MVP Election Fact Sheet: How Do I Research a Candidate?
Last week, we released an in depth look at how to make an informed decision when making your decision at the polls on November 2nd. This week, we want to zero in on a specific part of the process; research. I know what you’re thinking, research isn’t the most appealing, but it is integral in the process of choosing a candidate. Follow our guide to finding the most important information about each candidate:
Consult our full candidate list
Firstly, it is important to know who is running for each position. MVP has put together a full list of everyone running for each of the positions, including First Selectman, Board of Selectmen, Town Clerk, BET, and more! Read the full list here: https://www.myvotingpower.org/post/mvp-election-fact-sheet-who-s-on-the-ballot
DTC and RTC Bio
After identifying all the candidates and their parties, the next step is to get baseline information. My first stop is the DTC and RTC websites. Each party’s website has a full list of their slate of candidates as well as short bios for each candidate. This gives you some general information about their past positions, history in town, and more. You can get a good understanding of who the candidate is and details about their career here.
Visit the Town Committee websites to read more: DTC- https://www.greenwichdemocrats.org RTC- https://www.greenwichrtc.com
Example: On the homepage of the RTC website, we see Lauren Rabin running for Selectwoman. When I click on her photo and see a short bio. I learned that she is running for her second term, she grew up in Greenwich, and a bit about her goals for the town moving forward.
Website (if they have one)
Many candidates also have their own websites with more information about their policies, stances, and personal history. Not all candidates have their own website, but a quick Google search will bring up their site if they do. A website will give you a more in depth look at the candidate. Oftentimes, they even have a page dedicated to their stances on different common issues in town. You can get a great feel for a candidates’ priorities and values from how they present themselves on their own website.
Example: Kathleen Stowe is a Democrat running for Board of Education. I found her website after doing a quick search for her name. On her site, Stowe has information about her life and her family, her professional career, her community involvement, and most importantly: a statement about why she is running. All of this is easy to find on her site and from her own perspective, providing good insight into what she prioritizes in her position.
One route I like to take when researching candidates is to do a simple search of their name and see what news articles pop up. This is most effective for incumbent candidates, to see how they performed in their last term. You can even search candidates within publication websites, like the Greenwich Time and Greenwich Sentinel. This will help you understand public perception and maybe get some information that the candidates don’t want to disclose themselves.
Another resource: The League of Women Voters put together their annual voters guide, with great information about each candidate at a glance. Here is the link to view the document: https://lwvg.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=784813&module_id=491207
Example: I navigated to the Greenwich Time website and searched up ‘Fred Camillo,’ current First Selectman running for reelection. Many articles popped up about his response to COVID-19, his vision for the future, his policy, and more. Browsing these articles gave me a good idea of his priorities during his term and how he made decisions when faced with unprecedented issues.
Social Media can be a great way to gain a good understanding of a candidate's policy and vision for the town. A much more casual platform, candidates repost articles, write more organic content, and share photos and videos from their campaigns. This can be a great way to see what issues a candidate does or does not support, how they interact with their potential constituents, and give you a more personal look into their campaign.
Organizations all over town are hosting events this election season to help you get to know the candidates. The League of Women Voters and Round Hill Association are both hosting a series of debates in anticipation of the election. This is another great way to have a chance to make your voice heard in front of those running for election. Visit their websites to learn more.