Questions to Ask Elected Officials

You Can Shape the Debate in this Election

Tired of shallow slogans and superficial promises at election-tIme? Asking the right questions will encourage our political leaders to take stands on the really important issues––issues that are often ignored in the noise of modern campaigning.

There are many great opportunities for you, as a citizen, to ask public officials and political candidates questions. These opportunities appear every day, especially during election-time. For example:

  • Radio talk shows: Many shows allow call-ins. You can help shape the discussion by asking the right questions.
  • Candidate forums and debates: Ask candidates, incumbents and challengers, to take stands.
  • Civic and town hall meetings: Show up––and arm yourself with good questions about the big structural reforms our nation needs.
  • Web chats: You can make a difference by framing the debate.

8 Questions to Ask Your Elected Officials & Political Candidates


Federal Level––8 Questions to Ask Members of Congress and Candidates for President and Congress:

  1. Polls show most voters don't think government works. What would you do to FIX the underlying structures and systems that seem to be broken?
  2. Do you think eliminating obsolete laws, regulations and bureaucracies would help to reduce the federal budget deficit by cutting waste and saving time? And if so, how would you do it?
  3. A bipartisan reform group called Common Good has proposed creation of a federal Spring Cleaning Commission. This commission, which would be made up of experienced managers and independent citizens, would identity and work to eliminate outdated laws, regulations, and bureaucracies. Would you support creation of such a commission?
  4. Do you support the Simpson-Bowles plan to get our country off the road toward more debt and deficits? If you don’t support it, what’s your plan to bring down the budget deficit and the national debt?
  5. Do you think federal civil service rules make it harder to cut wasteful spending and to efficiently manage public agencies? If so, what would you do about it?
  6. To reduce cost and the time it takes to advance a medical malpractice lawsuit, a bipartisan reform group called Common Good has proposed taking these cases out of the regular court system and putting them into special health courts where expert judges would decide. Both President Obama and Governor Romney have endorsed the idea of specialized health courts. Do you support special health courts?
  7. One way to improve public education without spending more money is to cut the bureaucracy and red tape that makes it difficult for principals and teachers to do their jobs. How would you propose getting it done?
  8. Do you think government regulations are too complex and bureaucratic and, if so, how do you think they can be overhauled to allow people to make sensible choices?

State Level––8 Questions to Ask State Elected Officials and Candidates:

  1. Polls show most voters don't think government works. What would you do to reform the underlying structures and systems that seem to be a major cause of the problem?
  2. Do you think eliminating obsolete laws, regulations and bureaucracies would help reduce wasteful spending in state government? And if so, how would you do it?
  3. A bipartisan reform group called Common Good has proposed creation of a state Spring Cleaning Commission. This commission, which would be made up of experienced managers and independent citizens, would identity and work to eliminate outdated laws, regulations, and bureaucracies. Would you support creation of such a commission?
  4. Do you think every new state government program should have a maximum 10-year sunset provision so that it’s periodically reviewed to make sure it’s still working and needed?
  5. Do you think state and local civil service rules make it harder to cut wasteful spending and to efficiently manage public agencies? If so, what would you do about it?
  6. To help reduce the cost of health care and speed up medical malpractice cases, a bipartisan reform group called Common Good has proposed taking these cases out of the regular court system and putting them into special health courts where expert judges would decide. Both President Obama and Governor Romney have endorsed the idea of state health courts. Do you support this reform?
  7. One way to improve public education without spending more money is to cut the bureaucracy and red tape that makes it difficult for principals and teachers to do their jobs. How would you propose getting it done?
  8. Do you think government regulations are too complex and bureaucratic and, if so, how do you think they can be overhauled to allow people to make sensible choices?