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Citizens Agenda: Select your top five questions for candidates

CDN's reader-powered election coverage takes shape

By CDN Staff

At Cascadia Daily News, we’re aiming for “reader-powered election coverage” through a grassroots agenda-setting model known as Citizens Agenda. The goal is to have you, the reader, establish the framework for election issues, rather than candidates relying on their own “talking points” or personal agendas.

Citizens Agenda is a proven formula for shifting election coverage from traditional horse-race- and talking-points-style coverage favored by national media, to a reader-oriented focus. The goal is for publications to tailor their election coverage to meaningful local concerns. You can learn more about the Citizens Agenda process at thecitizensagenda.org. 

The mechanism: CDN since June 29 has been collecting candidate questions submitted by readers, answering the prompt: What do you want candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes?  

Armed with this information, CDN’s editor and reporters will put the chosen questions to candidates who participate in our endorsement process. We’ll also be asking the questions at public forums and other places to better focus the news reporting we do about the candidates.  

The response has been tremendous, with hundreds of submitted questions on a broad range of topics. The questions were lightly edited for clarity and repeated questions, or those of similar purpose, were consolidated into a single question. 

Candidates’ responses to the questions will be published in a CDN Voter Guide on Oct. 19. Since the responses are considered “on the record,” they will also be used to inform our editorial and news coverage of the races as the Nov. 8 midterm election approaches.

Click here to submit your top five questions

If you prefer voting by mail, pick up a copy of the Aug. 17 edition of CDN, vote on page A7, and mail to us.

Citizens Agenda Q&A

What happens if a candidate declines to answer our questions? 

A: We’ll submit the questions to all candidates in written form and publish their answers as received. If they decline to answer a question, the space will be left blank, indicating “no response.” 

What is the incentive for candidates to answer? 

A: It seems a small thing to ask for someone seeking to become or remain a public servant to answer simple questions from constituents submitted to the hometown newspaper. And non-responsiveness is not likely to help a candidate win an election endorsement from CDN, to say the least. 

When will your endorsements become public? 

A: CDN endorsements will be made in the Oct. 19 Voter Guide, a special section in our newspaper. This coincides roughly with the time when ballots for the general election will be mailed to voters.

What will be the basis for CDN endorsements? 

A: CDN is scheduling interviews with candidates for the U.S. 2nd Congressional District, state House Legislative District 40, Position 2; state House Legislative District 42, Positions 1 and 2; state Senate Legislative District 42; and District Court Judge, Position 2. (Because of the nature of the job, the judge’s position will require its own set of CDN questions, separate from the Citizens Agenda process.) 

Candidates will be provided with readers’ Citizens Agenda questions in advance. In our meetings, they will have an opportunity to elaborate on their answers, and also answer additional questions from CDN’s editorial and reporting staff. The newspaper will consider this entire process in choosing candidates who seem the best fit for positions in our readership area.

Where can I find all of CDN’s news election coverage to date? 

A: Go to cascadiadaily.com/news/elections.

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