Late last week, Equality Kansas mailed questionnaires to all declared candidates for the Kansas Legislature, United States Congress, and the Kansas State Board of Education. At the time of this post, we have already received over two dozen completed questionnaires in email and snail-mail. Of the 384 candidates to whom we sent questionnaires, we expect to see approximately half completed and returned by the July 6 deadline.
Our questionnaires, downloadable samples of which are at the end of this post, serve a few purposes.
First and foremost, they are used by Equality Kansas’ affiliated political action committee, the Kansas Equality PAC, as one part of the evaluation process in making endorsements.
Second, they help our government affairs staff and volunteers get to know the views of those running for office. This knowledge is useful after the election, as it gives us some guidance on who may be most open to working with us on our legislative agenda.
Third, and somewhat serendipitously, they serve as an informative tool for the candidates. Since we began endorsing candidates in the 2006 election cycle, our questionnaires have evolved both in the questions we ask and in the background information we provide for each question. We learned that many candidates for public office in Kansas are unaware of the many hurdles LGBTQ Kansans face in enjoying our civil rights. Every election cycle, we hear from candidates – and even some long-term incumbents – that reading and answering our questionnaire gave them new insights into our community.
Candidates and voters often ask if we publish questionnaire responses. While we can’t promise confidentiality, our policy is not to share responses publicly. We have found that candidates are more willing to ask us questions and give more honest answers when they know we won’t be posting their responses on our website.
If you are a candidate for any of the offices we are evaluating and have not received a questionnaire, please let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get a duplicate questionnaire sent to you immediately.