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There will be no polling booths utilized for Idaho’s May 19 primary election due to coronavirus concerns. The all-absentee balloting is already underway and voting will continue until June 2.

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The Idaho Press partnered with the League of Women Voters of Idaho to publish these candidate surveys. To search by address for races and issues on your ballot, visit vote411.org.

Idaho State Senate District 10

Toni Ferro

Toni Ferro

Name: Toni Ferro

  • Party: Dem
  • Address: Caldwell, 83605
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 484-8286
  • Website: ferroforidaho.org
  • Facebook page: Ferro for Idaho
Sen. Jim Rice

Sen. Jim Rice

Name: Jim Rice

  • Party: Rep
  • Incumbent
  • Address: Caldwell, 83607
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 891-4178
  • Campaign Facebook: Jim Rice for Idaho

Questions:

Q: 1. What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

Toni Ferro: My priorities are based on conversations with 100s of community members in my district on the phone and at their doors. People are asking me to prioritize policies that make a difference for working families. I will work to properly fund our schools, to reverse the 2016 bill that capped the homeowners property-tax exemption and resulted in a spike in property taxes, to protect Medicaid expansion, and to create full-time, living-wage jobs.

Jim Rice: I will continue to defend private property rights, support excellence and choice in our educational system, defend life, provide for our transportation needs, protect individual liberty, and make Idaho an even better place to live, do business, and raise a family.

Q: 2. What experience has prepared you for this office?

Toni Ferro: After graduating from Caldwell High School in 1989 (go Cougs!) and earning a degree in Engineering, I worked in the high-tech industry as a project manager - managing teams, schedules, and budgets - for over a decade. Later, while earning a PhD from the Univ. of Washington’s College of Engineering I did research on the relationship between technology and society. I will bring new skills and a fresh perspective to Idaho’s legislature and will help prepare Idaho to meet the needs of the future.

Jim Rice: I am the second of my parents 15 children. Growing up in Kuna and Melba, I raised and showed livestock through 4-H. History, economics, the Constitution, and government were regular topics of conversation at the dinner table with my parents and family. I became a lawyer in my mid-30s, Before that I worked in a variety of career fields. That helps me understand the needs of people of many backgrounds and circumstances. As a Senator I have worked to protect our liberty and Idaho way of life.

Q: 3 What changes, if any, would you support related to state funding of public education?

Toni Ferro: Idaho is 39th in the nation for graduation rate, 44th for teacher pay, 44th for class size, and last in per-student investment in education. The average teacher salary is $14k a year higher in Oregon than in Idaho. Our legislature has underfunded our schools for years, resulting in an increase in school levies around the state. We recently started receiving ~$100 million a year in new revenue from online sales taxes. I would advocate using some of those funds to do the right thing by our kids.

Jim Rice: Action needs to be taken to reduce the reliance on property taxes to fund public education. Impact fees could be put in place to pay down school construction bonds and facilities bonds. School supplemental levies should be replaced with other funds and be permanently eliminated. These measures would provide real property tax relief for Idahoans while providing funding for public education.

Q: 4. What do you see as Idaho's prison system's most important needs and how would you address those?

Toni Ferro: Idaho’s prison population is 9 times what it was in 1980. A third of our prisoners are in for drug use and half have mental health problems. We need to continue expanding drug treatment and mental health services in our communities as well as our prisons. We also need to review sentencing guidelines and mandates, improve probation and parole supervision, and cut pre-trial jail time.

Jim Rice: Recidivism is at least in part driven by a shortage of treatment and probation and parole supervision. Improving these areas will slow down growth of prison populations which are driving the need for additional prison construction. Improving access to mental health and drug treatment options is another area that can help reduce crime and help with our correctional system by reducing the need for incarceration.

Q: 5. What do you see as Idaho's most important health care system needs and how would you address those?

Toni Ferro: First, we need to honor the will of the voters and protect the Medicaid expansion and Idaho’s healthcare exchange. Our legislature voted to limit the Medicaid expansion and we need to ensure those costly limitations do not get enacted. We also need to attract more physicians by creating new residencies and building Idaho’s reputation as a welcoming state. Finally, Idaho’s suicide rate is 50% higher than the national average. We need to prioritize access to mental health care.

Jim Rice: During my service in the Senate I have been involved in legislative actions that helped prepare the way for the medical school (ICOM) we now have in Meridian. We need to work on creation of residencies for when new doctors begin graduating. This will help us address the need for more doctors. Mental health care is a major challenge for individuals and it has an impact on all aspects of our communities. I will continue to support ideas that make mental health care more available to our citizens.

Q: 6 What changes to income, sales, and property tax policies would you support?

