For the first two months of 2018, NDTC ran a pilot program where we brought together two groups (or cohorts, as we called them) of about 20 local and state legislative candidates.
Each group worked through NDTC’s online, on-demand courses on a specified schedule. Then they met for weekly webinars to delve deeper into certain topics, practice skills with one another, and ask questions of campaign experts.
Through this program, our team got to know some exceptional candidates, including Robert Van Kirk, who we featured in last month’s “Trainee Spotlight” and Erica Green, who we’re excited to highlight this month.
March was an exciting month for Erica’s campaign: In Illinois’ primary election, Erica won a contested election to serve as DuPage Wayne Township Democratic Committeewoman for the 19th Precinct and was one of two Democrats who can move on to the general election to represent the 6th District on the DuPage County Board.
Congrats Erica! We are excited to share more about Erica and the many ways she is actively working to make her community a better place for all citizens.
What Inspired You to Run for Office?
In brief, the 2016 election.
After serving as a debate fact-checker, I felt a sense of urgency to do something.
What Change Do You Hope to Make in Your Community?
I am a licensed therapist and certified drug counselor.
My profession allows me to see and treat the ravages of the opioid epidemic first-hand.
As I followed the various campaigns in 2016, I was puzzled by the vast chasm between the encouraging campaign speeches given by candidates and the day-to-day reality of people struggling with addiction in my home state.
I thought there had to be a quicker, more efficient way to bridge the two.
Tell Us About Yourself?
I do psych assessments in a trauma-1-level emergency room. Also, when the situation should arise, I coordinate or participate in international disaster relief efforts.
On the job, I come across many things.
I meet with people contemplating suicide, and some after-suicide attempts. I see opioid overdoses, as well as the burden of being underemployed and uninsured.
As many know, there are many gaps in the health-care system. Working in the field, I’ve seen first-hand where the system is broken and believe changes in policy can make a difference in many of the crises we are seeing today.
How Have the NDTC Trainings Helped You Prepare for Your Election?
It was about 60 days before my primary when I applied to the cohort program.
I didn’t have a campaign manager, so I was looking for additional guidance on how to schedule my days effectively.
I’m truly grateful to have been accepted into the first cohort. The patient NDTC experts, the curriculum, and their other resources helped me refine my movement. I recommend it!
If You Could Recommend Only One NDTC Course to Fellow Candidates, Which Would it Be?
I would say “Calculating Your Vote Goal.” From this, you can craft your campaign strategy.
What is a Highlight of Your Campaign?
I was victorious in both of my primary races!
What Advice Do You Have for Others Thinking About Running for Office?
There is wisdom to be gained in the rollercoaster ride.
Sure, running for office is daunting at times, especially if it’s your first time. However, I found if I approach each challenge and risk as a teachable experience, I gain incredible insight which helps me move forward more successfully.
Win or lose, the journey getting there is well worth it.