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Christy Jensen Gives Advice to Women Seeking Election (video)

Christy Jensen Gives Advice to Women Seeking Election (video)MBREW draft one

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 21, 2014)

Not everyone knows who Christy Jensen is. But the women who have won office thanks in part to her campaign expertise are leading some of Oakland County’s largest communities. Mayor Brenda Lawrence of Southfield, who is now running for Congress, Mayor Deidre Waterman of Pontiac, and Mayor Marian McClellan of Oak Park all credit Jensen with their victories. Her long list of political experiences includes serving with the Michigan Democratic Party, the Oakland County Democratic lisa schmidt lawParty, the Justice Caucus, the Birmingham-Bloomfield Democratic Club and the campaigns of Oak Park Councilpeople Kiesha Speech and Carolyn Burns.

Though she considers herself a dedicated Democrat, Jensen is also active in the Women Officials Network, a nonpartisan organization where all politically-engaged women can come together to support and learn from each other.

On Oct. 17, Jensen spoke to WON about campaigning, sharing her experiences and advice for women seeking office.

“There is a difference between running a guy’s campaign and a girl’s campaign. There really is. It is harder, just like with everything else, for women candidates,” Jensen said.

“That glass ceiling that exists, we talk about it a lot, they keep rebuilding it. We have to stay seed06_kat_bruner_jamesfocused, as women, Republican or Democrat, we are still breaking that glass, cracking it, busting on it.”

One challenge of campaigning is trying to get the public to pay attention. “Most people, while we’re here and we’re politically engaged, your voters are actively trying to avoid those commercials. They’re not reading that part of the paper. They’re not interested,” she said. “Even 18 days out. Really its ten days out that they’re going to start being engaged, and being like ‘wow, is there an election happening?’”

This is why social media and press are not enough. Jensen said that many elections are won a single vote at a time. The votes, she said, come from the phone calls and knocking on doors.

Having a good campaign manager or at least a good mentor can make a huge difference in campaigning. “My job as a campaign manager, when you bring me in, is we cobble together the essentialresources we need and we figure out how many doors are we going to need to knock? How many votes do we need to get? How many calls are we going to have to make? And of course the most painful one, how much money are we going to need to raise?”

A lot of Jensen’s work is also to keep candidate’s focused. “Everybody that’s running, don’t look at the polls. Don’t read the papers. Don’t read the comments section on anything. Those are people like me messing with your head. There’s like ten people doing it. The only people looking at that stuff is your opponent. Leave it alone. Don’t get in a tussle that way. Don’t let it upset you. Stay on track and go get your votes.”

After hearing her engaging speech, the obvious question was asked.  Will Christie Jensen ever run for office?  The answer, a very simple “No.”  Jensen is currently working the campaign to elect Brenda Lawrence to Congress, and is expected to manager Lawrence’s field office in Southfield if successful.

To see Jensen’s presentation, check out the video below:

For previous WON presentations, see:Judy_Palmer30years

For more information on Women Officials Network see

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