Last Friday (April 22) Black Lives Matter B-town released its assessment of those Democratic Party primary candidates who responded to a 12-part survey that included more than 30 individual questions.
Sent the questionnaire were Democratic Party primary candidates for the 9th District Congressional seat, area state representative seats, Monroe County circuit court judge, county sheriff, county commissioner, county councilor, and county recorder.
Sixteen total candidates wrote out answers to the questionnaire. It was designed to allow assessments of candidates in the categories of: Awareness, Position, Vision, Voices at the Table, Commitment & Effectiveness, Passion & Comportment.
Candidates were given five days to complete the questionnaire, which was sent on Friday, April 15. According to BLM B-town, the time constraint was a part of the assessment.
Several candidates did not respond to the questionnaire. BLM B-town wrote: “[C]andidates’ refusals to provide answers for this Voter’s Guide should remind us that the majority of the Bloomington political landscape is built to sustain anti-Black practices.”
Republican Party candidates were not sent the questionnaire.
Responding to a B Square question, BLM B-town core council member Jada Bee said the statement that typically accompanies the questionnaire reads: “This questionnaire only goes out to those in the Democratic, Green, Independent or Progressive party. All other party affiliations are not in alignment on basic principles with BLM B-town.”
According to BLM B-town their candidate assessments are provided to voters for informational purposes—they are not endorsements.
The assessments were released as three separate .pdf files:
- Assessments: Short form summary by BLM
- Assessments: Long form summary by BLM
- Verbatim questions and answers from candidates
The text of the questionnaire and links to the responses from individual candidates are included below.
BLM B-town 2022 Candidate Questionnaire
- How do you define Anti-Racism? Please try to use your own words and do not quote from a book or online resources. Additionally, how as an elected official would you apply anti-racism? Give specific examples in either your current policies as a seated official or in your candidate platform.
- How do you define privilege? How has privilege impacted decisions you have made as anelected official, or if you are running for the first time, as an engaged community member? If you are elected, how will you use your privilege to assist BIPOC communities?
- Given the history of the BLM Movement and the surge of support in 2020 after George Floyd was brutally murdered by police, the promised police and law enforcement reformed that ultimately has not happened; as well as the backlash against the BLM Movement we are currently seeing in media and politics; are you as a candidate or a current elected official a supporter of the BLM Movement & if so please articulate what that means in your own words? Give specific examples in your policy work or in your candidate platform.
- Given the American legacy of slavery, tyranny and discrimination against Black people Indigenous people and other people of color notably Asians & Latino/Latine people; do you believe that White Supremacy exists today in the US within the populous, our system of government, schools & education, etc… or in everyday life? IF so, please give as many examples as you think are necessary to elucidate that belief and if NOT please tell us why.
- To the best of your knowledge, describe why people of color are disproportionately targeted and arrested by the criminal justice system. What ideas do you have to make the justice system more equitable and impartial? What concerns do you have about the militarization of our police force? Name a specific issue in our community relating to the militarization of the police and how you have or would respond to it.
- What does restorative justice look like to you? What programs focused on restorative justice do you support or would you support as an elected official? How, give details?
- Would you support establishing a 311 number that connected people to emergency services and local organizations trained in handling crisis situations rather than the police? What should be done with individuals who make false reports to the police based on racial profiling or prejudice?
- Describe a society in which there are no prisons. How does that justice system differ from ours? What other aspects of culture would be different in a society without prisons?
- Given that the Food insecurity rate for Monroe County is 14.4% which is 32.1% higher than the national average what plans or ideas do you have for food justice in our community? Do you support land redistribution for the purpose of growing food? Do you support community based food programs that bring locally grown nutrient dense food to those in need? If so please detail those programs here.
- In what ways does food justice fit within wider social issues, ie economic, environmental or racial justice? Do you support allowing white supremacists in our local food/farmer’s market? If so, why? If not, how do you propose to remove them?
- Bloomington & Monroe County finds itself in an affordable housing crisis. How will you ensure more affordable housing in spite of the local government’s de facto mandate to maintain higher housing prices for tax revenue? Do you support density housing with priority given to people of color, people making under $30,000 a year, families with dependents, and people with disabilities? Specifically, please discuss non-student housing.
- Young students of color in particular Black students in Bloomington experience disproportionate rates of detention, suspension, and expulsion*. To the best of your knowledge, how does this problem contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline? Given that the Indiana Coalition for Public Education has released a report detailing the need for desegregation in Monroe County and a plan for creating greater equity, what are your thoughts on school desegregation in 2022 and what are your plans to help this process? * According to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, “black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. On average, 5% of white students are suspended, compared to 16% of black students.”
Links to Verbatim Responses
Links are set up to target the page of a single .pdf file where a candidate’s response starts.
THOMAS M. MCDERMOTT, JR. – United States Senator from Indiana: Did not respond
PENNY GITHENS – State Representative, District 062
BRAD SWAIN – State Representative, District 062: Did not respond
KURTIS J CUMMINGS – State Representative, District 046: Did not respond
MATT PIERCE – State Representative, District 061: Did not respond
MARY ELLEN DIEKHOFF Circuit Court Judge, NO. 5: Did not respond
HOLLY M. HARVEY Circuit Court Judge, NO. 6: Did not respond
ERIKA OLIPHANT – Monroe County prosecutor: Did not respond
JUDITH A SHARP – Monroe County assessor: Did not respond
RUBEN D MARTE – Monroe County Sheriff
ANGIE PURDIE – Monroe County Sheriff
JOANI STALCUP – Monroe County Sheriff
STEVE HALE – Monroe County Sheriff: Did not respond
TROY THOMAS – Monroe County Sheriff: Did not respond
DOMINIC THOMPSON – Monroe County Commissioner
LEE JONES – Monroe County Commissioner: Did not respond
AMY SWAIN – Monroe County Recorder: Did not respond
ASHLEY CRANOR – Monroe County Recorder: Did not respond
PETER J IVERSEN – Monroe County Council, District 1
KATE WILTZ – Monroe County Council, District 2
JENNIFER CROSSLEY – Monroe County Council, District 4
NICOLE BROWNE – Monroe County Clerk