Toni Ferro: We need to reverse the 2016 bill that capped the homeowners’ property tax exemption at $100,000 shifting a heavier load of our property tax burden onto working families. We need to fund schools so school districts need less in supplemental property tax levies. We need to restore income tax relief for families with several children. We need to eliminate sales taxes on food. And we need to regularly review the $2.8 billion in annual sales tax exemptions that are never reviewed and never expire.

Jim Rice: The sales tax on food should be eliminated. If the tax is eliminated people can buy more food or pay for prescriptions any time instead of paying the tax and getting a refund in March or April. Property taxes can be reduced by reducing overlapping responsibilities between multiple local taxing entities, eliminating state mandates that require inefficient actions by local governments, addressing school supplemental levies, impact fees to help pay school construction bonds and facilities levies.

Q: 7 What measures do you support in updating Idaho's voting processes?

Toni Ferro: Idaho currently has a very good elections process. Lines at the polls are not too long, we can register up to election day, and we can vote early either in person or by mail. And the Canyon County elections office has done a good job of keeping our elections tamper-proof as they update their technology. We need to protect our constitutional right to vote on ballot initiatives. And we need to ensure that our currently bi-partisan reapportionment process is not corrupted by partisans.

Jim Rice: Idaho’s voting process is handled well by our county clerks and Secretary of State. We should continue to make sure that our vote counts are accurate, that votes are held at times that the voters expect them, and that voting is done by citizens. Any changes that are made must continue to require identification of people who seek to vote in our elections so that we can ensure that our elections are fair, transparent and only include the votes of citizens.

Q: 8. What are the biggest transportation priorities for Idaho in the next 20 years and how should the state prepare now to fund those projects?

Toni Ferro: Our infrastructure is not keeping pace with our growth. Community members are telling me we need a robust public transportation system - especially seniors who no longer want to drive on our busy freeways, people who are blind and need a way to get around, and working people who need cost-effective transportation options. Our metro area has grown to over 600,000 people. Public transportation is cheaper than expensive roads projects and would reduce the load on our current infrastructure.

Jim Rice: Maintenance and repair will always be priorities. In addition, we can expect to continue growing due to sound economic policies, which will result in needs for expansion of traffic capacity on our highways and roads. We need to continue reducing regulation and waste, and be frugal with taxpayer funds. This will allow us to use growth in revenues to pay for more of the expansion of capacity in our transportation system.

Q: 9. Do you support local option sales tax authority for all cities and counties?

Toni Ferro: I support putting decisions into the hands of voters as much as possible. As long as taxing decisions are made democratically by the people who are directly affected then I would support local option sales taxes. Idahoans do not vote to tax themselves unless they see a real need to do so.

Jim Rice: I oppose local option sales tax authority for cities and counties. History demonstrates that adding additional taxing methods for local units of government results in higher taxes for citizens. Idahoans do not need another tax, especially right now.


Idaho State House District 10 A

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson

Name: Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson

  • Party: Dem
  • Address: Caldwell, 83606
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 614-0699
  • Website: Becky4Idaho.org
  • Facebook page: Becky for Idaho@SeatA.Dist 10
  • Twitter: ryhanson@becky4idaho
Julie Yamamoto

Julie Yamamoto

Name: Julie Yamamoto

  • Party: Rep
  • Address: Caldwell, 83605
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 989-4487
  • Website: julieyamamoto4id.com
  • Facebook page: jyamamoto4id

Questions:

Q: 1. What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: As a Democratic candidate, my goal is to bring balance to a supermajority GOP legislature and administration which has spent the last 20 years consolidating power rather than passing relevant legislation that serves all Idahoans. I hope to bring back moderate bi-partisanship to an increasingly right-leaning administration.

Julie Yamamoto: I will provide a thoughtful, collaborative, Constitution-based, conservative voice to the Idaho House. Education and a concern for comprehensive tax reform that doesn’t simply shift the tax burden from one group to another, agriculture, and the State’s infrastructure are all of great interest and concern to me and other Idahoans. My intent is limited government and safeguarding our rights as individuals and as a state.

Q: 2. What experience has prepared you for this office?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: I'm a 3rd gen Idahoan whose 1st ancestors came here as farm laborers. I attended Caldwell schools, graduated from College of Idaho. With my husband's job, I've had the opportunity to live in seven foreign countries, learned how to navigate different languages, cultures, religions, and traditions, and expanded my worldview. Ultimately this experience validated the personal values and beliefs that are so important to my upbringing in Canyon County, love of the land and service to my community.

Julie Yamamoto: Being born and raised as a farm kid in Canyon County, 32 years in education, various private sector employment, and active volunteerism within my community, gives me in-depth experience and a network of people I can trust to provide sound advice about critical issues facing Idaho. As an administrator of public tax dollars,we created a prioritized budget that satisfied essential needs and allowed purchases to put technology into more students' hands; we lived within our budget.

