Taking My AmeriCorps Service to Public Office
Today’s guest post comes from Jason Smith, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of Montana. He is an AmeriCorps Alumni from the Campus Corps at the Salish Kootenai College (SKC), which is a tribal college on the Flathead Reservation in Montana.
I was recruited by the faculty of the college to join AmeriCorps to pay for my education and engage in civic service with the communities on the reservation. My service included my time on the SKC Student Senate as the vice president. We strived to provide a home environment for students away from their home to increase the chance of graduation. We also engaged in non-partisan Get Out the Vote (GOTV) drive to increase voting awareness and voter turnout for college students. My AmeriCorps service unknowingly gave me the tools to serve the public in the future.
After I graduated I worked for CSKT as the Chairman Chief of Staff and the GOTV Coordinator of the tribe. I gained Federal, State, and Tribal executive experience dealing with issues facing the tribe and constituents. This job with the tribe was the beginning of my journey in the life of public service.
I was recruited to work for the State of Montana Legislaturein the House of Representatives as staff to the Democrats and specifically the Montana American Indian Caucus. I learned to track legislation, appropriations, communications, and the state legislative process.
I went to work at the Montana Department of Commerce for several years learning about the programs available local governments, small businesses, and communities for infrastructure building, capacity enhancement, business technical assistance, and access to capital for business development and job creation.
Now I am currently running for office in the Montana State Legislature for House District 15, which encompasses 5 counties and 2 reservations in a 3000 square mile district. I am the best candidate with a broad background in the private and public sector in economic development and. My in depth State-Tribal relations and experience will prove to be a winning formula in my campaign.
I encourage any alumni to take the step to run for any public office. Your service and passion which led you to serving in AmeriCorps will provide you with the needed experience and understanding of the basic process of public service and working for the betterment of the people and their communities. The present and future depends on us.
Would you want to run for public office in your life after AmeriCorps? If so, let us know in the comments below!