“Ask the Candidate” – Issue Specific Questions

  • Debate

The Middle Wisconsin Editorial Board is excited to share with its readers a compilation of issue specific candidate questions.  We are hopeful that these questions can be utilized as a guide during a dialogue between citizens and candidates on some of the issues which face communities throughout the state of Wisconsin.  We encourage anyone using these questions to relay back to us some of the answers given by candidates so we may publish them on our website.

The importance of an active citizenry is more important today than at any other period in our history.  A purposeful and open dialogue between candidates and citizens is an essential element in a discourse which seeks to capture a candidate’s position on some of the most important issues we face as a state.  Our hope is that these questions will serve as a guide to help you establish this open and purposeful dialogue.


 Climate Questions for Candidates:

  1. Climate scientists around the world have concluded global warming is occurring and it is caused by our burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Do you accept their conclusion?  If yes, why?  If not, why not?
  2. The leaders of nearly all major religions in the United States have noted the negative effects of global warming unfairly impact the poor, the elderly, and children most heavily. Do you agree with those who contend responding to global warming is a moral imperative?  If not, how important is it for us to respond to global warming?
  3. Over a ten-year period, a revenue-neutral carbon tax would add between two and three million jobs along with $70 to $90 billion in GDP to the American economy according to a study released in June 2014 by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI).  Do you support a market-driven approach to counteracting global warming such as a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend?
  4. By nearly a two to one margin, Americans support setting strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired plants.  They support this even if it would increase the cost of electricity, according to a May 2014 study by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. Do you support the attempt to reduce global warming through EPA regulations on power plants?
  5. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates at least 140,000 people currently die each year as a result of global warming while millions more are made ill.  These numbers are expected to increase. Do you support taking prompt action to put a price on carbon in order to reduce the threat global warming poses to our health and wellbeing?


Voting Rights Questions for Candidates:

  1. Are you for or against restoring weekend and evening in-person absentee voting hours eliminated by Wisconsin Act 146 signed into law in March, 2014?  Please explain your position.
  2. Are you for or against laws requiring a government issued photo ID at the polls?  Please explain your position.
  3. Are you for or against laws which would limit or restrict voter registration efforts?  Please explain your position.
  4. Are you for or against laws requiring proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate to register to vote?  Please explain.
  5. Are you for or against allowing voter registration at the polls on election day?  Please explain your position.
  6. Are you for or against laws restricting voting for felons who have not completed their probation?  Please explain.


Campaign Finance Questions for Candidates:

  1. How much money do you need to raise to finance your campaign?
  2. What percentage of your campaign contributions come from outside your district?
  3. What groups or organizations are financially supporting your election efforts?
  4. The Citizens United v. FEC overturned a longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations funding elections.  It also gave them many of the same rights as citizens.  What are your views on this ruling? What action if any would you take, if elected, to support or reverse this ruling?
  5. The McCutcheon v. FEC decision equates money to free speech and allows one person or corporation to make unlimited contributions to candidates. Who are your top five contributors?  What do they expect in return for their support?


Public Education Questions for Candidates:

  1. This spring, 26 rural public school districts placed referenda on the ballot to help keep their doors open.  What role is the school funding formula playing in today’s school district budget problems?  What would you do to help financially-struggling school districts?
  2. How important are public schools to your community?  Please describe.
  3. Should taxpayer money be used to fund private schools?  Explain why or why not.
  4. There is general agreement that all schools receiving taxpayer money should be accountable to taxpayers.  Private schools do not have to share information about their operations.  They do not have to provide services public schools are required to provide.  And, they can be selective about which students to keep.   Do you believe that it is possible to hold private schools accountable, and if so, how?
  5. How would you respond to constituents who tell you they don’t want to pay taxes for public schools because they don’t have any school-age children or their children are attending private school?


Healthcare Questions for Candidates:

  1. What do you see as the economic benefits of ensuring all Wisconsinites have adequate healthcare coverage?
  2. What do you see as the benefits to our communities of making sure all Wisconsinites have adequate healthcare coverage?
  3. Under Wisconsin’s current Administration, Medicaid (BadgerCare) income eligibility is set at 100% of the federal poverty level.  If we were to increase our eligibility level to the 133% provided for in the Affordable Care Act, 120,000 more citizens would have healthcare coverage, Wisconsin would gain11,700 new jobs and we would recoup $2.6 billion dollars of our federal tax monies between now and 2016 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/missed_opportunities_medicaid.pdf).Do you believe we should bring our Medicaid eligibility up to the 133% provided for in the Affordable Care Act?If yes – Please tell us why?  (If answering “yes” to #3)  What do you believe you could do to influence other lawmakers to support your point of view?

    If no – Please tell us why not?  (If answering “no” to #3)  How would you increase access to healthcare coverage for those who do not have it?

  4. What is your opinion regarding women’s access to healthcare they and their doctors decide is necessary?
  5. How do you personally feel about the recent Supreme Court ruling in Hobby Lobby?

Question Background:  Key resources for HealthCare information:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) –  http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/index.html

  • How the Affordable Health Care law benefits you:


The Kaiser Family Foundation – Health Policy Research: http://kff.org/

  • Key Facts About the Uninsured Population:


  • Women’s Health:

Medicaid’s Role for Women Across the Lifespan:   http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/7213-04.pdf



SCOTUS – Hobby Lobby ruling:  http://kff.org/womens-health-policy/slide/womens-views-on-whether-contraception-mandate-should-apply-to-for-profit-companies-whose-owners-object/

The White Househttp://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform

  • Economic Benefits:




[Also see – Wisconsin Citizen Action’s Summary:   http://www.citizenactionwi.org/_missed_opportunities_and_the_consequences_of_state_decisions_not_to_expand_medicaid]


Open Government/Transparency Questions for Candidates:

  1. The technological advancements made in our society have dramatically increased access to information, yet we find ourselves still struggling with transparency in government.  What will you do to make government more transparent?
  2. What sources of information do you trust for accurate information when making policy decisions?
  3. The fast pace of change in the field of technology can make it difficult to stay ahead of the curve.  What steps will your office and other governmental offices take to keep up with technological change?
  4. What kinds of information do you believe should be readily accessible to citizens?
  5. There are countless citizens who do not have computers, the skills to use them or access to the internet.  What will you do to ensure that these citizens have access to information readily available to others in the state?


LGBT Questions for Candidates:

  1. There are more than 1,100 benefits, rights and protections afforded traditional marriage partners, but denied to same-sex couples.  What would you do, if anything, to correct this inequity?  (Human Rights Campaign)
  2. Do you think the state should recognize and protect the more than 500 marriages of same-sex couples who were married when US District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban on Friday, June 6, 2014?  If not, why not?
  3. Do you support same-sex marriage/marriage equality?  If so, why?  If not, why not?
  4. Do you think that it is fair for businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community?  If yes, why?  If no, why not?