RS Interview: Elizabeth Schultz (Fairfax Cty, VA School Board)

My general rule of thumb is that any position in a democratic system that is filled via election is pretty much by definition important: if there wasn’t some benefit to holding it then it would just be filled via appointment by an elected official.  In this particular case: the Fairfax County school district is one of the largest in the country, has quite a lot of money associated with it – and has been embroiled in a year over transparency, school closing, and a variety of other disputes.

Which is one reason why I was happy to talk to Springfield District candidate Elizabeth Schultz about it:

The school board race is officially non-partisan, but that just means that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are going to be identified as such on the ballots.  As the above Washington Post article makes clear, this is as contested a race as any other out there, and it promises to be an interesting one.  Elizabeth’s main site is here; she’s also using Facebook and Twitter to drive her campaign.  Check them all out.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: I’d like to just really quickly talk about phone interviews for a moment.  Do you have access to a local race’s candidate?  If you do, then with a few simple items you can do phone interviews.  First, you need a computer with an Internet connection – which most of you have, because you’re reading this, right?  Next, you need something like Skype, which allows you to do phone calls over the computer.  To record those calls over Skype get yourself Powergramo or an equivalent; to edit the audio download Audacity, which is both free and easy to use; and to get a good sound I use the Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 Headset.  Putting it all together… well, on my desktop I use Adobe Premiere Elements 8 (old version: cheap), but when I’m putting something together using the netbook I just use Windows Movie Maker (NOT the newer Windows Live Movie Maker, which is… bad).  After that, it’s just a matter of saving it in a way that YouTube likes, and keeping it below ten minutes or so.

Now, all of this requires some practice.  And this covers the tech involved, not how to do a candidate interview (which is a whole other post, or possibly a seminar class).  But the primary obstacle to overcome is psychological: you have to decide that you want to do interviews, and that you’re not going to worry about how bad you sound doing them.  Once you get past that – and there’s no shame in not getting past that – then the rest is pretty much just getting on with things.