For U.S. representative 2nd District, Aaron Swisher (D): With degrees and experience in economics and finance, this father of a young family knows that Washington, D.C., will not change unless the players do. Unlike the 20-year incumbent, he would not have thrown Idahoans under the bus with a tax cut that will result in trillions of dollars in deficits nor cast a vote to kill the Affordable Care Act. He favors a single-payer health insurance system and fiscal restraint. He would put the country back on sound footing.
For Idaho governor, no endorsement: Not-ready-for-prime-time Democrat Paulette Jordan is facing seasoned Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little. He wants more bad tax cuts on top of last year’s $200 million while saying that Idaho’s struggling schools are coming along fine. He can’t have it both ways. Jordan makes verbal hash of policy matters and brushes over her lack of leadership experience. Voters can only vote by party in this race. Party platforms may be found online.
For lieutenant governor, Kristin Collum (D): A retired Army officer, she served in the Pentagon under Gen. Colin Powell. A software engineering manager in the private sector with expertise in cybersecurity, she’s the moderate in the race. The state needs her expertise and collaborative leadership. She’s pro-Second Amendment, favors Medicaid expansion and is pro-choice. Her opponent is a former legislator who hates the federal government, opposes Medicaid expansion and favors federal giveaways to ranchers.
For secretary of state, Lawerence Denny (R): As the incumbent, Denny has the office, which is in charge of securing the state’s elections and corporate record-keeping, well in hand. Like his predecessors, he has exercised even-handed governance in the office to which candidates of all parties must report. There’s every reason for him to continue.
For attorney general, Lawrence Wasden (R): He’s done a good job in this office since first elected in 2002. He has fearlessly confronted even those in his own party with the plain reading of the law. His opponent is a placeholder who has not campaigned, so the choice is easy.
For superintendent of public instruction, Cindy Wilson (D): Unlike the incumbent, this award-winning 30-year educator doesn’t gloss over poor-quality schools, low reading scores and low numbers of students who go on to college. She wants teachers’ salaries that can compete with other states. She would consult stakeholders, other departments and legislators before launching major initiatives. It’s unlikely that she would put forward proposed budgets with $100 million errors.
For state senator District 26, Michelle Stennett (D): This four-term legislator has represented the district well. Her depth of knowledge of state issues is unmatched, and she’s worked hard to keep the state on a moderate path. She stood up for hikers, hunters and fishermen in opposing overwrought trespass laws, stood against an ill-advised $200 million tax cut that deprived schools and voted to increase penalties for threats against schools.
For state representative District 26 Position A, Muffy Davis (D): She is the change this seat needs. She wants to lift education funding from the nation’s bottom rung, instead of voting for unnecessary tax cuts as the incumbent did. She could help ensure that the Legislature doesn’t reject Medicaid expansion if voters approve it. She wants federal lands in federal hands. Her upfront style would replace equivocation and excuses with straight talk.
For state representative District 26 Position B, Sally Toone (D): No need to send this one-term incumbent packing. A farmer/rancher and retired teacher, she knows Idaho. She’s outspoken about the need to expand Medicaid. She wants to forgive student loans for teachers who work in rural schools and champions healthy school funding. She opposed overzealous trespassing and stand-your-ground laws that may block the public from public lands. What’s not to like?
For Blaine County commissioner 1st District, Dick Fosbury (D): He comes with experience on the county Planning and Zoning Commission and as Ketchum’s engineer. His top priorities include streamlining ordinances to enable affordable housing. He wants to review the county’s four-day workweek and whether the county can afford everything in its budget. He wants to continue river restoration. He’s the clear choice in a three-way race.
For Blaine County commissioner 3rd District, Angenie McCleary (D): As the incumbent for 10 years, she is tops in her race. She has been an arbiter of issues before the commission. Her listening skills serve constituents well. She recently switched from “no” to “yes” on contributing county cash to build more senior housing. She also worked on the committee that led the successful effort for the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve.
For Bellevue mayor, Ned Burns: His 20 years in town and one year on the City Council give him the chops for this tough job in a city that’s always short of revenue. He wants to retain the city’s character, protect downtown businesses, grow good jobs and enable sensible water metering. He supports the vision of the city in its new comprehensive plan.
For 5th Judicial District judge, Roger B. Harris: He has broad experience as a civil and criminal attorney, deputy prosecutor and public defender, and 13 years as a magistrate judge. Judicial candidates can’t take political positions, so voters have to rely on peer assessments. Idaho Bar Association attorneys familiar with his work rated him higher of the two candidates in this race.
Vote “yes” on Proposition 1 to expand historical horse racing: This would legalize machines that enable pari-mutuel betting on horses in unidentified races that have already occurred. The machines look like slot machines, but work differently. Machines would be limited to racetracks that closed down after the Legislature outlawed the machines. Revenues would subsidize live racing operations with a small percentage going to the Public School Income Fund. Otherwise, live horse racing will cease to exist in Idaho.
Vote “yes” on Proposition 2 to expand eligibility for Medicaid: Approval would expand Medicaid to cover up to 62,000 Idahoans who make too little to buy health insurance but too much to qualify for Medicaid. It will reduce expensive emergency-room visits for basic care and keep health costs in check. It will recapture federal taxes, reduce spending on health care for the poor and save Idaho and its counties millions. Everyone will win.