Q: 3. What changes, if any, would you support related to state funding of public education?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: Idaho should NOT place last in the US for education spending per student! With $400 million+ in budget reserve funds, plus the addition of COVID-19 federal emergency funds, investment in our kids must increase, not be slashed. The career ladder for educators must better compensate or we will continue to lose experienced teachers to other states. Remember, without teachers there are no doctors, lawyers, engineers, or other professionals.

Julie Yamamoto: Reduce mandates, regulations, and reporting to reduce administrative costs at all levels (state, districts, schools) and use the savings to recruit and retain the best teachers and fund classroom needs. Eliminate the need for supplemental levies by prioritizing and streamlining essential services. Encourage higher institutions to collaborate with Idaho schools to create a teacher pipeline. Increase professional/technical job-ready course offerings.

Q: 4. What do you see as Idaho's prison system's most important needs and and how would you address those?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: Both parties acknowledge Idaho should Invest in expanding options to reduce recidivism. We need to remove mandatory minimum sentencing to give judges latitude. We're filling our prisons with people committing non-violent crimes. Instead of spending over $23 million annually to send prisoners to out-of-state, for-profit prisons or building more prisons in Idaho, we need to redirect those funds toward keeping people out of prison because of parole & probation violations.

Julie Yamamoto: The justice reinvestment law currently in place appears to reduce the recidivism rate, so it could be extended as an alternative to prison for nonviolent, low risk offenders. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws can be changed and judges would be entrusted with exercising wisdom in sentencing. Expending funds for training on how to get and keep a job, financial literacy, and assistance with job placement and mentoring is preferable to building more jails/prisons.

Q: 5. What do you see as Idaho's most important healthcare system needs and how would you address those?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: The ACA and the expansion of Medicaid both need to remain accessible, without restrictions, to all Idahoans, particularly during this pandemic, when many people lost their health insurance along with losing their jobs. I would like to see the Idaho Legislature stop trying to punish our most vulnerable residents by adding riders to eligibility. Affordable and quality healthcare are definitely a human right, and we shouldn't have to cross the border into Mexico or Canada to gain access.

Julie Yamamoto: Incentivizing wellness, early treatment and telemedicine will reduce skyrocketing healthcare costs. While on a local hospital board, I appreciated their two-prong approach to 1) provide health education to improve overall health and 2) encourage direct primary care before medical conditions become severe. Programs are best administered at the local level to ensure that more money reaches the intended recipients.

Q: 6. What changes to income, sales and property tax policies would you support?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: I believe the Homeowner's Exemption should be indexed to housing cost inflation. Revenue can be maintained by better balancing business and individual property tax rates. Collection of sales tax on internet purchases could allow a larger tax credit or elimination of grocery sales tax.

Julie Yamamoto: Eliminate state and local government inefficiencies, reduce our consumption of government funded services. Eliminate the sales tax on food, 2-revisit the Property Tax Reduction to ensure senior citizens on fixed incomes are protected; 3-lessen property tax burden on commercial real estate, agricultural ground and residential property and determine a reasonable distribution.

Q: 7. What measures do you support in updating Idaho's voting processes?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: I usually support unrestricted voter access to either option of absentee/mail-in ballots or in-person voting at the polls. Having spent 2+ years as a chief judge pollworker, I would advocate for making presidential election days a paid holiday to increase voter turn-out and to expand the pool of poll workers. I do feel the Legislative special session went too far in refusing to allow 100% mail-in ballots for November's election. I believe an exception should've been made during this pandemic.

Julie Yamamoto: Idaho has effective safeguards in place to minimize voter fraud and run fair elections. Although it is becoming increasingly difficult to find ADA compliant polling places and enough poll workers, I would look for ways to continue our current practice of in-person, voter ID required elections.

Q: 8. What are the biggest transportation priorities in Idaho for the next 20 years, and how should the state prepare now to fund those projects?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: With the ever increasing cost and time needed to expand and maintain the I-84 corridor, light rail commuter trains and better funded commuter busing (electric) need to be our top priority, achievable in less than 20 years. The rail line is already in place, and was used for commuting into Boise as far back as 1887. Inter-urban commuting from Eagle, Star, & Middleton was implemented in 1907. It would create jobs and reduce air pollution...projected population growth equals more cars.

Julie Yamamoto: The 20 year plan includes ongoing repair and maintenance of roadways and bridges, expanding heavy-use highways and the interstate, and continued use of waterways and railways. I support Gov. Little’s recommendation of using “unallocated one-time dedicated funds, emergency relief grants, state transportation block grants, local participation in state highway projects, discretionary grants, and required state and local match.” (FY2020 Executive Budget)

Q: 9. Do you support local option sales tax authority for all cities and counties?

