Dan Santorso currently serves as Secretary of the Plymouth Democratic Town Committee
and serves as Constable for the Town of Plymouth, CT. Dan has run six political races and has been a Candidate for State Representative of CT 78th House District in both the 2012 and 2014 elections. In addition, Dan was elected as a member of the Plymouth Board of Education
from 2009 - 2013. Dan studied Political Science and Psychology at Central Connecticut State University
. HYPE member Dan Castle interviewed Dan Santorso for HYPEs Public Office Blog series. This series focuses on interviewing public officials from different towns that HYPE members may have an interest in running for public office. Our goal is to provide assistance by offering someone for members to reach out to.
What are the three tips you have for getting elected?
1. If you're interested in holding office on a board or committee, contact the chairperson of the group you want to get involved with, and then attend a monthly meeting. For example, becoming a member of the Young Civic State group is as easy as simply showing up to a meeting. Get involved in the organization, then you can work on your election strategies.
2. Campaigning advice is a bit different. In my experience, going door to do is better than a phone call or a letter in the mail. This in person experience gives the voters an idea of who you are, and you might even encourage someone to vote who might otherwise have not.
3. For both committee roles and campaigning in general, know who you are and what you stand for. You must find your voice and use it. Once you have your voice, gain as much experience as you can, and do as many things as you can to expose yourself to new things, and to expose others to you. And don't forget to try and enjoy the experience!
What made you want to run for office?
Despite having a love of civics from college, I didn't plan to run for office, but had worked on campaigns before. However I began to realize that if I want to improve my community, my town, and my world, I would have to become more involved overall. I had always respected my town, and it seemed like one of the most logical ways for me to affect change. I've held many elected roles in town, from member of the Plymouth Board of Education to trustee of Terryville Public Library. Currently, as a Constable for the town of Plymouth, I deliver important documents for whomever needs or wants a government official to deliver information. It's an elected position, and is just another avenue for my public service.
How far in advance did you choose to run?
This really varies depending on the situation. If you want to be endorsed by a party, late July is the cut off for a November election. However, you should really join an organization first to get to know people before this. Start networking now! There might be spots available, however, it can take time to get to where you want to be, so starting networking and involvement beforehand are important.
What do you think potential candidates should know before deciding to run for office?
Even if you run within a party, there is a lot of diversity within politics. There is no such thing as a "stand view", which is why it is so important to find your voice before running for office. As Secretary of the Plymouth Democratic Town Committee, I see conflicting views all of the time, but I find that listening to issues, and making sure the person feels that they have been heard is important. If possible, I try and do whatever I can to help, because I want interactions with my committee to be positive, and the same should apply to anyone running for office.
If any Plymouth residents have questions for Dan Santorso, you can contact Dan at Dan.Santorso@gmail.com.