One needs only to look at the changing of the leaves and the uptick in pumpkin flavor additives to know that fall is here. Another sure sign is the increase in politicians fanning out through neighborhoods looking for voters with whom to speak.
This year, we are encouraging our friends to plan ahead for their visit by coming up with a list of questions in advance to help you better decide if this person before you deserves your vote. Think about the issues that are most important to you, and jot them down. Then leave them somewhere close to the front door so that when the candidates come knocking, you are ready to ask them all the questions you had in mind.
If you would like some inspiration for questions you can ask, visit www.checkmylegislator.org to find out how your legislators voted on conservation issues. Or, take a look at some of the questions our staff and board members are asking the candidates.
1) Minnesota has already banned the toxic chemical Bisphenol A in baby bottles and sippy cups. Should it be banned in all children’s products?
2) Minnesota’s electronics waste recycling program only covers some televisions and computer screens. Should it be expanded to cover things like cell phones, iPods and other computer equipment?
3) Invasive species like zebra mussels and Asian carp are turning up in more and more of our lakes and rivers. What will you do to slow down the spread?
4) Minnesota now has constitutionally dedicated funds for clean water, habitat and wildlife, and parks and trails. Even in tough budget times, will you make sure that the money is spent for these purposes?
5) A new type of mining is being proposed near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters that will extract precious metals but produce toxic sulfuric acid. What should the state do to protect our water from this threat?
6) Some lawmakers have tried to roll back the progress we’ve made towards getting more of our energy from clean, renewable sources. Do you agree with them?
7) Homeowners along Lake Independence have been unable to stop one farmer from spreading manure all the way down to the shoreline. Now the lake has turned green from the pollution. Should the state’s laws be strengthened to stop this type of thing from happening?
If you decide to ask the politician on your doorstep one of these, or any other conservation minded question, and you get an interesting response, we would love to hear about it. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.