Skip to content

Mason County Academy of Political Leadership

Macon County Academy of Political Leadership (Candidate Academy) is a Macon County focused, non-partisan program to improve the practice of democracy and prepare citizens to be effective leaders exchanging ideas in a politically, culturally, and philosophically diverse environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the candidate academy? The non-partisan Candidate Academy identifies, encourages, and prepares citizens who are interested in public service or thinking about running for elected office, as well as political volunteers and those who simply want to understand the election process.  This is a unique non-partisan initiative designed to equip and strengthen the next generation of elected leaders. It is not a forum for the debate of political issues. The Academy is a more specific compliment to the Decatur Leadership Institute, which has been developing local leaders for more than 30 years.

How is this different from a campaign school? A campaign school typically accepts declared candidates from a particular political party. The Candidate Academy is distinctly different: it informs emerging leaders regardless of political party affiliation of the political and election process, even before any specific campaign is considered. Participants range from promising young professionals to outstanding organizational, civic and community leaders who are considering elected public office.

Who should attend? Any individual interested in learning more about what the responsibilities are for running for elected office and serving in public office, whether you decide to actually campaign for an elected office or not.

•    Current public officials and candidates for public office
•    Private citizens considering running for public office and their teams
•    Individuals appointed to various boards, committees and commissions
•    Anyone employed in a position that requires interaction with elected officials

What elected offices are covered? Emphasis is on local and state offices directly effecting Decatur and Macon County. Specific offices addressed include Mayor, City Council, Public School Board, Park District, State Representative, State Senator, County officers, and County Board.

How is it organized? The Academy is organized into topical sections that address much of what it takes to run and win an effective political campaign. Anyone can register. Persons completing the Academy are awarded a certificate of completion and receive a “Graduate Fellows” certificate.

Additional Information

What Can You Learn?

1. What does it take and what will it cost to run for (and win) elected office?
2. Essential procedural understanding of campaign and election rules, deadlines, and potential pitfalls.
3. How to anticipate and overcome objections to filing procedures that could keep you off the ballot.
4. The importance of a basic campaign plan and sticking to your plan, including financing your campaign, developing your team, message and strategy, developing grassroots support, scheduling, finance and fundraising, and the challenges and opportunities of running for office.

Participants will also:

1. Learn about prioritizing personal commitments with the responsibilities of campaigning and holding public office.
2. Learn the difference between elected positions and become better equipped to serve as an elected official if you decide to take the next steps.
3. Interact with local thought leaders, public officials, office holders and others experienced in political campaigning.
4. Break down the barriers that might otherwise keep you from running for office.

Scheduled periodically, most often near the beginning of new election cycles.