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Program Schedule

Accepting applications NOW! for the 2019 class

All session held on Tuesdays from 6:00 - 8:00 pm (dinner available at 5:30 p.m.) starting on February 5, 2019.






Classes will be held at various locations throughout the greater Syracuse area.

Registration is $125 

(covers supplies and dinner for all 8 classes)

Class size is limited ‐ register soon! Registration is due Feb. 1, 2019 

Navigating the Political Process

PROGRAM OVERVIEW - February 5, 2019


Making the commitment to public service begins with an understanding of the process, the challenges, and the personal sacrifice required in becoming an effective leader. This session will lay the framework for the upcoming sessions and provide the opportunity to ask questions of successful public servants. We will present a list of upcoming races. The session will end with a panel discussion where local leaders will share their stories that started their political careers, their successes and failures while in office.

BUILDING A TEAM - February 12, 2019

Understanding the roles and responsibilities of both the candidate, and of the individual campaign team, is critical to a candidate’s success. This session will outline the roles and responsibilities of the key leaders within the campaign team, including an extensive overview of the Campaign Manager, Treasurer, Fundraising Chair, Volunteer Coordinator, Sign Coordinator, Media Coordinator, and the Candidate him/herself. We will discuss the highs and lows of the campaign process, roles of, and impact on, the candidate’s family members, and provide real-life examples and stories designed to help candidates and their volunteers be successful in their run. The session will include some key “do’s and don’ts” to consider when selecting volunteers for these critical roles, and provide valuable insight into the varying roles for volunteers interested in helping with a campaign.


Finance and Fundraising are critical components of every political campaign. In this session, you will learn tips on budgeting for a campaign, understanding who can donate and how to approach them, setting up your campaign committee and learning how candidates raise money. The session will cover fundraising tips and techniques refined through numerous campaigns. The session will also cover the details behind campaign finance rules including fundraising and expenditure limits, recording and filing transactions with the Board of Elections, and the duties of a Treasurer. 

GETTING ON THE BALLOT - February 26, 2019


The first campaign you need to win is the one that gets you on the ballot. Do you know what it takes to run in a primary? Did you know that some local races don’t require you to declare a party affiliation?  The good news is that there are people within each party and at the local Board of Elections to help.  This session will teach you what it takes to get on the ballot. It will introduce you to the leadership of the major and other parties, and the election commissioners.   You will learn about the additional political lines that are available.  And if you are campaign member -- not yet a candidate -- there’s lots for you to do during this part of the process.   Hear first-hand how to work with the committee people and the leadership opportunities within the parties, and how to actively support the candidate of your choice, especially if that person is you!​

MESSAGING - March 5, 2019

Once you publicly announce your intention to seek office, the public will be watching and listening to hear what you have to say. One of the most important things you’ll have to develop is a series of Key Messages that define why you are running and what you believe in. This session will focus on some practical ways to approach the preparation of your message, and the ways in which you will ultimately get that message out. In addition to learning a couple of exercises that you can do with your closest advisors to hone your message, we’ll consider who the audiences are (and there are more than you think!). In addition, we’ll talk about all the ways that your message can be disseminated – including speeches, advertising, palm cards, lawn signs, billboards, radio and TV.

SOCIAL MEDIA/MEDIA - March 12, 2019


The session will include an overview of how to attract news coverage and run damage control when things don't go according to plan. Speakers will offer tips on topics including being on camera, interviews, press conferences, successful advertising, and more. Area reporters will also be present to offer their perspectives on coverage of politics and campaigns. The session will include a discussion of media bias and the effects of media on campaigns. Participants will walk away with resources on writing successful press releases and developing successful Web sites and social media efforts.

GOTV (Get Out the Vote) - March 19, 2019


You spend months and months campaigning, trying to get your message out to the voters and then what happens? What happens if you do all of that work and the voters you’ve identified as supporters don’t bother to vote? As important as the campaign itself is, how effective you are at identifying your supporters and making sure they go to the polls on Election Day. This session will teach you the essentials of how to Get Out the Vote, or GOTV as it’s called. Learn about the importance of this critical element of the campaign and hear a discussion from an exciting panel of experts on different strategies to manage an effective GOTV campaign.

Wrap-up Celebration and Reunion - March 26, 2019