Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Express election picks

    For president of the United States, Barack Obama (D): For four years, he’s tried to clean up the economic mess left behind by Republicans who want the job back and who say Mitt Romney (R) can do it better. While the Obama administration’s record isn’t perfect, the economy is making progress slowly. To risk a return to the high-flying days of disregard for financial regulation and to entrust the cleanup to the very people who created the mess is not a risk the nation should take. To throw out the Affordable Health Care Act that’s forcing health insurance companies, nonpaying enterprises and individuals to quit gaming the system would be foolish and would hurt health care. National security should not revert to the party that led the nation into an unnecessary and crushingly costly war in Iraq and that failed to pursue or capture chief terrorist Osama bin Laden and his deputies in al-Qaida. Obama should get four more years—and a lot more cooperation from Republicans than he got in the first four.
    For Second District representative in Congress, Nicole LeFavour (D): This two-term state senator is a longshot challenger to entrenched seven-term Congressman Mike Simpson (R). This newspaper endorsed Simpson in five elections, but he needs a kick in the political pants to move off the party hymnal and get back to bipartisanship. The most important issue separating Simpson and LeFavour is the economy. Simpson favors tax cuts for the wealthy and across-the-board cuts in federal programs including the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls. Unlike LeFavour, he would throw programs like Medicaid back to the states—and possibly state taxpayers. This ignores economic history. LeFavour would tax the wealthy more and invest in jobs and innovation. She favors the Affordable Health Care Act that’s in place and saving people money while Simpson wants to throw it out and start over. It’s time for a change.
    For District 26 state representative Seat A, John Remington (D): The retired school athletic administrator and civics teacher is a newcomer to politics. Though a Blaine County resident, he’s traveled the district all year getting to know voters. He’s studied the issues facing Idaho, including the controversial budget for the Department of Health and Welfare that serves desperately ill and needy citizens. Opponent Steve Miller (R) isn’t exactly steeped in policy matters. Remington  supports a woman’s right to choose, which Miller does not. Remington decries the denial of a legislative hearing last year on a bill that would have protected gays and lesbians from discrimination. Miller says he believes that the state should limit the legal protections of marriage to a man and woman. While Miller says he has no specific agenda for a first term, Remington wants to try to return the state to fully open primaries. Remington’s ready for office.
    For District 26 state representative Seat B, Donna Pence (D): This former school teacher and family farmer has a record in four terms in the Idaho House that contrasts starkly with positions held by libertarian-leaning, Constitution-waving opponent Lee Barron (R). Pence opposed the Luna Laws that could damage public education by reducing the teacher corps. She opposed attacks on legal abortion. Her tenure has been marked by steady service on three committees overseeing agriculture, education, resources and conservation legislation. She also supports pursuing state sales taxes on Internet sales—an issue critical to local business, which she understands well. This sure, studious and steady legislator should be returned to office.
    For Blaine County commissioner Third District, Angenie McCleary (D): The one-term commissioner’s self-satisfied vote to increase commissioners’ already adequate salaries despite the lousy economy was an affront to residents. Nonetheless, she’s the only candidate who supports the county’s land-use laws, which opponent Mickey Garcia (I) wants to overhaul. She studies issues well and treats people fairly. Except for the salary misstep, she’s served well and deserves to be returned to office.
    For Blaine County sheriff, Gene Ramsey (R): He has 34 years of experience plus leadership training with the FBI’s Regional Command College and Northwestern University’s police leadership school to round it out. The Vietnam veteran had worked in the shadow of the former sheriff until the sheriff resigned last year. Ramsey was the department’s primary public spokesman. Today, his command of the organizational responsibilities involved in being the county’s chief law enforcement officer and running the Blaine County jail far exceeds those of his two opponents. This soft-spoken man has seen it all and voters should welcome his calm leadership to do the rest.
    Idaho constitutional amendment SJR 102, vote Yes: This amendment would ensure that the state Corrections Department continues to supervise felons on probation while keeping county-employed probation officers managing misdemeanor probations. The non-controversial amendment coordinates language between the Constitution and Idaho code and is a housekeeping measure.

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