There is nothing like a blank open space into which a campaign office can be designed.
I have seen some spectactular campaign offices, in 2008 when Brian McGarry, the Conservative Candidate in Ottawa Centre the old School Board offices/school building on Gilmour street served as his HQ. The whole building was not used, many offices were utilized, but the hidden gem was the auditorium. The “Aud” could house a few hundred people and had a beautiful stage. It was used for a local rallys in 2008 and a couple of larger campaign events. I have never seen any office since have anything like that space.
The campaign office is defined by the space available. In the Ontario election last year Colleen McCleery had a beautiful home for an office. It was a 2 story structure with a big basement. Most activities were restricted to three large rooms on the main floor for sign storage, greeting space and a room for a few people to make phone calls and prepare for election day. It was as homey and friendly as the campaign atmosphere was.
Each space has it benefits and its challenges.
This year I’ve the oppportunity to open two campaign offices. Both spaces were leased before I arrived, and a campaign office was created out of each space. In Orleans, for David Bertschi the campaign took over an old paint store. When we arrived we found a rainbow of biege, ‘blah’ blue and purple on the walls. With some paint, blue and white of course, the office was transformed – the fresh colours added energy to the space!
Moving to the new space in Barrie-Innisfil, the office is a ‘shell’ of an office. Drywall and cynberblock are the décor. Being stripped of any décor means that there isn’t much that would be damaged. On the plus side though there is plenty of natural light!
Every Campaign Manager has their own touches that they like to see or not see. I don’t like clutter. A campaign office has a limited time of use, clutter derails any effectiveness in the office. I am also a huge advocate of the campaign calendar on the wall, and I mean ON THE ENTIRE WALL. It’s a countdown to election day and it is the campaign at a glance – canvass times, meetings, voting days, events, debates and media time are all documented. The calendar is a sign of accountability for the campaign. If it’s on the calendar it’s important!
Our campaign office will be as plastic and waste free as possible, we’ll use water jugs and ask everyone to use personal refillable water bottles. The same will be in place for coffee and tea, we’ll ask everyone to bring a mug or cup. Just because the office is operational for a short periodof time doesn’t mean we become lazy when it comes to the amount of waste in the office.
The Barrie-Innisfil campaign office is in transition – a work in progress, with many pieces needed to make it functional for the many that have different tasks to perform. While a campaign office is really only a temporary home, it is still a home that needs to be welcoming, functional and efficient.
Sadly, on October 22nd, we just take it all apart and await the next election to do it all again.
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