Mary Dixon: Well the Windy City is never windier than during campaign season. The candidate's for Chicago mayor are kicking their rhetoric into high gear ahead of the city wide elections on February 28, but we want to hear what you think the candidates for mayor should be talking about and that's why we're launching in what we call "The People's Agenda." WBEZ's engagement editor, Alex Keefe joins us to tell us more. Good morning Al.
Al Keefe: Good morning Mary, how are you?
Mary Dixon: So I want to know more about this people's agenda project, how's it going to work?
Al Keefe: So, WBEZ the Chicago Sun-Times and the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics are partnering on this project. And it's really simple, it's just a two question survey that helps our journalists know what issue Chicagoans care most about. You can take the survey and WBEZ.org/chicagoelections and don't worry, I will say that address a bunch of times in the next couple of minutes. It's basically two questions and some info about yourself, you know, we want to know what matter what issues matter to you the most. And if you could ask a question to Chicago's next mayor, what would it be? So we'll analyze what people tell us is and then we're going to use that to inform our campaign coverage leading up to the vote on February 28th.
Mary Dixon: Why should wee cover election's this way?
Al Keefe: I think there's two big reasons. One is obviously just accountability to voters. You know, candidates have their issues and their talking points, which may or may not be what your issues are, what you care about the most. And our goal is to shake that up here. To bring issues to the forefront that maybe aren't getting talked about as much to frame, you know, popular issues in ways that people most care about. I can tell you right now, we have lots of questions already in our 400 plus responses about crime and public safety. No surprise there, but we're seeing more questions than I would have thought about rats and pest control. I've covered politics for a long time in Chicago. That's not a traditional campaign talking point for candidates for mayor. Second reason is to make journalism really that's useful to you, voters and Chicagoans and to elevate your voices. You know, as of this morning, there is at least nine candidates on the ballot for mayor, including incumbent Lori Lightfoot. That's a lot of people and you're probably busy doing other things in your life. You probably don't have time to research where they stand on all the things you care most about. So we want to provide actionable practical information that helps you decide who you're going to vote for. And that's what the survey helps us do.
Mary Dixon: So how will you do that? Once you have all these questions and ideas from Chicagoans, what happens next?
Al Keefe: So we've got a bunch of stuff. So first off, we'll come back here in a couple of weeks and report back what we heard the top issues, some of the best questions we got. And then we're going to make a bunch of journalism to to help you make sense of this race. The week of February 6th, we'll be hosting mayoral candidate forum's broadcast on reset or midday talk show. Those are going to be driven by questions we hear from you in our survey, we also have a candidate questionnaire digital tools that's going to include answers to some of the questions we heard most from the candidates themselves. You can find that on our website. We'll have an emailed newsletter to unpack some of the issues people talked about the most. You can sign up when you take the survey again, WBEZ.org/chicagoelections. And I know the Chicago Sun-Times editorial Board is also planning a series of editorials on these issues. These are just some of the things we're working on.
Mary Dixon: So one time if people want to get involved and we do want people to get involved, how can they do that again?
Al Keefe: Just go to WBEZ.org/chicagoelections to take the survey. Just takes a couple minutes. Then you can go back to your Coffey, whatever you're doing this morning. You can also find a link there to take this survey in Spanish. And as of this morning, like I said, we have 400 plus folks who responded and we really, really want to hear from you. So hopefully we'll report back in a couple of weeks on what you told us.
Mary Dixon: Okay, it's an exciting project. We really want everyone to get involved, and that's WBEZ's engagement editor Alex Keefe. Thanks Al.
Al Keefe: Thanks Mary.
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