The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and Hinckley Institute of Politics will produce a series of 2016 election products that will help Utah voters make informed decisions.
Called “Informed Decisions 2016,” the collaboration will identify the most important issues on voters’ minds, analyze these issues, and host candidate conversations to engage and inform the public. The University of Utah institutes will deliver a series of “Election Briefs” and “Candidate Conversations” to be shared this fall.
“This year will be a banner election year in Utah with key races for governor, U.S. Senate, four congressional districts, and nearly 90 percent of the Utah Legislature,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics. “By combining data-driven analysis with in-depth, personal conversations with candidates, the voting public will be well served.”
As part of Informed Decisions 2016, the Gardner Policy Institute will host a series of focus groups to identify important issues affecting the state and probe participants about public policy options. These focus groups will include a random selection of Utahns, as well as business, community, non-profit and government leaders. A rural Utah focus group will also be conducted in collaboration with the Center for Rural Life at Southern Utah University.
“Our intent is to engage the public and learn what’s on their minds,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the Gardner Policy Institute. “We will then ask candidates about their approaches to the most important issues of our day – education, tax policy, infrastructure investment and other vital issues impacting Utah.”
Informed Decisions 2016 will include several Election Briefs that explain why an issue is important, what was learned from the focus groups, what the data teaches us about the issue, and what are the policy options for consideration.
The Candidate Conversations will be hosted at the iconic and newly restored Wall Mansion on South Temple Street. Plans call for these discussions to be hosted “town hall style” similar to the widely popular CNN Town Hall format hosted by Anderson Cooper. These fall conversations will be facilitated by Jason Perry and open to the media.
“Elections are about the future and the ideas that will propel our state forward,” said Perry. “We’re excited to combine the energies and talent of both the Hinckley Institute and Gardner Policy Institute to engage the public, analyze issues, convene candidates, and ultimately, help the public make informed decisions.