Part One: Standing for Election

Part Two: In the States

Part Three: Everything Else

How Should I Stay In Touch With Voters?

However works best for you. Be available by phone or email. Put information out on social media. Maintain a website or a blog. Engage with the traditional media – you don’t have to wait for them to come to you; you can write your own media releases and send them out, too. Whatever format you use to communicate, it is really helpful to make a point of regularly sharing your own stories, rather than waiting for people to come to you.

Consider what kind of face-to-face opportunities you want to take part in – now that we have island-wide voting, does it still make sense to have parish drop-ins? If so, will you “adopt” a parish, or make your way round them all? You could even go door-knocking again – Richard Graham did it (and, I think, Mike Hadley in the term before ours), and it’s a massive undertaking, but probably really appreciated by those voters you meet.

(By the way, an alternative, and potentially more productive, way of staying in touch with the public, and understanding people’s day-to-day concerns, is to use your more flexible working days to volunteer – especially with organisations for people who are disadvantaged, who are more likely to be disengaged with politics, and less likely to make their voices heard. Face-to-face engagement can mean all sorts of things – there are so many different ways to connect with a community, and you can be creative about how you do.)

Find ways of staying in touch with voters that work for you – that lead to constructive conversations, that enable you to help people out with their individual challenges, or provide you with opportunities to learn (and improve your policy-making). Also remember that you don’t need to continue engaging with people in a certain way just because that’s what you started out by doing, if you find that it just uses up time without achieving anything productive.

The important thing is that you do stay in touch. It is so easy to go into the States and be swallowed up by the pressures of States work that you fall off social media, or only do traditional media interviews when you’re in trouble and you’ve got no choice (because the consequences of not engaging would be more damning, and would let the story run away with you), or stop doing face-to-face work. So it’s really important to consciously make communication a priority, and to build in time and opportunities for it throughout your working week.