HELENA – The Helena Area League of Women Voters hosted a panel Wednesday night to give tips on how to run for public office.

Co-President Claudette Morton said they invited local elected officials to speak in order to encourage participation in the democratic process.

Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins, Sarah Sullivan of the Helena School Board, Moffie Funk of the state legislature and others hosted the panel moderated by Morton.

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Each of the public officials had their own unique advice but they all agreed that engaging with the community and going door to door with constituents is one of the most important parts of any campaign.

Sullivan said it also takes a great deal of passion.

“I [ran] because I’m truly passionate about public education,” Sullivan said. “I just really cared about who was on our school board and making decisions.”

Mayor Collins said his campaign focused on listening to the community and the issues that most concerned Helena residents.

“Make their issues your issues,” Collins said.

Collins added that each of the components of his campaign platform came from conversations he had with the Helena community. Collins listened to people concerned about firefighters, affordable housing and veteran homelessness.

Representative Funk encouraged those considering running to just do it.

“Don’t wait for it to be the right time,” Funk said. “So what if you lose? You get your name out there.”