Guide to asking candidates questions

ā€œIā€™m sorry but I'm not sure you answered my question exactly.ā€From a handout given by EmpowerTexans when they were here early this year:

Make your Legislator Commit!

1. Be politely professional, not friendly. You deserve definitive answers.

  • Politicians want an “exchange between friends” with constituents because friends don’t demand definitive answers. Have a politely professional exchange instead. Politely demand the information you need (the same applies to car salesmen!).

2. Ask “yes” or “no” questions.

  • Legislators will try to confuse you with details when answering open-ended questions.
  • Ex. – “Will you be a ‘yes’ vote on defunding the remaining $39 million of our state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood?”

3. Trust your gut about whether you’ve gotten a good answer.

  • You may get a good answer from the candidate, but to a slightly different question than you asked. These answers will seem okay to your brain, but your gut will tell you something is wrong. Trust your gut.

4. Repeat your question.

  • Say, “I’m sorry but I’m not sure you answered my question exactly.” Then repeat your question. Do this as many times as it takes until your candidate takes a firm “yes”, “no”, or “I’m not taking a position at this time.”
  • If the latter, politely say, “You make it hard to vote for you when you don’t take positions.”

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