As part of South Maui Sustainability I recently volunteered to review the responses of many of our candidates on two issues important to sustainability groups. I am posting this blog so that many of you out there are inspired to do the same kind of evaluation using issues that are important to you before going to the voting booth!
This morning I started reviewing the responses and was surprised at how easy it was to evaluate the answers. The organizer of this effort, Melanie Stevens, had done a wonderful job of pulling the answers together in such a way that in most cases we couldn’t tell who the candidate was. So the results are quite objective. There were seven issues on the questionnaire and each reviewer only looked at one or two issues. Some of the issues had a couple bullet points. Just looking at the first issue that I was assigned (Land Use), I found that most of the candidates didn’t even address the issue much less the bullet points.
Our instructions were to grade each answer with:
- ++ Addressed most priority sustainability areas
- + Addressed some sustainability areas
- – Answers did not adequately address some key sustainability points
- — Survey answers are not aligned with sustainability goals.
- — Candidate did not respond to survey
I decided early on that I should just translate these to A-F grading scale; it was just easier to get my mind around. I also decided that I need some additional “tiebreaker” criteria. While many candidates didn’t address the question or describe “how” they would support things, some did demonstrate key attributes that are important. The tiebreakers I used were:
- ability to have new ideas
- ability to be visionary and demonstrate leadership
- basic knowledge and ability to think critically
The variety of answers was about as I would expect for busy candidates. Some were a brief 2-line responses and others were lengthy and included citing Land Use Plans and laws. Some included pointers to video that I have yet to figure out how to view. I was pleasantly surprised that the evaluation only took about an hour.
Don’t wait for the answers from me! I’ll let you know when the Sustainability groups publish their results. But think about what issues are critical for you and start truly evaluating what the candidates are saying. Look for answers that go deeper than political rhetoric. Saying you’ll support something is easy. Having true vision that will create change is much harder. Based on your own beliefs about the state of our economy and government, make objective decisions. I look at this much as I do hiring a staff member; our votes are hiring them! Please don’t vote for someone because they sound like a nice person. Choose the one that you believe will do the best job.
Most importantly, get out and vote. You are important enough and your voice needs to be heard.