Friday, October 24, 2008

House race a friendly exchange

Faulkner and Jaquet both say they’re better prepared to represent District 25

Express Staff Writer

You had to listen carefully Wednesday night to discern where the two candidates for Idaho's District 25 House of Representatives seat disagreed most during a debate in Hailey.

Gathered at the Pizza and Politics forum at the Old Blaine County Courthouse, incumbent Wendy Jaquet and challenger Jeff Faulkner did their best to convince voters that they're the better choice to represent the district.

The Idaho Mountain Express sponsored the event. Smoky Mountain Pizza provided the pizza.

The question of who is better prepared to represent the district—because of where they live, their party affiliation and their backgrounds—provided perhaps the most discernible sparks between Jaquet and Faulkner during their less-than-hour-long debate.

Since 1994, when she was first elected as State Representative, Jaquet, 65, has spent her winters in Boise. She is running for her eighth term. She has been the House minority leader since 1998. The Ketchum resident said her experience is an asset for District 25, which consists of Blaine, Gooding, Camas and Lincoln counties.

"I work very hard to represent the four counties in this district," she said.

Jaquet said she bought her fuel-efficient Toyota Prius so she can travel around her wide-ranging district more economically. She said she still has some things she wants to accomplish at the Legislature and hopes voters will give her the chance.

"I will continue doing what I am doing," she said.

Faulkner claimed he can better represent the district and get things done because he's a member of the Republican Party, which has 51 of 70 seats in the Idaho House.

"Like it or not, the Republicans are the majority," he said.

The 42-year-old Gooding resident has strong ties to the state's agriculture industry and served as Idaho Cattle Association president from November 2006 through November 2007.

Though Faulkner highlighted his agricultural background as a key reason why he's a good choice to represent the district, he said his ties to Blaine County are also a reason that Wood River Valley residents should vote for him. He noted that his family owns property in Blaine County and runs sheep on federal land in the north valley.

"I think I can represent everyone in the district," he said.

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