Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Asking the Right Questions at a Candidate Forum

Here's a letter that provides a great strategy for posing questions at debates and public candidate forums. When a candidate fails to know their own campaign literature, well...we need to ask who is pulling the strings?

[ed note: This post refers to John Murtha, the Republican nominee for Wisconsin's 29th State Assembly District seat, NOT John "Jack" Murtha, the Democratic Congressman from the 12th Congressional District in Pennsylvania!]

I received a piece of campaign literature in the mail from John Murtha, so I went to hear Kerry Kittle and him debate Friday night in Glenwood City. He said in the debate that he's an honest, fair, hard-working guy. I think he probably is. The questions were good and we could ask some too. So I did.

I asked about the things that were listed in Mr. Murtha's literature. It says he'll lead the effort to create a Government Accountability Board and the Office of Inspector General, but when I asked what those were he didn't really know.

His literature says he supports spending limits on local government, but when I asked if he thought local governments were wasteful, he didn't think so. So why would he want to have the State impose spending limits?

His literature says he supports creating Health Savings Accounts so families have control over their health care dollars, but if I can't afford health insurance, how can I put away enough money to cover my health care needs? He didn't know.

When asked his opinion on school spending and shared revenue for schools, John Murtha said that all the school buildings in our County are new and the funding formula seemed okay to him.

On creating jobs and the economy, this Republican said less regulation is needed and government should be a friend to business. How much friendlier can you get than to reduce the tax burden to single digits while residential taxes increase every year?

By the end of the evening, I still thought the candidate probably is honest, fair, and hard-working. But if he lets the Republican Party talk for him in his literature, it's likely he'll vote the way they tell him to in Madison, too. We've had enough of that already--and enough of the Republican machine that churns out its cloned campaigns followed by a flood of soft money into a district.

Go to a debate or forum before you decide who to vote for and ask the questions that will reveal who created the talking points.

Bonnie Irwin, Wilson, WI,
Co-Chair, Democratic Party of St. Croix County

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