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  CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: Feb. 25, 2005

New UM-Dearborn program will help citizens learn how to run for office, manage campaigns, or serve in local government

DEARBORN---"We're looking for people who are willing to take on the responsibility of serving in local elected offices, and helping them think through the process of organizing a campaign and getting elected," is how Edward Bagale, vice chancellor for government relations at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, describes a new program being launched at the campus this spring.

The program has been in the planning stages for the last year under the leadership of Pan Godchaux, a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives.

The new program, sponsored by the campus's Institute for Local Government, will offer a three-part series of seminars in April and May. Each part of the series will be offered twice, including weekday evening and Saturday sessions. "Participants will learn what it means to serve in a local elected office, how to get ready to run for local office and how to lead a campaign," Godchaux said.

The first session of the series is called "Thinking of Serving?" and will look at local elected opportunities, the responsibilities of office, and the effect of public service on candidates and their families.

The second session, called "I am going to run: What now?" will cover how candidates develop positions and messages to reach out to voters, and provide an overview of a campaign.

The third session, "How do I run a campaign?" will take an in-depth look at organizing, recruiting volunteers, raising money, and legal matters around campaigns.

The seminars are offered separately or as a full series, at a charge ranging from $30 for the first session, to $125 for the daylong third session, which will include lunch. Classes will include panels, lectures and discussions with office holders and experts in campaign management. All sessions will be offered at UM-Dearborn's Fairlane Center building, on Hubbard Drive between Southfield and Evergreen.

The Institute for Local Government was founded at the UM-Dearborn School of Education in 2003 to offer a variety of programs to help develop stronger civic leadership in the region. Over the past year, the Institute has offered a series of classes and seminars designed to support new school board members as they make the transition from private citizen to public policy maker.

"The mission of the Institute for Local Government is to increase the participation and capacity of citizens participating in local government within the tri-county area of southeastern Michigan," according to Bagale. "As the problems local government is asked to solve become more complex and resources more scarce, those serving in local government often need more skills than they bring to office with them."

To register for the classes or for additional information about the series, call the Institute for Local Government at (313) 593-5140.

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