Voters who want to know the answers to some burning questions but don't have a way to contact a candidate can find nonpartisan help on the Internet.
Available online are the answers that candidates for state and federal offices gave to questions by the League of Women Voters of Oregon Education Fund.
All candidates for an office were sent the same questions to help voters compare their answers. The questions and the answers are in the league's Voters' Guide, which is online at www.lwvor.org.
Questions were prepared by league members, and the answers are given exactly as candidates wrote them.
Questions for each office are:
U.S. Representative in Congress:
• What actions would you recommend to support congressional campaign finance reform?
• Should the president have broader powers during wars on terrorism? What is the role of Congress?
• How can the U.S. government balance the protection of our natural resources with the need for economic development?
• What improvements do you think are necessary to make the budget process more efficient and timely?
• What do you recommend to improve the quality of Oregon's educational system?
• What are your suggestions for making health care in Oregon more accessible and more affordable?
Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries:
• What will you do to ensure that Oregon workers are trained to meet the challenges of the global economy of the 21st century?
• What is your stance on funding for employee benefits such as health care and retirement?
• What do you think are the most important issues facing the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries in the next two years?
Superintendent of Public Instruction:
• How do you plan to address the federal mandates that impact the funding for and the quality of Oregon's schools?
• In your opinion, what are the key issues for educating the increasingly diverse population in Oregon's schools?
• What will you do to attract more and better-qualified teachers and to reduce the high turnover rate in our schools?
Judge of the Supreme Court and Judge of the Court of Appeals:
• Is the judicial system too complex and costly to be accessible to the ordinary citizen? If so, how would you change the system?
• What are the greatest challenges facing Supreme Court (Appeals Court) judges today?
• What is your vision for the future of our judicial system? What changes would you advocate and why?
The league also publishes easy-to-read voting guides for voters with low literacy. The guides are available in English, Spanish, large print, on the Internet and on audio. These only ask one question of candidates: "The top three things I want to do if I win."
Other information available to voters for the May 16 primary election include the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, mailed to each registered voter, which includes statements written by the candidates seeking support. Local League of Women Voters groups sometimes publish voters' guides on local candidates.
The League of Women Voters of Oregon is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. More information can be found on its Web site, www.lwvor.org.