Friday, October 29, 2004

Election Endorsements

President and Vice-president of the United States, John F. Kerry and John Edwards: The key question in the race between President George W. Bush and Senator Kerry is who can best move Iraq from war to post-war, deal with the burgeoning price being paid in both lives and livelihoods, and keep America safe.

Bush?s ?stand tough? approach looks good on the surface when compared to Kerry?s policy nuances. But while the president was standing tough, Iraqi guerillas have grown in strength and numbers. While the president was saying the U.S. is safer under his leadership, someone managed to spirit away 377 tons of high explosives, some of which can be used with nuclear devices, out of a storehouse in Iraq.

While the president was proclaiming the strength of the economy, the $413 billion budget deficit, the largest since World War II, was forecast to grow to $2.3 trillion if the country remains on the same path. That?s a bill that could let generations of middle-class Americans slip into poverty.

Kerry?s approach to the complexities of Iraq and the economy is not as simple as Bush?s, nor as easy to understand. But to quote H.L. Mencken, "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

It?s time for a change. We believe Kerry?s policies will yield a better brand of global security and return the country to solid economic ground. Kerry and Edwards are what the country needs to right itself and protect itself in this turbu-lent new world of terrorism.

U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Simpson (R): Re-election of this four-term Congressman is nearly certain because his opponent, Democrat Lin Whitworth, has been unable to mount a strong campaign to unseat him.

Simpson?s voting record shows nearly unblemished support for a long list of right wing issues, many of which have not served the economic interests of the hard-working folks in Idaho who support him. Yet, his advocacy of popular positions like display of the Ten Commandments on public property, repeal of the ?marriage tax? and rolling back in-come taxes, which turned out to favor the wealthy, have appealed to southern Idaho constituents.

For Central Idaho, Simpson?s work on the Boulder White Clouds Wilderness, which he has titled the ?Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act ? has been the primary bright spot in his service.

We?d like to see him have time to refine and shepherd through Congress a good bill that will protect Idaho?s wilder-ness legacy for generations to come. That job needs to get done before Idaho?s last remaining wild areas are chopped up by neglect and shortsighted short-term policies. For this reason, Simpson gets our support.

State Representative District 25 Position B: No endorsement

There is virtually no discernible difference between these two candidates except that four-term incumbent Tim Ridinger is a Republican and challenger Donna Pence is a Democrat.

Pence?s primary argument for electing her is that the lopsided Republican Legislature needs more Democrats. It would be a good argument if the two candidates had very different positions on key issues like funding for education, bailing out Idaho water users with taxpayer money, or continuing the ?temporary? 1% sales tax instead of returning to a progressive income tax.

The candidates left voters with little choice but to flip a coin or vote their party in this race.

For Blaine County Sheriff: Jerry ?Walt? Femling (R): Seventeen years of experience and a solid track record in management tip the scales in this race.

Femling is well educated in matters of criminal justice, with additional training from the FBI, and is well regarded in law enforcement. Femling should be returned to office.

He has called for more money and manpower for the sheriff?s office to help it safeguard one of the fastest growing counties in the state.

Opponent Jeff Gunter (D) sees no need for more officers and says that scheduling changes alone will free up enough patrol time to meet the county?s crying need for better traffic control and investigation of major crimes.

We don?t buy it. More manpower is long overdue. The department has been hamstrung for too long by artificial budget limitations imposed by shortsighted Blaine County Commissioners. The need for solid funding was illustrated by a recent heroine bust in Hailey, which was executed by a joint-agency task force led by the sheriff?s office.

Femling has creatively met the challenges of managing a dilapidated jail too small for the demands placed on it. His efforts toward building a new jail have been energetic, if unsuccessful. His office?s youth outreach programs also have been well received.

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