Candidate Grading FAQ
Thank you for viewing our Candidate Grading FAQ page to learn more about our process behind issuing grades to our candidates for State Legislative Office.
The Billings Chamber would like to thank all of the candidates for submitting their questionnaire responses. More importantly, we thank all of the candidates for submitting their names into the ring of public opinion and running for elected office, an often thankless job.
What do the grades mean?
- Our grades provide a representative snapshot into a candidate’s platform, and are meant to inform our membership on whether a candidate compliments or conflicts with the Billings Chamber’s priorities. This grade in no way reflects a candidate’s character, but rather their alignment with Chamber priorities and demonstration of well-thought solutions for issues facing Billings.
- A = Actively supports the Chamber’s vision of business growth, displays deep understanding of issues, and demonstrates enthusiastic community leadership.
B = Aligns with the Chamber’s vision for business growth and understands issues while demonstrating potential solutions.C = Cannot be counted on to consistently support Chamber priorities, or only demonstrates general awareness of local issues.D = Likely to work against the Chamber’s vision for business.F = Opposes Chamber’s vision.
DNC = Did Not Complete questionnaire.
What questions were the candidates asked?
- A copy of the Billings Chamber’s Candidate Questionnaire can be found here (insert hyperlink later).
How much time were candidates given to answer the questionnaire?
- Candidates received the questionnaire via email on March 13th, with a deadline of 12:00am on March 31st. This gave the candidates over two weeks to read the Chamber’s Public Policy Guide, consult with Chamber staff or other community members about positions and solutions, and ultimately answer the questionnaire.
How did candidates know the Chamber Strategic Priorities and Public Policies?
- Candidates received a copy of the Chamber’s Strategic Priorities attached at the end of the Candidate Questionnaire and were provided a digital copy of the Chamber’s Public Policy Guide. Candidates also had access to additional online and print resources if they chose to further investigate.
How were the candidates graded?
- Candidates were graded primarily on their questionnaire answers, with exceptional scoring requiring Chamber policy agreement and well-thought solutions to issues facing the Billings community. Some consideration of demonstrable community leadership was also taken into account.
- Candidates’ questionnaire answers were distributed to the 10 members of the Chamber’s State & Federal Government Advisory Board. Each member graded answers individually and submitted those grades to be compiled and averaged with other members of the Advisory Board. To account for some variation between graders and eliminate outlier grades, the highest and lowest score for each candidate was eliminated, resulting in a more narrow range and more accurate average. Grades are discussed and debated by the Advisory Board (a peer review forcing Advisory Board members to provide reasoning for their grades), resulting in a recommendation to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Chamber’s Advisory Board is confident in the fairness of evaluations due to the process of averaging multiple evaluations, elimination of high and low outliers, and Advisory Board discussion in which members had to defend their evaluations among peers.
- After discussion of each candidate grade, the Chamber Board of Directors will approve or not approve the recommended grades from the Advisory Board.
Why weren’t candidate answers graded anonymously?
- Consideration was given to anonymous grading of answers. However, due to the relevancy of Question #1 (regarding candidate background info), and the conclusion that a candidate’s background matters (particularly leadership in the business community or a history of Chamber support while in office), the Billings Chamber decided it would be disingenuous to claim anonymity when many Advisory Board members doing the grading could deduce which background belonged to a particular candidate.
How can I find each candidate’s answers?
- The Billings Chamber has hyperlinked each candidates’ answers on our Public Policy page, alongside candidate contact info.
How was the Advisory Board selected?
- The Chamber’s Business Advocacy Department accepted applications through May 26, 2017 to fill new Local Government and State & Federal Government Advisory Boards. The Chamber Executive Committee recommended and the Chamber Board of Directors appointed the members of each board to serve a one- to two-year term, with applications accepted for open seats around June each year. The competitive application process brought many qualified applicants from the Billings business community, and resulted in the selection of exceptional business community leaders to each board.
Who sits on the Chamber’s Board of Directors?
- The Chamber’s Board of Directors can be found here, and consists of exceptional community leaders with a passion for the Billings business community.