Raz Shafer, a soon-to-be father from Fort Worth, was pretty much born into politics. But he never thought he’d be as politically active as he is today.
Such a statement may sound odd from a lifetime political activist, Hillsdale College graduate, Ted Cruz staffer, campaign vendor, and most recently, the founder of My Campaign Coach.
“When I was young, I saw a close election go the wrong way,” Shafer recalled. “I quickly realized that if I worked hard and found a few more dedicated people to help out, I could have personally made a difference. At the state and local level, I realized that individuals really can shape who represents them in government.”
Shafer is old enough to remember a far different Texas than we enjoy today. A fifth-generation homeschooled Texan from Waco, he recalled a time when Democrats held majorities in both legislative chambers. He also remembers – quite shockingly – when homeschooling was illegal under state law.
“Most would be terrified to learn that the government actually prohibited parents from educating their own children, outside of public or parochial schools,” he said. “Thanks to the Texas Homeschool Coalition, and thousands of engaged citizens, that’s changed.”
In fact, Shafer says it was the movement to protect the educational rights of parents during the 1980s and 1990s that inspired him to stay politically active leading up to, and following, college.
In 2009, Shafer returned to Texas as quickly as he could after earning his undergraduate degree. A conservative uprising in Texas had begun, with citizens turning their attention to challenging Republicans in state-level primary elections.
The 2010 cycle was a disappointing year for Tarrant County activists, but the following 2012 cycle saw the victories of several conservative challengers, including State Reps. Matt Krause and Jonathan Stickland.
Shafer explained that his inspiration to found My Campaign Coach came from seeing too many “great people” lose elections they could have won.
“The problem I see is that good people run, but they often don’t win…and they can’t make as much of a difference as they hoped. I want to help great people win, so they can do great things.”
Shafer said that his ultimate goal is to see real policy reforms, not just to help rack up campaign victories. It’s the policy results that matter, not the personalities.
“As a Christian, working in politics is a calling. It’s what God has called me to do to help my community and make a difference. Therefore, my results matter. My ultimate goal is to help good people around me, so we can glorify God.”
Shafer’s success is not defined on Election Day. It’s by the fruits of his labor. “I’ve failed if the people I’ve helped elect don’t deliver the results they’ve promised.” When asked what advice he’d give people who aren’t politically active, he said it’s simpler than people think.
“Get involved with organizations like Empower Texans, or other groups, who are helping citizens get informed and engaged. Go to local group meetings and find people who are like-minded, and want to make a positive difference,” Shafer reiterated. “There is no job too big or small. Be willing to take on new tasks, because you have to dare to win. Help people who need help. Step outside your comfort zone.”
He says the organization is about building better campaigns, and making candidates better. They also want to empower citizens to make a difference.
And by helping others be their best, Shafer is making a big difference.