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"Are you willing to tell citizens where you stand on the issues?"

6 April 2012

Spring is a wonderful time. As the weather warms and the snow melts we can witness the emergence of things that have lain dormant over the cold, dark winter. It is in that spirit that Project Vote Smart is attempting to coax the truth out of politicians across the country as we try to get  their positions on important issues to emerge from their cozy, private hibernation.

After a long winter of research and collaboration with over 200 advisers, including journalists and political scientists, we have compiled our Political Courage Test. The Test, which asks candidates about important issues ranging from national to local significance, was recently sent to congressional candidates in IN, NC, WV, ID, NE, OR, AR, & KY with a due due date of April 25th. Candidates in TX, IA, MT, & NJ have more recently been mailed the Test with a due date of May 16th. Just so you know, to accommodate for the widely varying dates of state primaries, we mail candidates the Test (and make it available online) at varying times during an election year.

If you fall within the vast majority of American citizens who would like their candidates to take a stand on the issues, and let the public they're vying to represent know about it, you can help by contacting your congressman and letting them know that you want them to take the test (of course, if you need your congressman's contact info, we'd suggest looking them up on votesmart.org).

This year's Test covers a wide array of issues that are important to voters of all stripes. We ask the candidates to indicate proposals they have for balancing the the budget (or if they feel that is necessary at all). We ask them if they support federal spending, tax incentives, tax cuts, or other measures as means of spurring economic growth. We ask about their views on climate change, marriage, immigration , and whole lot more. It seems like we shouldn't have to send a questionnaire to our soon-to-be representatives in regards to these basic issues, but too often candidates hide their opinions (or lack thereof) in ambiguous campaign speeches and website blurbs.

If you're interested in more information about our Political Courage Test, you can visit votesmart.org (it's under the Elections and Candidates menu), send us an email at comments@votesmart.org, or call our toll free hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART. We'll keep posting updates on our Twitter and Facebook as well as on votesmart.org as we continue to send the test to more candidates. So stay tuned and stay involved and watch for the Political Courage Test coming to a state near you.
 

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