Primary Elections Voting08.JPG

People enter the Ada County General Elections building in Boise to vote in the Idaho primary elections on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.

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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 15

Rick Just

Name: Rick Just

  • Party: Dem
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83711
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 258-5199
  • Website: electrickjust.org
  • Facebook page: RickJust4Idaho
  • Twitter: @electrickjust
Sen. Fred Martin

Sen. Fred Martin

Name: Fred S. Martin

  • Party: Rep
  • Incumbent
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83713
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 447-9000
  • Website: Fred4Idaho.com
  • Facebook page: Senator Fred S. Martin

Questions:

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

Rick Just: I will work to find solutions to Idaho’s vexing problems that should not be partisan issues like improving education, caring for our workers, overcoming challenges of growth, access to affordable healthcare, and protecting our public lands. I come from a public lands background, so I have watched the successes of the Owyhee Initiative and the effort to create a wilderness in the White Clouds. It takes time, patience, respect, and a willingness to listen, but collaboration does work.

Fred S. Martin: Continue to work on: Education, Healthcare, Transportation, and access to public lands. I have and will continue to work especially on: Medicaid expansion, suicide prevention, mental health programs, access to health care for all, funding for all levels of education (especially for higher education and vocational programs), "Primacy" (control over clean air, water and land), Immunization programs, keep the "Indigent and Catastrophic" program properly funded, and access to public lands.

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

Rick Just: My 30-year career in management with Idaho’s state parks gave me the skills and understanding needed to navigate our state government. As a trusted public servant, I was appointed to Boise’s Planning and Zoning Commission to tackle issues related to growth. Outside my career I have served in several leadership positions from the local to national level that seek to improve education, outdoor recreation, and the protection of our public lands.

Fred S. Martin: Former: Teacher, educator, Aide & Boise Bureau Chief to a U.S. Congressman, Business owner, CEO, Father, Grandfather, Army Medic, Executive Director of the Citizen's for Local Government Committee. Co-Chairman of the Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee, Chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Member: Health and Welfare Board, Idaho Immunization Assessment Board, Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention Board, Idahoans for Healthcare and Early Childhood Coordination Council.

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

Rick Just: I support more adequately funding Idaho schools in general. Early childhood development is critical, and we are one of just a couple states that does not publicly fund pre-k. I support providing a competitive wage and exploring loan forgiveness programs for teachers so that we do not lose them to other states. I also advocate for increased technical training opportunities for all Idaho students so they can compete for better paying jobs out of high school.

Fred S. Martin: We have great schools, teachers and administrators now. We need to tell our teachers that they are doing great job. We have worked hard to increase the funding for K-12. We have increased teacher pay for beginning teachers and this last session for master teachers. We have not done as will for our Colleges and Universities. We need to continue to emphasize and fund Vocational Education programs.

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

Rick Just: We need to stop sending prisoners out of state and holding them temporarily in county jails. Before building new prisons, we need to cut our incarceration rate which is much higher than the national average. Mandatory minimums don’t work. We also need a probation and parole system that does not set people up for failure, and better use of alternative sentencing. Our public defender system in the state needs much better funding.

Fred S. Martin: Work to return all inmates that are out of State. Use the saving from Medicaid expansion to increase funding for the Corrections Department. Sentencing reform.

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

Rick Just: Medicaid expansion in Idaho was a good step toward helping those least able to afford healthcare. We do not need additional sideboards put in place to chip away at the program. As a senator, I would oppose additional restrictions on the program. We have around 84,000 Idahoans enrolled in the program. I would support efforts to reach those who are not enrolled and to provide information on existing options for those who do not qualify.

Fred S. Martin: I was the author and Senate floor sponsor of the "Idaho Medicaid Expansion Act". This bill made sure that the will of the electorate was fulfilled by fully implementing Medicaid Expansion in Idaho without using any new Idaho tax dollars. I was the co-author and Senate floor sponsor of the "Idaho TeleHealth Access Act", being used by 1000's of health care providers to lower costs and improve accessibility to quality health. I setup "211" a three digit number to get to the Idaho Suicide Hotline.

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

Rick Just: I support reasonable reforms to the marginal tax rate in the top bracket to better fund state programs. Voters should be able to decide if they want a local option sales tax to support transportation and other worthy projects. By reviewing sales tax exemptions, we can better fund education to lift the burden from homeowners. I also support an increase in the homeowners’ property tax exemption and tying the exemption to inflation so it increases as property values increase.

