The KBOO Citizen's Agenda: Election 2020

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The results are in! This month, we asked our community to respond to a survey about what they care about most this election season. The survey centered around one simple question: what do you want candidates to be talking about as they compete for votes?

There are a lot of issues at stake in the 2020 election, and it can feel overwhelming to tackle. We will be focusing on what our audience needs to know in order to make an informed decision this November.

Our survey respondents offered us a lot of different themes they thought were important for candidates to address, but six major themes stood out.

1. Addressing Police Brutality 

This includes mentions of ‘defunding the police’ and police reform. A summer of protest against police brutality in Portland has borne more brutality against citizens. A great number of survey respondents told us that addressing police brutality is one of their major priorities. We will press candidates on this issue and ask what they envision to be the best path forward. 

2. Racial Justice

Racial Justice has been at the center of the protest movement in Portland and around the country. Our audience consistently brought up the importance of racial justice, the Black Lives Matter movement, addressing white supremacy, pushing for reparations and an equitable future for all. We will ask, how will candidates address white supremacy in governmental structures and work to forward the cause of racial justice? How do measures on the ballot this November work to address racial inequities in Oregon and Southwest Washington?

3. Climate Crisis

Recent wildfires in our region on an unprecedented scale have ignited renewed concerns about the impending climate crisis. Concerns about the environment, clean air and water, and the future of forests are all aspects of the climate crisis that our community wants to hear covered. When we talk to candidates, it will be important for us to press them on how they can use their office to avert the climate crisis. When we examine ballot measures we will look at how they impact the fight for climate justice.

4. Healthcare

Concerns about coronavirus and how to manage its spread, as well as a desire for healthcare reform, were echoed by a lot of our survey respondents. The ongoing threat of the pandemic has kept the flaws in the American healthcare system at the forefront of many of our minds. How can we use government to better care for the health of people in our communities? 

5. Housing and Houselessness

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, housing issues in Oregon and Southwest Washington was on the agenda for many local races. Since the pandemic, the need for housing and a fair way to get it have become even clearer. Housing issues that our audience mentioned included rising rates of houselessness, rising rents, and coronavirus eviction bans. State and local officials must address this fundamental issue as they campaign this fall.

6. Income inequality

Helping out working people and addressing income inequality, be it through economic relief or through holding wealthy corporations accountable, were another major theme for our audience. Unemployment benefits proved to be a lifeline for many, even as corporations received a large share of the bail out money from COVID-19. We will ask candidates about how they can use their elected office to fight income inequality, and we will push proponents of various ballot measures to do the same. What impact will this law have on working people?

While the sweepstakes end at the beginning of October, this is a living document, and as new issues emerge this election season, we will update the priorities of our listeners.

Vision Statement:

Our election coverage will center around our community — we want to know what our listeners are curious about this election season and make sure they are informed on where candidates stand. We will be using feedback from our listeners to shape our coverage. The issues that are important to our audience will be the bedrock of our reporting as Election Day approaches. That helps our team focus on the crucial reporting for our community and allows our audience to compare candidates on a common set of criteria. While we don’t know exactly what November will bring, we do know that informed voters are critical to our democracy and we want to do our part. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email us at newsdirector@kboo.org.