Asking questions of candidates but not expecting answers

Here are 30 questions for candidates who are running for statewide office in 2018; which ones will be courageous enough to respond?

Photo by Richard Asinof

The 2018 political season has begun in earnest.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 11/27/17
Here are 30 questions to ask of candidates running statewide office in 2018. Getting candidates to answer them is the problem.
How will the problems ensnaring President Donald Trump over the investigation into potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 election play out in the 2018 election? How will the growth in diversity in Rhode Island’s population impact voting trends and participation? Will the emerging progressive wing of the state’s Democratic party be successful in changing the alignment at the State House in 2018?
Despite the growth of social media platforms, the ability to discuss and disagree about politics becomes more difficult, given the lack of face-to-face conversations and the preponderance of experts offering their insights. More and more, what gets said in face-to-face conversations are replays of talking points delivered on cable TV or talk radio, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
The case of Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, accused by numerous women of preying on them sexually when they were teenagers, tests the limits of partisan ideology – and lying.

PROVIDENCE – As the 2018 political season heats up in Rhode Island, with contested primary races for Governor and Lt. Governor and U.S. Senator, the biggest question, it seems, is how to ask questions that the candidates will be willing to answer.

Four years ago, in 2013, ConvergenceRI posed a series of questions to a number of candidates running for Governor, without success in getting any answer from the campaigns. [See link below to story in ConvergenceRI, “Profiles in obfuscation, not courage.”]

This year, instead, ConvergenceRI is simply asking the questions, in the hope that voters and community leaders and even news reporters will pose the questions of the candidates. Of course, there is still no guarantee that they will answer.

1. How much does your health insurance cost per month? How much do you personally contribute to pay for the plan? What is your deductible? What are the total of your out-of-pocket expenses?

2. Have you ever purchased health insurance through HealthSourceRI?

3. Do you believe that Medicaid recipients should have a work requirement attached to their benefits? Please explain your reasoning.

4. What is your strategy to reduce and prevent the number of overdose deaths in Rhode Island?

5. How would you seek to resolve the current Unified Health Infrastructure Project morass? Would you be in favor of suing or firing Deloitte?

6. Have you ever participated in a wellness program through your workplace? If yes, can you describe what you did?

7. Do you believe that climate change is a threat to Rhode Island as well as the nation and the world?

8. What would be your strategy to better protect the environment of Narragansett Bay?

9. How can Rhode Island do a better job in responding to the needs of the growing number of residents who are 65 years of age or older?

10. Are you in favor of the proposed merger of Care New England and Partners Healthcare in Massachusetts?

11. Can you name the locations of the 10 Health Equity Zones in Rhode Island?

12. Have you ever visited the Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls or Scituate?

13. What farmers markets do you shop at, if any?

14. Nearly 1,000 children a year in Rhode Island are newly poisoned by lead? What do you think should be done to improve enforcement of existing housing regulations to protect children and families?

15. How would you describe the health care delivery system in Rhode Island?

16. Do you see hospitals as an engine for economic growth and employment or a source of community health?

16. Are you in favor of the legalization of marijuana?

17. How would you define the innovation ecosystem in Rhode Island?

18. Are you in favor of the paid sick day legislation that was enacted this year?

19. What do you see as the appropriate response by government to protect residents from domestic violence?

20. What do you see as the brightest spot in Rhode Island’s economy?

21. How much more investment in affordable housing do you think is needed?

22. Do you believe that Rhode Island’s diversity is a strength or a weakness?

23. What is the greatest threat to Rhode Island’s economy?

24. Would you ever purchase Narcan at your local pharmacy?

25. [For Republicans] Would you invite President Donald Trump to Rhode Island to campaign for you? Why or why not?

26. [For Democrats] Would you invite former President Barack Obama to Rhode Island to campaign for you? Why or why not?

27. When was the last time you attended a Pawsox game at McCoy Stadium?

28. What is your favorite beach in Rhode Island?

29. When you get angry, how do you control your temper?

30. What was the most memorable book you read in the last three months?


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