Candidate Grading FAQ
Thank you for viewing our Candidate Evaluation FAQ page to learn more about our process behind issuing evaluations of our candidates for State Legislature and County Commission.
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 evaluations mean?
- Candidates generally supportive of the Billings Chamber’s positions
- Candidates neutral or lean non-supportive of Billings Chamber’s positions
- Candidates who formally declined to answer the survey
- Candidates who did not respond to the survey
What questions were the candidates asked?
- A copy of the Billings Chamber’s Candidate Questionnaires can be found here: State Legislative Candidates, & County Commission Candidates.
How much time were candidates given to answer the questionnaire?
- Candidates received the questionnaire via email shortly after the candidate filing deadline, with a deadline of 12:00am on March 31st. This gave the candidates around 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 link to the Chamber’s Strategic Priorities and Public Policy Guide. Candidates also had access to additional online and print resources if they chose to further investigate.
How were the candidates evaluated?
- Candidates were evaluated on their questionnaire answers, which were distributed to the members of the Chamber’s State & Federal and Local Government Advisory Boards. Each member graded answers individually and submitted those grades to be compiled and averaged with other members of the Advisory Board. Grades were 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 and Advisory Board discussion in which members had to defend their evaluations among peers.
- After discussion of the candidates, the Chamber Board of Directors approved the recommended grades from the Advisory Board.
Why weren’t candidate answers graded anonymously?
- Consideration was given to anonymous grading of answers. However, because answers may include previous legislative experience such as bill sponsorship, the Billings Chamber decided it would be disingenuous to claim anonymity when many Advisory Board members doing the grading may deduce which backgrounds belong to particular candidates.
How can I find each candidate’s answers?
- The Billings Chamber has hyperlinked each candidates’ answers on our Candidates 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.
Why did so many Republicans decline to answer?
- You can read the Yellowstone GOP response to our Chamber Questionnaire here.