Fred S. Martin: I was the co-sponsor of the Property Tax Relief Act". I have worked for and will continue to work for eliminating the Sales Tax on groceries. I voted to lower the personal income tax rate from 7.3 to 6.9%. We need to: keep taxes as low as possible, provide the best education for our children and grandchildren, adequately fund essential services and make Idaho a people-friendly and business-friendly place.

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

Rick Just: I want to make voting as easy and secure as possible. Some national measures, such as moving election day to a Saturday or making Election Day a holiday should be considered. In Idaho I support voting by mail, which has proven to increase turnout in other states. As we approach the 2020 election in this uncertain time, I support proactively sending a ballot to every registered voter in Idaho.

Fred S. Martin: Encourage vote by mail, voting by absentee ballot.

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?

Rick Just: Adequate funding for existing infrastructure is the highest priority. All vehicles contribute to wear and tear. Tying funding to the purchase of gas is outdated. We must explore a fair system that accounts for miles traveled on Idaho roads. Technological development is rapidly shifting the transportation landscape. As a state already considered decades behind in public transportation, planning further into the future when building new traffic infrastructure is important.

Fred S. Martin: Find addition funding sources for transportation other then the gas tax. This last session we passed (the Governor vetoed) H325 "The Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation Act". This bill would have increased the transfer from the general fund from 1% to 2%, an estimated increase of $18 million to go to road and bridges. With the Chinden Blvd project from Eagle Road to Star Road, work with private and public money to get the job done .

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

Rick Just: Yes, as long as a vote by the jurisdiction’s citizens is required.

Fred S. Martin: Yes, if written properly


Idaho State House District 15 A

Rep. Steve Berch

Rep. Steve Berch

Name: Steve Berch

  • Party: Dem
  • Incumbent
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83711
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 890-9339
  • Website: berch4idaho.com
  • Facebook page: SteveBerchForIdaho
  • Twitter: @SteveBerch15A

Name: David W. Hartigan

  • Party: Con
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83704

Name: Patrick E McDonald

Patrick E. McDonald

Patrick E. McDonald

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83713
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 863-1943
  • Website: patmcdonald.org
  • Facebook page: patrick.mcdonald.boise

Questions:

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

Steve Berch: We have a legislature that appears to be stuck in time and thinks that doing as little as possible and just getting through the current year is good enough. Not anymore – not for the fastest growing state in the nation. As a result, the issues most important to people are not being addressed: education, affordable housing, infrastructure/roads, low wages, healthcare, managing growth, and access to public lands. I will continue working to improve these issues that impact people’s lives the most.

David W. Hartigan: Did not submit a survey response.

Patrick E McDonald: The effects of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic are going to loom large over our economy, and we need to work hard to address that to get Idahoans back to work. Additionally, I have a framework that underpins my legislative goals: a. Property tax reduction. b. Reduction or elimination of the Grocery Sales Tax. c. Expanding access to Telehealth to all rural areas of Idaho, as well as streamlining current processes locally. d. Developing a solution for the funding formula for Education.

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

Steve Berch: I am currently a State Representative for District 15, with experience as a member of the Education, Business and Local Government committees. My past experience includes: • Vice-President of Greater Boise Auditorium District (elected to the Board in 2013) • Past Vice-President of West Valley Neighborhood Association (resides fully within District 15) • MBA from University of Minnesota • Successful career and leadership positions at Hewlett Packard in Boise for over 30 years.

Patrick E McDonald: I represented District 15 Seat B in the Idaho Legislature for 3 terms, and am now running for Seat A. I was vice chairman of the House Education Committee, on the Judiciary/Rules and Administration Committee, and on the Transportation Committee. I hold an M. Ed. in Occupational Education Training and Management from Idaho State, and served over 35 years in Idaho law enforcement, including as Idaho State Police Region Commander, and two consecutive 4-year terms as United States Marshal for Idaho.

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

Steve Berch: Last year alone, the legislature exempted $2.48 BILLION from revenue collection in the form of sales tax exemptions that rarely get reviewed and never sunset (over $28 BILLION since 2005). We need to revisit fiscal policies that are starving the funding of education. This year I successfully helped launch the first independent, comprehensive study to review these policies and determine the long-term impact they have on the state’s ability to fund essential services, including education.

