Get Candidates on the Record: Key Questions to Ask

From climate change to renewable energy, nuclear weapons to food, find out where the candidates stand on the issues you most care about

Photo: Tim Rummelhoff

One of the best ways to elevate science in the midterm elections—and hold current and future legislators accountable for their actions—is to ask candidates key questions in public venues. (If you need help finding the nearest town hall meeting, you can visit Town Hall Project.)

Here are some crucial science-based topics and questions to consider. (And if you're from California or Washington state, check out a few additional questions at the end of the page!)

Nuclear weapons

The current president of the United States, as with all US presidents before him, has sole, unchecked authority over the use of US nuclear weapons.

Do you think it makes sense to put the power to start a nuclear war in the hands of any one single person, and would you support proposals to require other elected officials, such as the vice president and speaker of the House, to be part of the decision to use nuclear weapons?

Global warming

From rising seas to increased wildfires to droughts, communities across the country are facing the enormous challenge of protecting people and business from the devastating effects of global warming—and they’re doing it with insufficient resources.

How will you support these communities and their efforts to deal with the impacts of climate change? How will you reduce the risks of future warming?

Renewable energy

Wind and solar accounted for more than half of new electricity sources over the past three years, demonstrating that renewable energy can deliver reliable and affordable power to millions of homes and businesses across the United States.

How will you support the accelerated deployment of renewable energy and ensure we modernize our electricity grid to better accommodate this clean energy transition?


From farm to fork, our food system should be something we are proud of—one that makes healthy food available for everyone, supports farmers, and protects the environment we all depend upon. Yet the reality on the ground is different—too many people, including children, go to bed hungry. Too many farmers have lost their livelihoods. And our lakes, rivers, and streams are frequently polluted from farm runoff.

How would you transform food and agriculture policy so that here in my state, everyone has access to healthy food, our family farmers thrive, and our environment is maintained for future generations?


Transportation is one of the largest sources of global warming emissions in the United States. Vulnerable communities are disproportionally affected by the health effects of air pollution from vehicles. The current administration is in the process of weakening fuel economy standards for passenger cars and trucks—a program that has been our country’s most successful climate emissions reduction program.

Do you commit to supporting policies that cut transportation pollution in line with science-based goals? Will you support policies that will keep our existing strong fuel efficiency standards in place?

Protecting science

We depend on federal agencies such as the EPA and the FDA to use science to keep us safe and healthy. That’s why the attacks on science by both Congress and the Trump administration have real consequences on our local communities, especially those already facing greater risks to their safety.

Can I count on your commitment to support stronger congressional oversight of the administration’s efforts to cut science out of public protections and to oppose similar congressional attempts?

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Questions for candidates in coastal states

Hundreds of thousands of US homes are at risk of chronic flooding due to sea level rise over the coming decades, with profound implications for coastal residents, communities, and the economy. You can even see the number of homes at risk for every coastal Congressional district in the Lower 48.

How will you address the growing risks of sea level rise to coastal homes, residents, and communities in your district?

Questions for candidates in California

Congressional races: How will you defend California's right to set its own standards for vehicle fuel efficiency, tailpipe emissions, carbon emissions, renewable energy, and other policies critical to maintaining clean air, advancing technological and economic innovation, and keeping Californians safe from the impacts of climate change?

Governor's race: California is suffering from more deadly climate extremes—heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires, and sea level rise. Low-income communities and communities of color are especially hit hard by the impacts of climate change.

What is your vision and your specific plan for advancing California's leadership on climate change, and clean energy and transportation, to achieve our state's goals to reduce heat-trapping emissions as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act?

What are your specific plans to help our state and ALL of our communities prepare for climate change and invest in climate resilience for water, energy, transportation, and infrastructure?

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

Questions for candidates in Washington state

Washington State is suffering from more deadly climate extremes—heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires. Low-income, rural, and tribal communities, and communities of color are especially hit hard by the impacts of climate change.

What are your specific plans to help our state and ALL of our communities prepare for climate change and invest in climate resilience?

And what, specifically, are your plans for addressing forest management and wildfire funding?



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