When a candidate comes to your door, ask some tough questions

Don’t get many political candidates at our door.  Maybe it’s the sign in the driveway that says “we shoot every third politician and the second one just left.”  With luck, they know better than to waste their time or ours.

But a lot of Floyd County residents will find wannabes for office at their door in this political season. Most likely, they will be running for the school board, where two of three seats are contested, or the sheriff’s race with three candidates or the town council where three seek two seats.

Political candidates are salesmen and saleswomen, trying to sell themselves to a voter/consumer, which means you have to wade through a lot of propaganda and hype to discover where they actually stand on issues.

In our district — Little River — we have three candidates, including the incumbent, running for the school board.  If any of them had nerve enough to show up at our door, I’d ask the following questions:

  1. Why should I vote for you?
  2. Are you a member of any political party? School board elections are non-partisan but political affiliation is important.  It provides a clue to their beliefs on public education.
  3. Did you graduate from a public or private school?  Those who attended a private elementary and/or secondary school sometimes look down on public education.
  4. Were you home schooled?  Same reason as above.
  5. Are a you a member of, or are you seeking endorsement by, Floyd’s tea party?  The tea party doesn’t care much for public education, which means a candidate who listens to them could vote against raises for teachers or against federal funding for schools.
  6. Did you attend Floyd County public schools?  Those of us who did are damn proud of it.  It means something.
  7. Do you have — or did you have — children in the Floyd County public schools?  Those who did may know more about the school system than those who did not.
  8. What about the controversy over departing school superintendent Terry Arbogast’s salary package and his handling of questions about it?  Was he right or wrong?  Did the school board mishandle the issue?
  9. Tell me five good things about the Floyd County school system?
  10. Tell me five bad things about the schools.

There are other questions.  If the candidate starts spouting off about public employee unions, show them the door. Floyd County’s public employees — including the teachers — are not unionized.  Never have been. Probably never will be.  This is a right to work state.

Questions for other candidates coming soon.

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5 thoughts on “When a candidate comes to your door, ask some tough questions”

  1. Things might be in better shape at all levels if voters asked real questions like yours – and demanded real answers. It’s way too easy to “spout off” and pander. Unfortunately, candidats know that way too many voters respond only to illogical and emotional rhetoric – they really can’t handle the truth.

  2. Or (to follow up on Georgia’s comment) if the voters ask(ed) any questions at all. It’s easy to just let someone quickly go through their set little speech and then move on with your day. It takes forethought to stop the candidate and say “I have some questions I need you to answer before I consider voting for you.” Of course, having questions also means that you pay attention to what is going on and I sometimes wonder how many people really take the time to pay attention. I look forward to your seeing your questions for the other candidates that might grace our doorsteps. I’m working on my own list for the candidates for sheriff.

  3. There comes a point at which voters, even closely watching ones, just give up. How do you get your question answered, when even if you are allowed to ask one, the only response you get is a canned one, often not even related to your question? There is no follow up, no pressing, just playing the straight man to the pol pushing his talking points. Even simple, virtually yes or no type questions get evaded.

  4. If they don’t answer your questions – you received a very clear answer. It’s time to get rid of that dolt and find someone who will respond to questions and to the real concerns of voters — not their corporate contributors.

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