Photo courtesy of the League of Women Voters of Nebraska.

The League of Women Voters of Nebraska, a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, invites Nebraskans to attend two free campaign training sessions in February. 

According to Dianne Bystrom, LWVNE’s director of communications, the non-partisan program is geared toward women and people of color but is open to anyone interested. 

“Represent! Running for Political Office in Nebraska” educates Nebraskans interested in running for elected office or working for campaigns. 

The sessions will be presented via Zoom on Saturday Feb. 5 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. Those interested in attending the Feb. 5 session can register here.

The Feb. 5 session will cover the basics of filing and running for elected office in Nebraska, including a review of available resources. 

Attendees will hear from a panel of people of color who have run for or been elected to political office in Nebraska, including Karina Perez, executive director of Centro Hispano in Columbus; Edison Red Nest III, founder of Native Futures, Alliance; and Luis Sotelo, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at Doane University in Crete.

Following the panel, Christa Yoakum, District 2 Lancaster County commissioner, will speak on making the decision to run, how to choose an office to run for and aligning oneself with a political party.

The Feb. 5 session will end with a presentation by Kelly Winfrey, assistant professor of journalism at Iowa State University and coordinator of its Ready to Run Iowa campaign training program, on the elements of campaign messaging. 

Winfrey will discuss creating a message, physical and digital campaigning, stump speeches and candidate forums, interviews and more.

With a platform emphasizing a commitment to advocacy, equity and community, Winfrey successfully ran for the Ames Community School Board in November 2021. 

The session on Feb. 12 will cover the financial aspects of campaigning. The registration link and other information will be announced soon.

The program was proposed by Rebecca Gonzales, coordinator of outreach and “Get out to Vote” for the LWVNE, and is funded through a grant from the LWVNE Education Fund. 

Gonzales discovered the need for this training program, “Represent! Running for Political Office in Nebraska,” through her discussions with members of communities of color across the state. 

For more information, visit the LWVNE’s website or reach out via phone at 402-475-1411.

Lauren Penington is a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in journalism and political science. In addition to writing at the Nebraska News Service, Lauren has worked as a Reporting Intern for Circuit Media in Denver covering courts and politics, a News Intern for the Lincoln Journal Star covering features and breaking news, a General News intern at channel 8 KLKN TV in Lincoln, and more. She has been published in a variety of Nebraska newspapers, including: The Lincoln Journal Star, The Summerland Advocate-Messenger, The Reader, The Sidney Sun-Telegraph, The North Platte Bulletin, and more. Lauren has experience working with the majority of Adobe Suit programs. Although she has more experience with print and web journalism, she has also worked with photo and video to tell stories in unique ways.