« Home

John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Thoughts About Fundraising

One of the most intimidating things I faced when working on a plan to run for Maplewood City Council was the idea of fundraising. Whether we like it or not, money is part of politics, and it's a major challenge for every candidate.

A candidate's fundraising may give us a hint about how they will manage the public purse once in office. For example, do they spend their money effectively? Do they follow the rules, by turning in the required reports, complete and on time? Only three candidates and one organization involved in this race turned in their pre-primary campaign finance reports on time. I think the last couple of years of Maplewood governance have shown us some unfortunate examples of what can happen when people ignore the rules or skip reading the fine print.

Some may say that it's suspicious for a candidate to raise money from out of town. It's really not, if you think about it.

When you need to raise money for a campaign, you first go to the people you know. I do not have family in Maplewood (besides my wife, Michelle, of course), so all my contributions from family come from out of town, often out of state. Many of my friends also are not local; our business associates and customers are located all over the country.

These people gave me money not because they care about Maplewood, but because they trust and believe in me -- they believe I have the passion, the integrity, the honesty, and the competence to accomplish something good. They have known me for years, know how I treat people, know the ethical standards by which I have conducted my business with them and their peers. (You can read an earlier entry I wrote about some of these supporters.) There is nothing I can do in Maplewood city council that will benefit a game publisher in Seattle or a New York Times bestselling science fiction novelist in Arizona. Is it better for a candidate to have all their money come from local people who may have a personal or financial stake in the city council's decisions?

My fundraising demonstrates that I have an ability to lead, to bring people together for a higher purpose than their personal, selfish interests. Some people may try and convince you this is a bad thing. Perhaps they want candidates in office who owe them something.

I would suggest that my fundraising demonstrates exactly what you should want in a councilperson. Rather than making enemies of my business competitors, I made them into friends who respect me enough to give me money just for asking, for a city council race a thousand miles away. Heck, I even got a contribution from a former high school girlfriend. And as of that finance report turned in last week, I had received cash donations from 92 individuals -- not just maximum contributions from a handful of big donors.

Ask yourself, why do some other candidates not have a huge list of supporters who willingly gave them money just because they asked? Were they unpersuasive? Do the people who know them best not find them trustworthy? Were they just afraid to ask? And -- here's the big question -- are those the people you want representing Maplewood when it comes time to go to the county, state, or federal government, or anywhere else, and ask for money?

So if someone tries to frighten you by saying that I raised more money from out-of-state donors than most candidates in this race have raised in total, ask yourself -- is that really a bad thing?

Labels: ,

Post a Comment

Newer Posts Older Posts

Posts by Date

Powered by Blogger & Blogger Templates. Customized by Michelle Nephew.
Contact me at