Candidates for public office, once elected, bring their underlying principles and perspectives on policy issues into office with them, thus defining how they govern. It is important for citizens to know and understand the candidates for which they are voting, and Yellowhammer News and the Alabama Policy Institute (API) are partnering to bring that information to Alabama voters.
Over the course of the last three weeks, candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general were issued a questionnaire from API and Yellowhammer with questions ranging from political philosophy to state-specific questions on fiscal responsibility, education, and job creation. Now, we are opening up this opportunity to candidates running for the state legislature. By providing an outlet for candidates to address these topics, the Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer hope to foster a more engaged and informed electorate in Alabama.
Why are API and Yellowhammer issuing these questionnaires?
It is a difficult task to get each candidate running for office on the same stage. When they do share a live audience, candidates are rarely given the opportunity to answer challenging policy questions. These questionnaires provide this opportunity—one that will benefit both candidates and the electorate. This format will give candidates time to provide more thoughtful responses and will give Alabamians the information they need to cast their vote. Issuing the questions on a public platform provides accountability and transparency between the candidates and voters, which is vital to a more informed citizenry.
How will the process work?
API and Yellowhammer News have released a list of questions for legislative candidates. These questions are posted on the Yellowhammer News and Alabama Policy Institute websites and have been sent to the campaigns. The legislative candidates will each be allowed until June 1 to respond to the questionnaire. As responses come in, they will be posted online and available for the candidates to post on their respective websites.
Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor have already submitted responses, and the candidates for attorney general have been asked to submit their questionnaire responses today. Responses are available here on Yellowhammer News and on the Alabama Policy Institute website.
API and Yellowhammer challenge all of the candidates for the state legislature to answer these questions thoroughly and thoughtfully. Prior to casting our votes, Alabama voters deserve to know what their candidates believe and how they will view the issues presented to them.
As election day draws near, we look forward to receiving their responses and sharing that information with you.
Alabama Policy Institute and Yellowhammer News
2018 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire
According to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, Alabama boasts the 12th most regressive state and local tax system in the nation, meaning that much of our revenue demands fall heavily on low-income residents. What changes, if any, need to be made to the Alabama tax code?
US News ranks Alabama’s roads and bridges as the 16th and 21st best in the country, respectively. Even so, every neighbor of ours—except Mississippi—has roads and bridges that rank in the top 10. Alabama also ranks 45th in terms of broadband access. If elected, what would you prioritize as the most important infrastructure investment projects, and what innovative options would you propose or support to fund such projects?
Most states utilize a government-run lottery to increase revenue and pay for government projects. Do you support or oppose this method of funding? Why?
Alabama is ranked number forty-seven on U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best States for Education, and ranked number 1 in Pre-Kindergarten quality. As far as public education reforms, there have been many suggestions for improvement including increased investment in STEM education, distance learning, reforming teacher tenure, and school choice. What reforms would you propose or support to improve public education and prepare Alabama’s children for school success and lifelong learning?
The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida reignited the discussion about school safety. President Trump and some Alabama legislators have suggested arming teachers while others have argued for increased use of school resource officers and funding for mental health programs. Which attempts to increase school safety do you support or oppose and why?
THE RIGHT TO WORK
The state of Alabama licenses 151 different occupations and over 20% of Alabama workers need a license to work. If elected, would you support or oppose reforms to these regulations—regulations that both the Obama and Trump administrations have regarded as problematic?
Alabama has received national attention for the state of its prisons and a federal judge recently called inmate care “horrendously inadequate”. How would you address this issue, and do you support or oppose the use of private prisons?
In Alabama, juvenile offenders can be tried and treated as adults. In the 2018 Legislative Session, a bill passed the House but failed to pass the Senate that would have redefined Alabama’s juvenile justice system. Do you support or oppose reforms to this system and why?
CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE
Some states are eliminating provisions that allow police to seize property without securing a criminal conviction. Do you support or oppose the use of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement and the provision that allows agencies to keep the proceeds of seized property? Why?
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
What is the most challenging social issue facing families in Alabama today? What role, if any, would you play as a legislator in solving this issue?
In Alabama, 12% of all pregnancies are aborted. What changes, if any, should legislators make to current law to address abortion and encourage mothers’ carrying their pregnancies to term?