Today Rock the Capital and Democracy Rising PA are sending to all candidates for the General Assembly the 2012 Public Integrity Questionnaire. Based on the Public Integrity Poll DR members made possible with their donations last fall, the questions seek the reasons why candidates support or oppose changes that a majority – sometimes a huge majority – of PA voters want.
We are distributing this questionnaire broadly, among our members and on our web sites, with a specific request. We ask everyone who gets this questionnaire to get their own lawmakers to respond to it. The more of us there are who ask, the more likely candidates are to take both the questionnaire and the underlying issues seriously.
The people of Pennsylvania support a better way of doing the people’s business. For example:
- 95% of PA voters want to have the same rules for all candidates seeking elective office. Do your candidates agree with 95% of voters? Or do they represent the 5%?
- 93% of PA voters want to prohibit public officials from taking anything of value from those trying to influence official decisions. Do your candidates agree with 93% of voters? Or do they represent the 7%?
- 88% of PA voters want to reform how election campaigns are financed. Do your candidates agree with 88% of the voters? Or do they represent the 12%?
All candidate opinions count, including those who have no competition in November. Presumably, those men and women will be elected and will be casting votes on some or all of these issues. Voters should be able to know both where candidates stand and what they will do, if anything, to advance these issues about which so many people care.
Sometime in July, call or stop by the campaign offices of the candidates. Remind them that they received the questionnaire, and ask them to respond to it. In case the candidate claims not to have received it (which happens with remarkable regularity), you may want to print out the questionnaire and have it with you to give to the candidate. Click above, or go to www.rockthecapital.com . Or let us know and we’ll make sure the candidate gets it again.
We ask you to press your candidates for answers because we know that many candidates will not respond otherwise. Some of those who have competition will say that they get too many questionnaires and so have a policy of responding to none. Some of those who have no competition will say that there’s no point in responding because it won’t affect the election.
Neither position is in the best interests of representative democracy. Those who do not respond treat constituents as second-class citizens. We may be sure that lobbyists and campaign contributors know where lawmakers stand on issues important to the various special interests. Why shouldn’t constituents know where their own lawmakers stand on issues of public integrity that are clearly important to ordinary citizens?
We have set a deadline of July 31 for candidates to reply. As we get responses, we will post them on our web sites. During the course of the fall, we will call attention to various questions and candidate responses as events in the news make them timely.
Look for responses from your lawmakers. If you don’t see them, be sure to tell them you want them to respond.
Thanks for your efforts. We’ll keep you posted.