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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2002


Express endorsements

United 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 logging.

Opponent 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.

U.S 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.

Governor: 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.

Wage 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 next year.

Re-electing Kempthorne will mean more of the same. Businessman Brady offers the promise of change in direction.

Lt. 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.

Secretary 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 the race.

State 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 Board.

State 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 office well.

Attorney General, Keith Roark (D): Idaho has the chance to hire one of the state’s best attorneys as its own.

The Wood 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.

Lawrence Wasden (R), a career attorney with the state, pales in comparison.

Superintendent 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.

With no 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.

State 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.

State 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.

Pence, a retired educator and small farmer, opposes the cut. The articulate and feisty Pence would bring some balance back to a lop-sided Legislature.

Blaine 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 change.

Blaine 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.

Proposition 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.

We’re 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 and hopelessness.

Proposition 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.

Enhanced 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.

City 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.



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