run for office you can expect to expose yourself, your friends and your family to the type of public scrutiny that happens to those that have the courage to step out on that plank. And it is hard. But here’s the thing, he told us: “It can be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do.”

I don’t know if the former state representative thought that he’d see his comments posted on the internet. I’m guessing he didn’t. However, I’m guessing that he probably didn’t care. Because here’s the thing – he meant it. You couldn’t help but understand that this was a man who understood the honor it was to hold public office, and couldn’t help but hope to inspire others to realize that as well.  I don’t know if the leaders of my generation are prepared to step out on that plank just yet. There are so many other opportunities to give back to the community that don’t come with the consternation of public office. Quite frankly, in a world of 30 second sound bites and social media, it’s a lot easier to maneuver behind the scenes or simply judge from the sidelines.

Without question, running for office includes sacrifice. Anything worth achieving generally does. One thing is for sure. If and when I “do it”, it will be with the understanding and appreciation that being a public servant is a privilege…and the reward comes only with an understanding of what it means to be a public servant and the sacrifice that it takes to do it.

My thanks to those that helped teach and inspire at the boot camp, as well as the countless other servant leaders that chose to “do it.”