8 questions for political candidates

“The first thing that they teach a political candidates (once they go out and hire their first ‘image’ or PR consultant) is how to answer questions like a politician,” writes Grassroot Institute of Hawaii researcher Malia Hill in the article, 65 Questions for Those Aspiring to Elected Office in Hawaii. “The rule goes, ‘Don’t answer the question that was asked. Answer the question that you wish had been asked.’ And that, in a nutshell, is why debates and interviews can be so frustrating to watch.”

Hill comes up with a pretty comprehensive list of questions, focusing on philosophy rather than specific legislation. The questions cover Political Philosophy and Governance, Economics and Taxation, Social Issues, and Native Hawaiian Issues/Akaka Bill.

I think that 65 questions are overwhelming, for both candidates and voters, so I narrowed it down and came up with my own list.

8 questions for political candidates:

1. Role of government: When there is a problem, would you first initiate government action [legislation, taxes] or first seek a way to encourage private action to address it?

2. Tax philosophy: Should government collect the taxes it needs to pay for government services, or should government set public service budgets based on the amount of taxes collected?

3. Tax policy: Do you believe that taxes should be used to a) pay for government services, b) encourage/discourage business activity [business practices, hiring, wages, benefits], c) encourage/discourage individual activity [purchasing, spending, saving], and/or d) encourage/discourage individual behavior [health, exercise, speech]?

4. Social issues: Should government strive to a) create equal opportunity for all citizens or b) equal outcomes for all citizens [income, health, property, education]?

5. Native Hawaiian issues: Should government treat all people the same? When, if ever, is it okay to discriminate by race, gender, sexual orientation, or political or religious ideology? Or more specifically, what is our responsibility to atone for the actions of previous generations?

6. Health policy: Does government have the right to a) regulate the health care industry, b) provide health insurance coverage, c) require health insurance coverage, d) determine health care policies and coverage, and/or e) promote healthy lifestyles?

7. Foreign policy: Does government have an obligation to support other countries that are struggling with democratic principles?

8. Judicial policy: Should judges base their rulings on a) the US Constitution, b) personal experience, or c) public opinion, or d) International law?

What questions would you ask Hawaii candidates? What issues are most important to you?

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