We want to know the questions voters need candidates to answer
With the 2012 legislative session having come to a close, our attention has turned to Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
That sentiment is due in large part because of the sheer number of offices that will be on the ballot.
Because of mandatory redistricting this year, all Minnesota House and Senate seats will be up for grabs. All but one Dakota County commissioner seat will be on the ballot along with several municipal and school district positions.
People also will be choosing a U.S. president, one of Minnesota’s two senators and a 2nd District House representative.
Voters of Minnesota, you have about five months to pay attention to who these people are and where they stand on the issues important to you.
One of the frequent questions we hear from readers about this time of year is: Will the newspaper be hosting any debates?
I’m happy to report that Sun Thisweek will endeavor to moderate several debates in the coming months.
In June, some of the 84 journalists who work for ECM Publishers Inc. will meet for an election coverage workshop during which the editors of Sun Thisweek will develop a strategy to plan such forums.
At this time, it is our intention to schedule debates for House and Senate races in the Sun Thisweek coverage area. Because of the work involved in organizing such events, we haven’t gone beyond talking about those races.
One of our editors recently spoke with a current officer holder in our coverage area who said during one election cycle she wasn’t invited to any debates.
Frankly, that makes us look bad that we didn’t recognize the lack of a forum for that race and plan one ourselves.
Seeing the candidates in a debate format where they don’t have prior knowledge of the questions is very important for voters.
Debates allow you to see how well informed the candidates are on the issues, how they handle themselves under pressure and how they articulate their message.
We want the people of our area to see as many candidates in this setting prior to casting their ballots.
The most important element of a good exchange is asking the right questions.
That’s where you can help.
We would like to hear from readers what questions they think the candidates should answer for any of the offices at the state, county, city or school board level.
People may submit their questions online by going to links at the bottom of this story post for the offices for which we are seeking questions. When you add your questions, you can see what other questions people are thinking about.
People also may submit their questions to my email address listed at the end of this column or mail them to our address 15322 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley, MN 55124.
We’d especially like to hear from many of the undecided voters who frequently cross party lines for federal and state offices. If you are a voter who doesn’t identify themselves as a solid Democrat or a Republican, send an email to me because we want to know what issues are the most important to you.
We are interested because it is the middle that swings the controlling-party pendulum from liberal to conservative.
Legislative elections in Dakota County have largely leaned Republican in much of the past two decades, though when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, five Democrats were elected to the state House and Senate from the Sun Thisweek coverage area.
Obama is back on the ballot again, but 2012 is a much different political environment and only a handful of candidates that ran in 2008 are in the race this year.
So what will happen this fall is anyone’s guess. Our goal at Sun Thisweek is to arm people with as much information about the candidates as possible so voters can make educated choices.
To submit questions for various races, click on the links below:
Tad Johnson, managing editor of Sun Thisweek and the Dakota County Tribune, can be reached at email@example.com or facebook.com/sunthisweek. Columns reflect the opinion of the author.