Kristin Campanelli is an attorney at the Connecticut Insurance Department, and is currently serving as a town council member in Berlin. Prior to serving on town council, she also served on the Berlin Board of Education. Kristin is a Berlin native attending Berlin High School, before studying Political Science and English at Syracuse University where she later went for her law degree. HYPE member Kelsey Barringham, interviewed Kristin for HYPE's public office blog series. The series focuses on interviewing public officials from different towns in which HYPE members may be interested in running for public office. One of our goals is to provide assistance by offering someone for members to reach out to.
What are three tips you have for getting elected?
Kristin’s tips for getting elected are the same tips she would give anyone who needed any advice. Running for office is really just sharing who you are with a large number of people all at the same time. She would advise anyone to do the following:
1.) Work hard - Knock on as many doors as you can, talk to as many people as you can, and never give up. Kristin always liked to end her nights on a "positive door", so she would keep going until she found one.
2.) Be kind, and be yourself – Unless you aren't kind, then, perhaps be someone else.
3.) Listen twice as much as you talk - In her travels Kristin has found that people really want their elected officials to know them and hear their concerns. It's not so much about your message as it is about how you plan to help people. The first step to helping is to understand the problem, so listening is key.
What made you want to run for office?
Kristin chose to run for office because she found that young people were not a constituency that were represented at the decision making tables in her town. Many of our local politicians make decision that affect young people without ever asking them their opinions or hearing their thoughts. She ran so that she could bring a voice to people her age and to the issues that they think are important.
How far in advance did you choose to run?
Running for council was a choice that she made in mid-July for the November election. She had been thinking about it for a while, but wasn't really ready to do it until this past July.
What do you think potential candidates should know before deciding to run for office?
It will be hard work. Really hard work. Kristin stated that there will be a lot of set backs, and some days you will feel like quitting. However if you get knocked down 9 times, get up 10. She believes that when there are people who depend on you, there is nothing in the world better than knowing that you made a difference in someone's life. If you carry that with you, then you will be great.