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Clarence Lam, MD

Biographical Info (hometown, experience, specialty):

Political: Elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014.  Serve on the House Environment & Transportation Committee, as well as the Subcommittee on Environment and Subcommittee on Motor Vehicles & Transportation.

Medical: Board-Certified in Preventive Medicine; Faculty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where I serve as the program director of the general preventive medicine residency program.

Which Program (Campaign School/Candidate Workshop) did you attend?  Do you remember which year?

AMPAC Campaign School in 2011

Have you run for public office? What was the result?

Yes, I was elected as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014.

Why did you decide to take part in the AMPAC program?

I was considering a future run for elected office, and the AMPAC Campaign School was recommended by another physician colleague.  At that point, I wasn’t sure what position I would be running for, but it gave me the opportunity to plan ahead and prepare strategically.

Have the programs helped in your political/advocacy career? How?

The AMPAC Campaign School provided me great insight and understanding of how to organize a political campaign.  This type of training is important for physicians because most don’t gain experience in policy or advocacy during medical school.

What was the most beneficial component of the AMPAC program for you?

The most beneficial part of the AMPAC Campaign School was that it provided a comprehensive and in-depth training on how to run a campaign.  Every component of a campaign is covered including building a campaign plan, grassroots support, fundraising, communications, and field operations.  Short of actively volunteering on other campaigns, I found the Campaign School to be the most intensive and best preparation for what it takes to get elected.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other physicians or spouses who are considering a run for office or actively campaigning for a medicine-friendly candidate?

1) Start early:  It’s never too early to build roots into the community and to be engaged in community activities and events.

2)  Be prepared to knock on doors:  Voters—especially for state or local-level positions—want to see their candidates, and the best, most effective way to do this is to knock on their doors.

3)  Don’t be afraid to fundraise:  Nobody likes fundraising, but campaigns are expensive.  Overcome any inhibitions you have to asking for contributions.

4)  Familiarize yourself with issues that concern your voters:  As a physician-candidate, you may be provided a little more respect, but voters will want to know that you understand other important issues outside of medicine, such as education, jobs/economy, environment, etc.

5)  Discuss your decision with your family before running:  Campaigning for an elected position is like taking on another full-time job, and your time is no longer “yours” but becomes the “public’s” time.  Running for office—as well as serving in office—will take time away from you and your family, and they should be aware, prepared, and supportive.