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Questions to Ask Candidates Running for Office
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Questions to Ask Candidates Running for Office

A collection of questions to ask candidates at forums and other events. This document is a work in progress.
Overview of Questions
This table includes all questions. Use this as a source for inspiration when talking with candidates or working on a candidate forum.
If you are organizing a candidate forum, use the “Vote Up” and “Down Vote” feature to narrow down the questions to be asked of candidates.
All Questions
7
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Category
Question
Positions Table
Downvotes
Upvotes
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Goals / Vision
12
What are the most pressing issues in the office you are seeking?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What are your goals for the office?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What do you plan to accomplish in your first 30 days? In your first 90 days?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What do you see as the [name of elected office]’s primary role?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What do you think is the most important skill of being a good [INSERT NAME OF POSITION]?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Assess the recent performance of the [INSERT NAME OF OFFICE] and, if elected, would you keep it on the same direction or change course?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What is biggest need of the [INSERT NAME OF POSITION] now and what would you do to fill that need?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Given existing budget constraints, how would you would stretch taxpayer dollars and still [INSERT GOAL, example: OFFER SERVICES, DETER CRIME, ETC]?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What is the number one crime related issue that needs an immediate plan of action from the next [POSITION]?
Sheriff
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How can we hire the best? How do we attract really good applicants?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
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What would you say the [INSERT POSITION NAME] position entails?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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How would you describe your management style?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
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About the Candidate
10
Why are you running? (Why did you decide to run?)
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Why should voters cast their ballot for you?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Why are you the best person for the job?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What distinguishes you from other candidates?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Describe an ethical dilemma you’ve faced. How did you resolve it?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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How would you maintain and safely store your firearm?
Sheriff
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What endorsements have you received?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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How are you funding your campaign?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What civic organizations or non-profits have you been an active member of in recent years?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Experience
6
Describe your experience.
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
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Have you ever held public office before? If so, what, where and when?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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What experience do you have with large budgets? How are you equipped to handle a budget as large as {INSERT INFORMATION ON BUDGET SIZE]?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
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What job experience do you have?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Do you have previous political experience? Have you run for or ever held elected office?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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How have you dealt with challenges in past positions?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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Position
12
What’s your position on judicial activism?
District Attorney
Sheriff
Judge
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When becoming a judge, which is more important: the number of cases you’ve handled as an attorney or the type of cases you’ve handled?
Judge
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How will you handle increasing mental health and substance abuse calls?
Sheriff
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School shootings have parents, school districts, and law enforcement agencies looking for ways to ensure schools are always safe. What plans do you have when it comes to school safety? What policies would you enact and why?
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
District Attorney
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How will you work to make officers better suited to handle individuals with mental illnesses?
Sheriff
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Do you think incarceration rates are too high or too low in our area? How would you work to keep incarceration rates down?
District Attorney
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Would you be willing to open the {INSERT SPECIFIC POLICY, BUDGET, OR OTHER MEANINGFUL ITEM} to the Public?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
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What’s the number one challenge facing the next [INSERT POSITION] when it comes to management of the department and working with [INSERT OTHER OFFICE, like CITY COUNCIL or COUNTY BOARD]?
District Attorney
Sheriff
Mayor
City Council
School Board
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How can the [INSERT POSITION] have an impact on the opioid and drug problem in the region?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
Mayor
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Should [INSERT NAME OF REGION] be a sanctuary [INSERT TYPE OF REGION, like CITY or COUNTY]?
City Council
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How would you pick your staff?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
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How would you handle a situation if a subordinate was believed to have committed a crime?
District Attorney
Sheriff
City Council
School Board
Mayor
Judge
Vote Down Question
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