Pat Heston

I ran for elected office once.

In a rural area of a big city not far from Chicago.

Well, let me amend that. I had run for elected office four times prior.

I was Vice President of my freshman class, President of my sophomore class, and Governor (Student Body President) my senior year. I took a year off from politics as a Junior. I think I had run out of posterboard for advertising. Not only that, but my Magic Marker had dried up.

After high school, I found myself with a reserve of markers and posterboard, so I thought what better thing to do at college than run for Freshman class president—and I did … and was elected.

Four tries. Four successes. Four terms in politics.

I still remember my slogan when I ran for Governor of Greenville High School. “Pick Pat.” That was it. That said everything. And it was alliterative, easy to remember. Kind of like “I Like Ike.” And it didn’t use much posterboard or Magic Marker ink. Plus, it made a lot more sense than “Four More Years.”

Anyway …

I ran for elected office once.

I mean, a real elected office.

In the rural area of a big city not far from Chicago.

I ran as a write-in candidate.

So did everyone else.

There were a lot of candidates. It was for a school board vacancy for a K-through-8 school on the outskirts of a city of 80,000 people.

Against all conventional political wisdom, I did not go door-to-door. Nor did I do any advertising. After all, it’s amazing how much more posterboard and Magic Markers cost in Joliet than they had in Greenville. Plus, Walgreens was out of red markers.

Despite my bare-boned budget, I obliterated my competition to win the lone and coveted seat. In fact, I beat my nearest opponent by margin of 3-to-1. I kid you not. I received 12 votes. My nearest opponent received 4. Do the math if you don’t believe me. Back in Greenville we would have called that a landslide.

By the way, I raised quite a ruckus at my first school board meeting.

I took a seat at the table, just to the right of person who, unbeknownst to me, was the school board president. That put another lady all in an obvious dither. Roll was taken. I, like the others around the table, answered, “Aye.”

Once the roll call was finished, and the “Ayes” recorded in the official minutes, each person had to maintain their seat for their entire term. That, I learned afterwards, was the problem. Up until then, that seat had been “unofficially” reserved for the second most powerful person on the board. It still maintained that aura. But, now, ironically, I was in it.

I had pulled off a major coup without knowing it. And had done so as a novice politician. By the way, I enjoyed serving on a school board so much that I never sought reelection.

 Pat Heston is co-host of Let's Talk on Tuesday and Thursday on WBGZ 107.1FM/1570AM. He's also the author of the book "Journey Into Newness: The Soul-Making Power of a Wilderness," and a retired pastor.