Making money in politics (without being corrupt)
January 4, 2008 4:30 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to make a decent, relatively steady living in (liberal to center left) politics in Raleigh NC? If so what job(s) should I start looking for?

I have been employed as a paid staffer on a Congressional Campaign and a volunteer, and I have also been a delegate to the DNC in Boston (so technically held an elected office :) ). I know what phone banking is like and door to door sales (political and commercial). But I know that all of these are low level and ephemeral jobs which is why I didn't pursue politics as a career after College.

Now I am re-thinking. I really enjoy politics but I don't know where, or if, I can get a "reliable" job that pays the rent even in non-election years. Ideally it would be a "normal" 9-5 office job, but realistically I'll take whatever I can get. It MUST NOT be primarily commission driven and it also must have some opportunity for advancement.

I currently live in Raleigh NC and while in the long term I have no problem moving to DC, right now I have to settle for my State's Capitol.

I am especially interested in the Environment and Anti-Cooperate/Pro-Consumer causes, but am interested in almost all left of center causes.

I imagine there must be something like lobbying or congressional aide that intersects more with the day to day running of government and not just elections.... But what are these jobs and How do I go about getting them?

Thanks Hive Mind!

(Note: my former political activity was all in Colorado, where I went to school, not here in NC. So any contacts in the NC Dem Party establishment are also appreciated)
posted by DetonatedManiac to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would approach this from a networking perspective. There are jobs in Raleigh that you can find if you talk to the right people. Here's how I would approach it:

1) Start off this campaign season working as close to full time as you can for several candidates in the area. During this time, I would network, network, network. Talk to their consultants, their campaign managers, to the state chair, etc. Try to get a paid job as a campaign staffer. Tell them what you want to be doing.

2) At the same time, during your free time, call consultants and lobbyists and introduce yourself. You can find a list of lobbyists here and see who they contribute to here to see if you can get a good idea of who is who.*

3) The whole time you're campaigning, you're working for the candidate. But you also have to make it about you. You are introducing yourself to the right people who will get you a job if you impress them. You want to line up your next job during the campaign season.

*If reading lobby lists and campaign contributions doesn't sound exciting, reconsider your choice of career...
posted by Pants! at 5:46 PM on January 4, 2008

My husband knows the state Democratic party chairman (Jerry Meeks.) He's a nice guy-perhaps he could steer you? (Full disclosure-we are Republicans. But we're nice to the other guys.)

Here's some info, to include contact info.

posted by konolia at 5:48 PM on January 4, 2008

What about working as a legislative assistant? I bet those positions are hard to come by, but MAN are they a good way to work in the legislature. Also, just FYI, the legislative cafeteria over there has kick-ass spanikopita--a huge serving for maybe 2-3 bucks. YUM.

Mefi mail me, I've got contacts that are lobbyists and such.
posted by Stewriffic at 6:40 PM on January 4, 2008

Second the legislative aide jobs. They are not impossible to get at the state level (I did it in Florida). In one legislative session, you'll know everyone you need to know. Feel free to email me if you have any more questions.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 12:40 PM on January 5, 2008

Yeah...I live in Durham and work in Raleigh. I have a job that occasionally has me dealing with state legislators, and I have relationships with people who do that way more often than I do. Tell me a little more about your experiences with politics so far...I'll see if I can come up with someone who you might be able to call.

One thing to think about is that politics is often about building relationships. I'd start by immediately going to your city council meetings, and other really local things. Also volunteer with organizations that have an advocacy/public affairs division. There are a lot of them in Raleigh because of the state gov't being there. Get on their listservs. Become a proactive citizen. My legislators know me.

Also, educate yourself about current issues. Read Laura Leslie's blog. Find out who represents you and see how they have voted on issues at the general assembly website. Then go meet with them and tell them how YOU feel about the issues.
posted by Stewriffic at 8:54 AM on January 6, 2008

« Older My phone keeps turning off!   |   How do I know which fats are which? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.