One of the many benefits of RPEN membership has been knowing where candidates in the Primary and General elections stand on issues important to all public employees.
In previous election years, we have published results from a questionnaire that was mailed to all candidates in the June primary. Long-time RPEN members may recall from past election years that only a handful of candidates usually took the time to reply to our questionnaire. It’s also become a practice that political party leaders have taken to recommending candidates not fill out questionnaires, which has led to a less than satisfactory response.
And so, RPEN is taking a different approach for Election Year 2018. There won’t be a “Candidate Questionnaire” this year, meaning we won’t have our usual insert before the June 12 Primary. Instead, once the candidate filing period closed March 16, RPEN mailed a letter to each candidate in legislative and constitutional races to serve as an introduction to RPEN, who we are, who we represent and what we stand for. Then, once the primary is over, we can make a one-on-one connection through our normal interview process that takes place in August in the north and south. In 2016 we interviewed nearly 50 candidates and most of the candidates at the time, including many who won their race in November 2016, told us they’d support our issues. Unfortunately, several of them broke their promise, and rest assured if they seek re-election this year and win their primary, we will seek another interview, and we will hold them accountable for broken promises. And then, in our newsletter that will publish before the November 5 General Election, we will tell you how the candidates you’ll be voting for replied to our interviews. Our Legislative/Insurance Committee, chaired by Gaye Johnston from our Churchill Chapter, will be preparing a list of legislative issues we hope to accomplish in the 2019 legislative session, and these will also be put to each candidate that agrees to talk one-on-one with us in August.
So while we won’t have the usual “Candidate Questionnaire” this year, rest assured we will still be giving you the information you’ll need when you make your decisions in November. RPEN is not, and never will be, a group that endorses candidates. What we can be counted on, however, is to educate our members in all things that impact you as a current, or retired public employee.