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Two weeks before election, we break down the most important issues to you

A word cloud compiles the most popular keywords that were submitted to a form asking questions about the upcoming election.
Matthew Peddie
WUSF Public Media
Some of the most common issues that form respondents want addressed in this election cycle.

Over the past few months, hundreds of residents in the greater Tampa Bay area have filled out a form where they shared the issues most affecting them.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with political reporters, to answer your questions about the upcoming election.

The general election is two weeks away and this election season, WUSF Public Media has been doing things a bit differently from other news media — focusing on the issues rather than talking points, and listening to you.

Over the past few months, hundreds of residents in the greater Tampa Bay region filled out a simple form where they shared the issues most affecting them. It’s not scientific. Instead, it was a chance to amplify the voices of people who don’t usually have a voice in the media.

We call it the Citizens Agenda.

RELATED: What issues matter to you in the 2022 election?

Issues that people who participated in the Citizens Agenda said were important included the economy, inflation, climate change, gun violence, civil rights, democracy and voting access and housing.

The issue that emerged time and time again -- particularly with respondents from18 to 29, most of whom are college students -- was abortion and reproductive rights.

Host Matthew Peddie talked with a panel of journalists to understand about how some of these issues factor into the campaigns and candidates in the midterm elections.

Mitch Perry covers politics and government for the Florida Phoenix. Ana Ceballos is the state government reporter for the Miami Herald. And Sergio Bustos is USA Network Florida Politics and Enterprise editor.

RELATED: Democracy 2022 coverage

But to start the show, we’ll talk more about the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, as Southwest Florida continues the long process of recovery. For some insights into what the future may look like for the hardest hit communities, Host Matthew reached out to Bay County. Four years ago, the Panhandle took a direct hit from a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Michael.

Donna Pilson is the executive director of Rebuild Bay County. The organization is focused on the long term recovery of the region, and Pilson helps steer the response effort of more than 70 nonprofit and faith based organizations.

She says the initial focus was Hurricane Michael recovery- and that’s still happening- but since then she’s also helped connect residents with resources after other disasters- hurricanes, wildfires and the pandemic.

You can listen to the full conversations by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.”

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.