If you’ve spent any time reading our food truck news articles, you’ve noticed that even though many cities across the country are embracing food trucks, many are not. If you were to analyze all of the reasons why certain communities do what they can to prevent food truck expansion you would see that most are because of the strength of local restaurant voices that are involved in politics.
These voices are heard over all others because many of the elected officials are bought and paid for by their constituents…especially restaurant owners. In other cases it’s because the elected officials themselves are restaurant owners or members of their local restaurant association. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Too often, vendors who want to get involved in politics think that someday someone will call them and ask them to run for office. This isn’t how it works. The best way to get involved in politics is to get out there and get started.
How To Get Involved In Politics
Go to Meetings
Learn from existing politicians. The best way to get involved in politics is to get know your local party leaders and candidates, as well as other activists and go to your city or county council meetings. These meetings are usually open to the public, and provide a great opportunity for you to not only get to know other people, but to learn about the issues facing your community.
Work On A Campaign
Learn how the system works. There is nothing more exciting than working on a campaign. Call a local candidate who supports food trucks and offer to volunteer on the campaign. The campaign will be glad to have you for whatever amount of time you can spare. During the campaign, you will gain invaluable political experience and contacts. Volunteers are asked to do everything from planning events to going door-to-door meeting the voters.
Start A Food Truck Association
Represent food trucks. If you are a good organizer and feel up to the challenge, think about starting a local food truck association in your community. Not only will you help other vendors, you’ll be able to share a single voice on food truck issues with your local politicians.
Get Other Food Truck Owners Involved
Get other vendors involved. Once you start to get involved in politics, encourage other food truck owners to get involved too. By building your own organization of committed food truck activists, you can provide an invaluable service to the local industry.
Run for Office
Jump into the fray. The biggest way to get involved in politics is running for office yourself. There are dozens of offices you can run for in your area; start small and work your way up. Call party headquarters to ask what offices are up for election soon, and whether candidates are needed for any of these races.
Open your eyes and ears. Make sure to stay informed about local food truck issues. Read your local paper(s) and trade magazines (Mobile-Cuisine), and attend town hall meetings.
The Bottom Line
If you truly want to get involved in politics, the time to start is now. Pick out a few of these suggestions, call your local party, and tell them you want to help. Volunteer, organize, work a campaign or run for office… just start today.
Are you already involved in politics in your community? We’d love to hear any tips you can share. You can share your tips in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Facebook | Twitter