Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Education unites, taxes divide

District 25 House candidates differ on taxes, regulation


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Former physical education teacher and five-time legislative candidate Donna Pence will be challenged by Richfield insurance company owner Alex Sutter for the District 25B representative on Nov. 2.

While both candidates stress the importance of education and communicating with constituents, they differ significantly in experience, opinions on taxes and view of the state government.

Pence, the Democrat incumbent of Gooding, served three full terms in the House of Representatives after teaching in Idaho schools for more than 20 years. She is a member of the House Education Committee as well as the Agricultural Affairs Committee, due in part to her experience as co-owner of a tree farm for almost 40 years.

The role of a state representative is to be a problem solver, Pence said, helping find solutions for Idaho and for District 25's main concerns.

However, Republican candidate Alex Sutter said government itself is usually the problem, and that local governments govern best. His leadership style is to let people govern themselves based on honesty and integrity, he said in a candidates' forum last month. For example, the Richfield School Board member has said that District 25 needs less government regulation regarding how schools use state and federal funding.

Sutter has also said he would support elimination of state income taxes, though he admitted during the forum that his plan isn't likely to be feasible at the moment. The idea, he said, was that lower income taxes would help boost job creation.

Pence has said she believes income tax is part of a balance, and eliminating it would put greater pressure on sales taxes and property taxes to raise revenue.

District 25A Rep. Wendy Jaquet is also on the ballot this year, but is running unopposed. This will be Jaquet's ninth term, and her seventh as House minority leader.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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