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: I fully support local option sales tax authority for all cities and counties. I would expect the party of small government to stand behind this as well.

Julie Yamamoto: I do not support local option sales tax authority for all cities and counties.


Idaho State House District 10 B

Rep. Greg Chaney

Rep. Greg Chaney

Name: Greg Chaney

  • Party: Rep
  • Incumbent
  • Address: Caldwell, 83606
Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln

Name: Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln

  • Party: Dem
  • Address: Caldwell, 83606
  • Website: Lincolnforidaho.com
  • Facebook page: ChelseaforIdaho
  • Twitter: LincolnforIdaho

Questions:

Q: 1. What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

Greg Chaney: Did not submit a response.

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: I hope to bring common sense and bi-partisan solutions back to the Idaho Legislature. For far too long, we have seen special interests control what laws and policies are being passed with little to no consideration to how hard-working Idahoans are going to be impacted. Examining the minimum wage, prioritizing our education budget, and ensuring growth pays for itself are just a few examples of issues that should have a bi-partisan solution, something I will unapologetically bring to the table.

Q: 2. What experience has prepared you for this office?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: My first step in serving the public was in 2011 as part of the ballot initiative campaign that sought to overturn 3 harmful education laws, which eventually became the overwhelmingly successful Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, & 3 campaign. Since then, I have testified and organized community members for testimony during legislative sessions on a variety of topics. My work as a behavioral health specialist for 18 years has given me the patience and attention to detail that is needed for this role.

Q: 3. What changes, if any, would you support related to state funding of public education?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: Education has not been appropriately funded for too long.That expense has been shifted to local communities as they try to pass levies/bonds. We need to allow growth to pay for growth. Let’s look at the 70+ tax exemptions for big businesses, developers, oil/gas companies who are not paying their share, if any. Let’s re-examine the circuit breaker and homeowners exemption.These aren’t easy conversations, but they are necessary & require bold leadership for long-term solutions for the future.

Q: 4. What do you see as Idaho's prison system's most important needs and and how would you address those?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: The question we are missing here is what are we doing to lower the prison population? Idaho currently sits in 13th place for states with the highest prison populations, and we have a higher prison percentage than all our surrounding states. Why not focus on up-river solutions to prevent Idahoans from entering the prison system to begin with--such as focusing on better education funding, more school counselors, and more opportunities to attend college/university or vocational/technical schools.

Q: 5. What do you see as Idaho's most important healthcare system needs and how would you address those?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: We need a multifaceted approach as so much intersects with the health of our communities. Folks talk about cures and fixes but I’d love to see more prevention and building up what I’d call the collective immunity and health of our communities. Ensuring kids and families aren’t going hungry, and have access to preventive healthcare would be an asset. Ensuring folks can work a fair paying job (instead of multiple) to eliminate stress. And let's increase telehealth access for our rural neighbors.

Q: 6. What changes to income, sales and property tax policies would you support?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: The homeowners tax exemption could be increased to stay current with inflation and the cap removed to ease the burden on homeowners. This can be thoughtfully done, in case one size doesn’t fit all from county to county. Additionally the circuit breaker desperately needs updating to alleviate the burden on senior citizens and veterans with disabilities-they deserve better. And we need to ensure school districts can assess impact fees on new development, allowing growth to pay for growth.

Q: 7. What measures do you support in updating Idaho's voting processes?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: In 2020, we witnessed the first ever vote-by-mail only election during the primary. In turn we saw record breaking voter turnout across the state. We should consider this as a permanent option. Additionally, all Idahoans when going to renew or receive a new Driver’s License should also be given the opportunity to become registered voters at the same time (commonly referred to as Motor Voter Laws).

Q: 8. What are the biggest transportation priorities in Idaho for the next 20 years, and how should the state prepare now to fund those projects?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: In the last decade, our population increased by 14% & we are the fastest growing state. We must be proactive so we can keep up with growth & ensure safety. As mentioned before, looking at current tax exemptions to see what additional revenue we can bring in is crucial. We must allow local municipalities to pass local tax ordinances so they get the funding they need. We must work as partners with our federal delegation, ensuring they secure federal funding for federally owned infrastructure.

Q: 9. Do you support local option sales tax authority for all cities and counties?

Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln: Local cities and counties should have true local control and governance. More often than not, the legislature enacts laws that pass down directives that come with a financial burden. The most recent example was making in person voting required, without ensuring counties had the support or manpower they needed. As it turns out, they don’t and we’re seeing the fall out from that now. Cities/counties know their needs better than most and need to be able to assess those needs and act accordingly.

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