Taylor Dawson: What do you want to hear from your candidates?

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Most of the talk I’ve heard this legislative session has been preceded with “well, you know it’s an election year. . .” as if to indicate that we shouldn’t expect too much from our lawmakers in 2018.

Rather, our expectations for our elected officials in 2018 should be just as high as usual, if not higher.

Many of our elected officials are running for reelection for their current office or entering an election for a new office, and four years have passed since the last time most of them were elected. Before we cast our ballot, it is important for each of us to understand how our candidates will view the issues put before them during their term. API is prepared to ask the tough questions, and we want to know what you will be asking too.

Over the course of the next few months through our “Candidate Call” series, we’ll be exploring topics from good governance and fiscal responsibility to education and protections under the first amendment. And we will be proposing questions to candidates on those issues.

Here are a few examples of the questions we will be asking.

What foundational principles will shape how they will govern and consider policy decisions if they are elected?

Hundreds of bills on a wide array of policy issues are introduced each year. While the issues may change, the lens of principle through which we see these issues should not. API views each issue through a lens of strengthening free markets, defending limited government, and championing strong families. How will your candidate use their core convictions to make decisions?

What do the candidates think is the best way to see Alabama rise in national education rankings?

As I’ve said before, education is one of the most important things our state can give to its schoolchildren. We need candidates who are willing to stand for all students and not be swayed by the direction of the political wind of the moment. Do they support efforts to increase school choice? Will they hold the state school board accountable?

How would members of the executive branch work with the legislature and local leaders to ensure fiscal responsibility to taxpayers?

For example, take the gas tax. If the gas tax is increased, lawmakers should strongly consider decreasing or eliminating another state tax to make the policy revenue neutral. What is the best way to balance meeting the state’s needs and being responsible with the resources that taxpayers already provide?

What qualities are most important for a leader to possess in order to be most effective?

Seeing meaningful reforms accomplished in Montgomery will require both sides of the aisle to work together, humility and willingness to consider other perspectives, and wisdom to put politics aside in the best interest of our state’s future. Do they have a record of exhibiting the traits that you want to see in a leader, whether in public office or in another part of their lives?

These are just a few examples of the types of questions that we’ll be digging into this year. Send us a message on Facebook, tweet at us using the hashtag #candidatecall, or e-mail me at taylord@alabamapolicy.org to let us know what questions you want candidates to answer.

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Taylor Dawson is Director of Communications for the Alabama Policy Institute (API), API is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families. If you would like to speak with the author, please e-mail communications@alabamapolicy.org or call (205) 870-9900.

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