Shoshone City Council member, 12-year Shoshone mayor, Four-term Idaho
operate a trucking business, buys and sells hay. Owns a small ranching
Why run: "I
always lecture kids that they need to get involved in the community, and
this is my way of getting involved. My experiences—in business, local
government and having kids in the local school system in Idaho—give me
a view that helps for our local district."
Five-year volunteer coordinator for The Nature Conservancy’s Thousand
Springs Festival, Division chair for Physical Education Association, a
20-year Idaho teacher
Owns and operates a 60-acre Gooding tree farm with husband, Lew Pence
"I’m basically running because we need a more involved,
responsive legislature in the (south district) position. I have the
time, energy and organizational skills to accomplish that."
Express Staff Writer
second time in two years, District 25 Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone, is
facing a Democratic challenger.
teacher Donna Pence, D-Gooding, is attempting to take the House seat
away from the four-term incumbent, who prides himself for working on
behalf of education, family farms and private property rights.
60, has lived in Idaho since she was 6, and this is her first attempted
foray into the political arena.
her campaign focuses on securing and protecting education funding,
decreasing the number of teens and young adults who are suffering from
drug and alcohol problems, managing natural resources properly and
protecting water quality.
candidates appear similarly aligned on some issues.
who has lived in Idaho since he was six months old, said his most
important platform planks are improving education, supporting small
businesses, empowering local governments, working for clean water and
preserving private property rights.
differences are in the details.
who said she knocked on 3,000 doors campaigning this summer, said she
believes she can outwork Ridinger and bring more energy and enthusiasm
to the south-district position.
"has done an adequate job, but people deserve better than
adequate," she said. "I have the time and energy, and I think
I will bring a lot of energy to the position. It’s a big district, and
it will take a lot of energy to cover it. You need to get out and make
Ridinger said his 20 years of experience in local and state politics
give him an edge Pence can’t match.
district is still a rural district, and since reapportionment, there
will be more urban legislators," he said. "My experiences will
help us address our own unique problems."
also said there is a need for more balance in Idaho that can be achieved
by electing a candidate with a "D" after his or her name.
a democracy, the ability for one party to challenge the views of the
other is very important," she said. "You need to have open
discussions for the people. As far as Republicans are concerned, I guess
there are conservative and more moderate ones. But I think the one-party
politics in Idaho leads to bad decisions, because you don’t
necessarily represent the entire state."
regulations, a hot topic in the southern district, Ridinger is more
permissive than Pence.
need to work with them," he said. "The dairy industry is big
business. For years, our local governments have encouraged dairies to
come, and they’re still a big tax base. I don’t think we should
over-regulate the dairies out of business. We need to be careful and not
just pass regulations out of emotion."
the other hand, said large dairies in the southwestern district are
taking over the winds and waters.
Wendell, it doesn’t matter which way the wind blows," she said.
"People feel they’re being economically hurt. We have to set
standards and enforce them, set the standards so they are effective in
measuring the pollution.
not anti-dairy. I’m pro-quality-of-life."
candidates appear committed to Idaho’s schools.
20-year Idaho teacher, said that in talking with prospective
constituents this summer, "education seems to be important to
want to make sure they’re kids have a good education," she said.
"And not only are they concerned that their children get a good
education, but they’re worried that corporations will look at Idaho’s
schools and not come here.
will do everything in my power for education, so that the funding is
part, Ridinger said there is a lot of truth to Pres. George W. Bush’s
words: "Leave no child behind," but added that, "We also
need to leave no child unchallenged."
got to lower classroom sizes," he said. "We’ve cut education
quite a bit already. If we cut it any more, we’re in danger of losing
a generation of kids to substandard education."
of his District 25 peers, including Pence, Ridinger suggested that, to
deal with another projected budget shortfall this winter, the state may
have to look at cutting a lot of sales tax exemptions and, perhaps,
raising the overall sales tax.
also suggested zero-based budgeting this winter, meaning agency budgets
should be built from the bottom up.
will build efficiencies there," he said.