Xavier University Blog

Kevin Tighe, Class of 2013

Posted Wednesday, January 03, 2018

By Chris Wetterich – Staff reporter and columnist, Cincinnati Business Courier Dec 21, 2017, 12:03pm When Kevin Tighe came to Cincinnati as a Xavier University English student in 2009, he had no intention of working in politics. But when a friend asked him to help gather signatures to get Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach on the ballot for his re-election bid in 2013, he caught the political bug. “Part of that is my Jesuit education,” Tighe said. “The Jesuits emphasize trying to solve society’s systemic issues by attacking the root cause. To me, there is nothing that addresses root causes more than politics. Our elected officials have their fingers on the pulse of most of our big issues: education, poverty, economic opportunity - you name it. That’s why I’m in politics: to get good people elected to positions of power so we can make our society a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.” Most recently, he ran a successful Cincinnati City Council campaign for Tamaya Dennard, who received the sixth-most votes of any candidate on the ballot. He spoke with the Courier about the key to successful fundraising and the most frustrating misconception about politics. What’s the most challenging thing about asking people to contribute to a political campaign? In the wake of the (U.S. Supreme Court case) Citizens United, a lot of people ask if their small donation even makes a difference. The answer is yes — yes, the small donations do matter. They add up quickly and can display a wide range of support. What qualities make a candidate successful at fundraising? You need perseverance and an ability to define your vision in a tangible way. Calling donors you’ve never met before - even calling your friends and family - and asking them to invest in you is no easy task. You’ve got to spend a lot time and energy on the phones and in meetings, but also need to have a product people believe in and can get excited about. Do you think a candidate who dislikes asking people for money can win? Yes. While money is important, it’s not everything. There are several examples of folks who have won without raising much. It mainly depends on what kind of campaign you have to run to win. If it’s a local campaign, fundraising isn’t as important because the need to go on TV isn’t as high. But if you’re running for office on a larger scale, fundraising can be incredibly important. Take this all with a grain of salt, though, because campaigns cannot be run without fundraising. Staff, literature, yard signs — not to mention radio ads, Facebook ads, etc. — they all cost money.

Tags: class-note-achievements-and-career-news , class-year-2013

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