Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
The Political Social Worker
A few months ago I wrote a post for socialworkhelper.com about modern day social work distancing itself from politics. The post touched on many issues including lack of community practice courses and internships. Looking back on the article I noticed I left out a huge factor that maybe deterring more social workers from going into politics. Money.
It takes a large war-chest to run for state and national office. So it certainly helps if the candidate is well-off with a lot of wealthy acquaintances willing to donate to the candidate or their affiliated PAC. According to a 2011 ABC news report 47% of members of Congress were millionaires. However we shouldn’t let that stop us from seeking public office.
It is the state and local campaigns that are the most costly so consider starting off locally: school board, town or city council, or county legislature. You can also seek the support of PACs or other organizations that are inline with your political ideologies. EMILY’s List supports progressive pro-choice women by raising money for them and providing campaign training to the candidates and their staff. A good number of EMILY’s List candidates won this year, including Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth. There is also a new PAC, C-Forward, which endorses local candidates that support the non-profit sector. Many professional associations or unions also have PACs and endorse candidates.
If your interested in politics start getting your name out there. I suggest getting involved with your affiliated political party and volunteering on campaigns. You may also be able to volunteer for your representative at their in-district office.