States Senator, No endorsement: Incumbent Larry Craig (R) is a
powerful part of the inside-the-Beltway establishment. Yet, in Idaho he
sometimes tells supporters they should rear back and spit in the eye of
government. This does not compute—no surprise from a senator who shows
only disdain for outdoor values that don’t involve grazing, mining or
Alan Blinken (D) doesn’t compute either. He likes Idaho, hunting and
fishing, the outdoors and Sun Valley. He invested part of his personal
fortune to challenge Craig, but he hasn’t been in the state long
enough to understand what makes Idahoans tick.
House of Representatives, Second District, Mike Simpson (R): By
Idaho standards, Simpson is a moderate Republican. The two-term
congressman was previously the state’s House Speaker and served six
terms in the Legislature. He’s in tune with the second district.
Unknown and under-funded challengers have not been able to generate any
momentum. Simpson is a shoo-in.
Jerry Brady (D): Former President Ronald Reagan once asked voters to
consider whether or not they were better off now than four years ago.
Its’ a good question in this race between incumbent Dirk Kempthorne
(R) and Brady.
earners, parents, students and schools are not better off. Instead of
vetoing the ill-advised tax cut, which Kempthorne had proposed as a
one-time thing, he caved in to tax-cut mania, which increased university
student fees, resulted in cuts in public school programs, drained the
state’s rainy day coffers and left it facing the prospect of more cuts
Kempthorne will mean more of the same. Businessman Brady offers the
promise of change in direction.
Governor, Bruce Perry (D): Lawyer and business-consultant Perry is
the only candidate who looked voters in the eye and said a tax increase
of some kind is inevitable. Perry talked about real issues—the budget,
taxes and education. Long-time political power-broker and lawyer Jim
Risch (R) talked only about economic development—unfortunate for a
candidate who has made no secret of his desire to be governor one day,
and who has poured $360,000 into a race for a part-time job with a
$26,000 annual salary.
of State, Ben Ysursa (R): With
25 years as chief deputy and the handpicked successor of state legend
Pete Cenarrusa, Ysursa knows the job. His libertarian opponent hasn’t
raised any kind of challenge, and the Democrat candidate dropped out of
Controller, Bob Sonnichsen (D): He says this office is about more
than bean counting. He’s right. It’s about the Idaho Land Board on
which the controller serves. This experienced bank vice-president, who
has worked with farmers, loggers, ranchers and miners, is a good pick on
all counts. He wants to end the Land Board turmoil with sensible land
use and new ways of generating income for Idaho schools. Opponent Keith
Johnson (R), an accountant, brings experience in leading Orange County
out of bankruptcy, but without any new direction for the troubled Land
Treasurer, Ron Crane (R): As the incumbent, Crane deserves
re-election to this quiet office. He’s done a credible job of managing
the state’s investment pool in a tough market and directing the
accounting for all state money. His previous experience as the owner of
a large alarm business and 16 years in the Legislature has served the
General, Keith Roark (D): Idaho has the chance to hire one of the
state’s best attorneys as its own.
River Valley has long recognized Roark’s leadership skills. He served
eight years as Blaine County prosecutor, as Hailey mayor and is a very
successful defense attorney. His ability to work successfully with
disparate groups was confirmed by the endorsement of the Idaho Cattle
Association, a group concerned with the activities of the Idaho Land
Board on which the A.G. serves.
Wasden (R), a career attorney with the state, pales in comparison.
of Public Instruction, Marilyn Howard (D): Voters should keep this
thoughtful public servant and educator on the job. A former teacher and
principal with a doctorate in education, Howard knows good education and
how to provide it. Her loss would be devastating for Idaho families.
experience in education and a very recent college degree, serious
challenger Tom Luna (R) is unqualified for the office. Six years on the
Nampa school board, he left it with some of the state’s worst schools.
His proposals would harm education statewide.
Senator District 25, Clint Stennett (D): No reason to term-limit
this six-term senator. Stennett was one of a handful to vote against the
ill-advised tax cut that harmed schools. Challenger Tom Faulkner (R), is
stalking further reductions in an already strapped budget, even though
education consumes the lion’s share. Unlike Faulkner, Stennett’s an
active outdoorsman who understands Department of Fish and Game issues
and has resisted those who want to destroy it. Raised on a farm, with a
ranch of his own, the valley businessman understands agricultural
issues, too. This well-rounded senator should be returned to office.
Representative, District 25, Position B: Donna Pence (D): Pence
is a good choice to replace entrenched four-term incumbent Tim Ridinger.
Ridinger helped create Idaho’s education funding crisis when he voted
for $123 million in permanent income tax cuts in 2001. He says he
supports good education and smaller class sizes, but he can’t have it
both ways. This is the major issue facing the state and the one that
separates the candidates in this race.
retired educator and small farmer, opposes the cut. The articulate and
feisty Pence would bring some balance back to a lop-sided Legislature.
County Assessor, Valdi Pace (D): This incumbent is the only
candidate with the professional and organizational skills for this
office. She led the office and the county’s all important property
value assessments into the 21st Century. Challenger Walt Cochran (R),
who also works in the assessor’s office, offers up no reason for a
County Recreation District, Steve Keefer (nonpartisan race): Keefer
and Leslie Fairbrother are both strong candidates who mainly agree.
Keefer’s previous involvement with the Quigley Recreation Committee,
the district’s 10-year Plan Advisory Committee, and Hailey’s Parks
and Lands Board give him the edge.
One, Tribal Gaming, Vote Yes: What’s the difference between a
machine that spits out lottery tickets and one that spits out a winner’s
ticket from a video gaming machine? There’s only one difference: the
state of Idaho gets the lottery money while the state’s Native
American tribes get the video gaming money. Some people fear the tribes
will be able to operate casinos in every town. So what? There are
already lottery machines in every corner gas-and-grocery store.
not big fans of legalized gambling. But voters let the camel’s nose in
the tent with the state lottery. What’s been good for the state will
be good for the tribes as they battle poverty, joblessness, illiteracy
Two, Shall the legislation repealing term limits for elected state,
county, municipal and school district officials be approved? Vote Yes: Voters
should not be confused by tricky ballot language. Voting "yes"
will repeal term limits in Idaho. It will have no effect on federal
offices. Term limits in our small towns shrink the pool of qualified
candidates and take away the right to choose the best. Idaho voters
already can limit terms—at the ballot box.
911 (E-911), Vote Yes: A mere $1 per month per phone line
will buy a life-saving enhancement of the emergency 911 telephone
system. Computerized mapping technology can guide emergency personnel to
the door of a caller—even if the caller doesn’t know where he/she is
located or cannot speak. The system saves lives every day—in other
places. The valley needs this.
of Sun Valley Ordinance No. 337, to extend for eight years the existing
local-option sales tax of 3% on retail sales (except lift tickets and
building materials), tourist beds and liquor. Vote Yes: The local
option tax has served the city of Sun Valley well. It is a keystone of a
city budget designed to make property owners and visitors pay a balanced
share of city expenses, particularly for fire, police, emergency
services, transportation and property tax relief. Loss of the tax would
injure the city, residents and visitors severely.