When I talked to Kyle Roberts the other night I discussed how important communication was for me when I look at candidates and elected officials. It has been very exciting to see as Kyle has begun to implement some of my suggestions to open more channels of communication for the residents of House District 20. He is making more use of his blog (which he had before we talked) and he has added the option for residents to get his blog updates by email (or a variety of other means). As I have seen him implementing things I had suggested I realized that one of the things that voters can do in choosing a candidate to support is to test the candidates.
Go beyond reading what the candidates say and treat them like elected officials. If you like to ask questions or make suggestions to your representatives you should be doing that with the candidates. The key to representative government is citizen involvement – early and often. If we just vote and then stay out of the political process until the next election cycle the end result will be a government that is out of touch and out of control. It becomes dysfunctional like Washington D.C.
I like this discovery and I plan to make use of it in all races of interest to me in the future. I also like being able to follow the efforts of other people who are proactive in contacting candidates. Thad Van Ry provides a good example of that as he sent questions to the candidates for Senate District 23 (my senate district) and then posted their answers. (That is his intro to the series of answer posts.)