The urgency of the climate crisis requires rapid changes at all levels. Educating candidates about the threats of and solutions to climate change so that they're well-informed is one of MiCAN's goals.
During the 2020 election season, MiCAN engaged in a Candidate Education project that we believe moved the needle for climate action. We developed a survey on climate and clean energy and sent it to all candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives. See our survey questions and the candidate responses below.
We also created and released three videos (see below) in the weeks before the election to educate Michiganders and candidates about climate and clean energy, to encourage people to vote, and to support Gov. Whitmer's climate action. We reached over 350,000 people in the weeks running up to the election.
Campaign Materials and Results
This is the survey sent out to all Michigan house candidates for the Primary and General Elections.
House Candidate Survey Results
We wrote our candidate questionnaire with input from the Michigan Climate Action Network steering committee and energy policy experts. We made the questionnaire into a survey on our website, and the link was only shared with the candidates. Before the primary election, we asked candidates to respond by July 20. For the general election, we asked that candidates respond by October 16. We also clearly stated on our questionnaire website, in our emails, and in our mailings that MiCAN does not endorse or oppose candidates.
We compiled a list of all the emails and phone numbers we could find for all of the candidates for the House of Representatives, using the list on the Secretary of State official candidate list. On July 2, we emailed the questionnaire to the candidate emails. On July 6, we then mailed a hard copy of the questionnaires to the 121 candidates for whom we did not have an email address, asking that they either fill out the questionnaire on the website or email their responses to the MiCAN Director’s email. We sent a text to candidate phone numbers on July 6 with a link to take the questionnaire. We then sent follow-up emails on July 15 and called all of the 382 candidates who had not yet responded on July 16. We left messages for 204, 166 candidates answered this call, and there were 12 numbers where there was no answer or the number failed. On July 20, we texted 359 candidates and emailed the 244 who all that had not yet responded with a final reminder to take the questionnaire.
By July 27, we had received 89 responses. We made these responses available on our website, shared them via email and social media, and shared them with coalition partners.
The week of September 27, 2020, we began reaching out by email, text, and US mail to all candidates on the general election ballot who did not respond to our survey. The week of October 11, 2020, we called every candidate who had not filled out the survey and either spoke with them or left a voicemail. We continued to update our results with any responses up to election day.