Eye On Illinois: Have your say on questions for 2022 candidates

If it matters to you, it matters to us.

That slogan guided many morning meetings and reader interactions back when I was part of an independent newsroom, and the ethos remains even in the larger context of the Shaw Local News Network.

It’s often easy for hometown reporters to understand issues of the day, but broadening the scope sometimes comes at the cost of clarity. One of the assets newsroom collaboration delivers is an increased ability to leverage resources, which brings me to the Local Election Reader Survey. Our editorial staff devised the project as a means of making sure the questions reporters put to candidates truly reflect matters of importance to their intended constituencies.

Politicians are skilled at framing debate. It’s understandable to focus on personal strengths or opponents’ perceived weaknesses, but often this allows them to avoid talking about the actual mechanics of doing the job they seek. How will they turn their ideas into legislation? Do they think those proposals can pass or get signed? How will they fund their initiatives?

A personal concern is candidates whose stump speeches focus on areas the office they seek can’t effectively address. This could be a county board candidate complaining about tollway maintenance, a state lawmaker hopeful who always wants to argue foreign policy or even a school board member who thinks getting elected will give them the power to fire individual teachers or coaches.

Although more than 1,500 readers have already completed the survey — — it remains open as an option for telling us your top priorities in races for state and county offices, by ranking the top three priorities from a lengthy list via dropdown menu, as well as a couple of questions about COVID-19 response and your likelihood of voting.

There also are a couple of text boxes to input anything the survey doesn’t address, such as the meat of this email a Magnolia resident sent me last week:

“I would appreciate it if, as the primaries draw closer, you would list whether the Republican candidates for office are (or are not) pro Trump (I’m not). That information would help me to be a more informed voter.”

When it comes time for GOP voters to delineate between primary opponents, often in crowded fields, it will indeed be useful to know who does and does not buy in to partisan narratives about the 2020 election as well as the events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. The ability to speak frankly about those topics sheds significant light on how a candidate might perform as an elected official.

Your priorities may differ, so we continue to seek input on what matters to you — it matters to us.

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at

Scott Holland

Scott T. Holland

Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at