Idaho's redistricting process shifted incumbent Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, out of District 26, leaving its House Seat B open in the Nov. 8 election. This race sees Karma Metzler Fitzgerald, D-Shoshone, running against Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome.
With the election less than a week away, here are the candidates, in their own words.
A legislative report recently found that that Idaho could potentially receive significant tax revenue by assuming control of federal public lands. Would you support or oppose the transfer of federally controlled public lands to the state?
Is there any specific service that you believe is overfunded or underfunded?
Would you make any changes to the state's ‘first in time first in right’ water appropriation, or is this something you support?
What was a bill that the opposite party brought to the legislature that you agree with?
Are there any changes you would make to the state’s fiscal year 2023 budget?
Anything nice to say about your opponent?
Karma Metzler Fitzgerald
Occupation: Former writer, columnist and editor for Twin Falls Times News and Ag Weekly; Founder of She Grows Idaho; President of the Lincoln County Youth Commission; President of Lincoln County Legacy Project.
Previous experience in public service: Commissioner, Shoshone City and Rural Fire Protection District
Education: Borah High School; bachelor's degree in communications, University of Idaho.
Why are you running: I'm running to be a voice for the people in the middle, the "purple"—where the "red" and the "blue" come together. We are the people who can see both sides to an issue and find ways to work together for the best in our communities and in our state.
1. No. I think transferring federal lands to Idaho is too risky and would result in a lack of public access to public lands.
2. I'd like to see the state more supportive of funding preschool, and while we've made forward progress in funding daycare and all-day kindergarten, I think there is more to be done. I'd also like to see better funding for the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission. With all the new people moving into the state, we need to be better about educating people how to interact on Idaho public lands.
3. I do support it. However, I think conservation needs to be part of the conversation, as well as domestic use. I think there's room for improvement.
4. The Empowering Parents grants. This gives every Idaho parent access to much-needed financial support for things like books, broadband and other educational materials.
5. I think we need to have a more consistent funding source for the Idaho State Police POST Academies. They had to cancel three trainings this year due to increased costs. With the labor shortage and increased pressure on our law enforcement agencies, I think we could do better to make sure they have the resources and training to do the job.
6. I’ve known Jack and his family a long time. I'm glad to hear he's pro-choice, and it’s been fun verbally sparring with him this summer.
Occupation: Retired farmer/dairyman; previously, music teacher at Wendell School District .
Previous experience in public service: Jerome County Planning and Zoning Commission (20 years); Mid-Snake Water Commission; Adjunct part-time faculty; College of Southern Idaho, including CSI pep band director and classroom teacher in music; past Chairman Jerome County Central Republican Committee; past member College of Southern Idaho Foundation; current elected member College of Southern Idaho Board of Trustees; current member Jerome 20/20, an economic development board; past president, Magic Valley Fly Fishers; past president, Jerome Rotary Club.
Education: A.A. from College of Southern Idaho; bachelor's degree in music, University of Redlands; and a master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Boise State University.
Why are you running: I’ve always been interested in running. I’m very fond of my community and I believe its important to give back. You don’t serve on the planning and zoning board for 20 years because you are a masochist. I believe it is important to serve, but the biggest part of public service is putting in more than you get back and that’s exactly what I’ll do.
1. I am opposed to the transfer of Federal Lands to the State. The expenses we could (would) incur would far exceed any benefit to increased tax dollars.
2. Without having a copy of the state budget and knowing the “backside” or downside to any changes, I am uncomfortable answering. This is a question with a no-win answer. There are many agencies and services contained in the budget and to pick one over another without properly looking at all sides is unfair to all involved.
3. I firmly support “first in time, first in right.” I also firmly support enforcing it.
4. House Bill 530, with Floor Sponsor Rep. Chris Mathias. This legislation defines how the Idaho Hop Growers Commission is able to promote beer products made with Idaho-grown hops. If we are going to sin, let's sin while we are promoting Idaho products! [It was] signed into law by the Governor on March 21.
5. As someone not yet even elected into office, it is premature to speculate on the upcoming budget. I need to learn much more before I can responsibly comment.
6. I have known the Fitzgerald family for years and I consider them friends. I appreciate our race has centered on issues. Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 8, I will still consider Karma a friend.