Training offered for candidates

Training offered for candidates South Dakota's electric cooperatives, along with the state retailer's organization, will be co-hosting three Campaign Academies this April.

The Campaign Academy, designed by the Arlington, VA-based National Rural Electric Cooperative association's Grassroots Unit, is designed to help individuals seeking public office this fall, along with anyone else involved in their campaigns. The course helps individuals sharpen their political skills and prepare them for the rigors of the campaign trail, whether it be school board, town council, county commission or state office.

"The course has been very successful at locations across the United States. We're excited about offering the course to South Dakotans who are considering a run at public office," said Ed Anderson, director of government relations for the South Dakota Rural Electric Association in Pierre.

SDREA, along with the South Dakota Retailers Association, will be coordinating the South Dakota workshops, which are scheduled for April 19 in Sioux Falls, April 21 in Aberdeen and April 23 in Rapid City.

"While these sessions are open to anyone, we are particularly hopeful that members of the business community will participate. We have always encouraged business people to get more involved in the political process, whether it's at the local level or state level. These programs provide a good opportunity to see what's involved in running for elective office," said Jerry Wheeler, executive director of the South Dakota Retailers Association in Pierre.

The school is open to candidates of any political party and will feature seasoned campaign veterans and professionals focusing on the following core areas: fund raising, campaign strategy, message development and communication skills.

Participants will receive a binder of the various presentations and additional training supplements on the topics covered during the course.

"When I attended one of the schools in 2002, I enjoyed it and found it very useful," said Montana state senator Ken Hanson of Harlem, MT. "I was a first-timer. It was a whole new ball game for me and I found the information on everything from election laws to how to deal with the news media invaluable."

Attendees will also learn about campaign rules and regulations from the South Dakota Secretary of State's office.

The registration deadline is April 15. Those interested in the Campaign Academy are asked to contact their local electric cooperative, Ed Anderson at 1-800-201-8823 or or the South Dakota Retailers Association at 1-800-658-5545.

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