Member Statements on 2023-10-GR15: Amend the Electoral Candidate Questionnaire

This is a thread of member statements on the proposed resolution “Amend the Electoral Candidate Questionnaire

IN FAVOR by Kaiser F. (they/them)

IN FAVOR by Gary Z. (he/him)

The submitted endorsement questionnaire is thorough and detailed document which will provide members with adequate information needed to confirm or deny endorsement requests from the chapter. The document’s development was steered by our chapter’s Political Engagement Committee – a five member panel that helps to guide and synthesize political engagement with elected officials in our jurisdiction. The questionnaire covers topics relevant to active organizing across our chapter’s working group, and will screen or raise flags on thorny or difficult political positions that are sensitive to socialists. Particularly encouraging is the direct acknowledgement of bringing in local formations to propose and introduce additions to our endorsement questionnaire. The questionnaire should not be seen as the end all of our endorsement process, and further questioning of candidates and their commimtent to opposing the reign of capital should be investigated as candidates move through our endorsement process. But this proposal provides a good base-foundation for our electoral program.

IN FAVOR by Aparna R. (she/her)

I’m writing in favor of the updates to the questionnaire for electoral candidates seeking our endorsement. Our chapter has always had one of the strongest questionnaires across DSA chapters in the country, and it has played a significant role in growing and refining our political power in the region.

I’m excited to see standing updates for priority campaigns and as well as questions to clarify whether candidates’ other organizational relationships are in line with our values. But the part I’m most excited about is the expanding questions around governing post-election and a focus on creating a socialists-in-office committee to regularly meet with DSA-endorsed electeds across the region and proactively work with them on a legislative agenda. When we talk about candidate accountability, the focus tends to be on how we should act after a decision we disagree with is made, but our chapter is at a place where we should be moving towards more proactive engagement on issues to set policy priorities and talk through specific issues before votes come up.

IN FAVOR by Bakari Wilkins (he/him)

As an electoral organizer and member of the Political Engagement Committee I encourage everyone to vote in favor of this amendment to our candidate endorsement questionnaire. The updates to the questions reflect our values, and the changes to our questionnaire process make it easier to ask candidates specific, relevant questions about chapter priorities.

IN FAVOR by Carl R. (he/him)

I urge everyone to vote FOR this change to our candidate questionnaire. After a long process with large amounts of input from members across the chapter, this will make our questionnaire into an even better tool for evaluating candidates and will also tie our electoral work closer to our other campaigns. Adding space for priority campaign input that is responsive to changing organizing conditions year over year allows for us to deepen and build the cross-campaign successes we had in 2022 combining our electoral organizing with our tenant and public power organizing. With a proven model, this change to the questionnaire will make it easier to loop candidates into other struggles our chapter has given priority status to, and will make it easier to use our high quality, proven canvassing machine to better support campaigns when possible. This new questionnaire also takes in guidance from our 2023 convention, tying our electoral work into broader, national-level campaigns in the future. This strengthens both our chapter’s electoral work as well as DSA as a whole. I think this questionnaire represents a true step forward in our electoral work, and I’d like to thank everyone who provided their thoughtful input and helped improve our questionnaire.