Questions for new candidates
In preparing for 2018, a political year in Arkansas, there seem to be a plethora of new, fresh faces eager to announce they are running for political office in 2018.
So, who are these people? And, more importantly, what exactly do they stand for and hope to accomplish?
The upcoming political year will see all 100 seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives up for re-election; there will be at least 10 and maybe up to 12 of the 35 state Senate seats on various ballots around the state.
All seven of the constitutional offices (governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, et al) are up for voters to decide who to renew and who to remove from office. Plus, there are county judges, sheriffs and all the assorted county offices and members of the local quorum courts to decide.
But let us not focus so much on the offices open for these elections but on the announced candidates out there.
And please, gentle readers, focus on the word “announced” candidates.
Each and every election cycle, there are many new generational politicians from the generations after all of us baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) who seem to think it is OK to announce for a political office and then lose interest and not file the paperwork and pay the required fees. Well, it is not.
Many of these announced candidates are still buoyed by the 2016 election results or angered by those same results.
Nothing disappoints me more than to hear an “announced” candidate, say for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives down in Little Rock, talk mostly about federal issues that can only be taken care of in Washington, D.C.
One candidate for the state House recently spoke of wanting to “stop the efforts to repeal Obamacare.” Another wanted everyone to know he favored the Second Amendment. Those are federal issues — issues that are not typically on the legislative plate for state Representatives going down to Little Rock to serve the district back home.
That brings me to a simple set of questions you as voters should ask all these announced candidates in the next election cycle:
• Do you currently have a job? Or is running for office, your next full-time employment option?
• Are you actually planning to file as a candidate and have you raised sufficient funds to run a political race?
• Where in the district do you actually live? Are you familiar with all the cities, towns and communities in the legislative district you seek to represent?
• What jobs have you held outside of running for elective office?
• Have you been voting on city, school, regional and county issues over the last few years? How long have you been a “regular” voter?
• Tell me, as a complete stranger, why I should send you down to Little Rock to be my state representative or state senator?
• Have you hired a political consultant and do you have other “paid” professionals on your campaign staff?
• Have you given any thought to the time and effort that it takes to be a state representative or state senator?
• Before I give you a pledge to consider you for my vote; can you tell me to whom you have in the past pledged your votes in previous campaigns and why you wanted those particular individuals to win?
• And lastly, have you been active in your local political party and how long have you been active in politics?
Maybe if more questions were asked before voting, we might not have so many elected officials that strangely get into office and truly don’t have a clue as to what they are doing?
Political season is just around the corner.