Patrick E McDonald: Overall, we should continue to fund K-12 education on an enrollment-based funding formula for all school districts. I will continue to support higher teacher entry level pay, a robust career ladder, and the Master Teacher Premium Program...all things that I successfully championed in the past. I have a record as a strong proponent of education from the Pre-K level through the college and university realm.

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

Steve Berch: There are three key areas of focus: 1) sentencing reform to reduce the prison population (e.g. proper treatment of opioid addiction instead of incarceration), 2) stop shipping prisoners out of state, which is costly, and 3) build adequate facilities. More infrastructure is needed as the state’s population grows – including prisons. But fiscal policies also have to be more equitable so the cost burden isn’t always placed on citizens via property and other taxes.

Patrick E McDonald: We need to do a little of everything. Another facility in Idaho would allow us to fulfill our responsibility to house our inmates currently held out of state, as well as reduce the burden placed on county jails by housing them there. We also need to continue creative solutions to tackle recidivism rate and inmate mental illness. I'd also like to cultivate options for inmate education, as well as addressing the low entry level wage for corrections officers, (which reduces high turnover).

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

Steve Berch: The most pressing need is sufficient resources to provide critical services. I believe in individual responsibility, but I also believe government plays a rightful role in helping citizen truly in need – it’s what a civilized society does. Current fiscal policies are under-funding essential healthcare services. The legislature's "survival-of-the-fittest" attitude treats those needing healthcare as a low priority, as evident by their efforts to block and undermine Medicaid expansion.

Patrick E McDonald: As an Idaho legislator, I've always been a strong advocate in support of mental health initiatives, and I will continue to be. Telehealth also gives us expanded reach to help our rural population, as well as provide significant benefits to those who live locally. The current pandemic will heavily influence revenue and services rendered through the state's Medicaid and insurance entities. Prior to the pandemic, Medicaid expansion costs seemed to be held in check, but that could change.

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

Steve Berch: Over the last 15 years, the legislature has shifted the tax burden from businesses to homeowners. We need more equitable tax policies. Immediate actions include: repealing the cap on the homeowner’s exemption, move internet sales tax collections into the general fund (so there’s less need for school bonds), increase the “circuit-breaker” program for those living on a fixed income, and sunset special sales tax exemptions that can no longer be justified as a benefit to Idaho citizens.

Patrick E McDonald: Allowing municipalities to increase property taxes by 3% per year leads to them making it automatic, as we’ve seen already. I tend to favor a freeze to tax assessments for property owners, preventing it being increased until the property is sold. The new buyer would pay taxes from that point forward at the assessed value of the property at the time of the sale. Another solution is to modify the homeowner’s exemption cap to address the balance between residential and commercial property owners.

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

Steve Berch: The cornerstone of our democracy is the ability to vote. The legislature should make it as easy as possible for every citizen to vote. This includes expanding the methods and time for people to cast their vote, including making Election Day a statewide holiday (which would shorten lines at the polls), and lengthen the time to vote early across all counties. I also support ensuring that the voting process is safe, secure and protected from acts of fraud or corruption.

Patrick E McDonald: I’d like the state to continue to innovate and encourage standardization and security. We’ve seen some glitches that need to be worked out across various municipalities, but I’m pleased to see how the Idaho Secretary of State's office has adapted to conditions by expanding absentee ballots and requests in the wake of current circumstances. That should continue. I don’t think we should ever abandon in person voting either.

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?

Steve Berch: The widening of Chinden Blvd should have taken place 20 years ago instead of being completed 20 years from now. The right-of-way for the next major transportation corridor between Boise and Caldwell should be secured now while it can. If we wait, it will be too late and too expensive. Funding can come (in part) from revisiting fiscal policies that exempted $28 billion in sales tax revenue since 2005. In short, we need more long-term planning and investment from the state legislature.

Patrick E McDonald: One of the more recent transportation priorities that I worked on in a previous term was the plan to expedite expansion of I-84 from Nampa to Caldwell, which was sorely needed. We are also seeing the expansion of Chinden taking place now. Both projects serve to ease pressure on major thoroughfares through District 15, and are welcome additions that arrive as most of the new growth shifts to the periphery of the area. Funding this with our existing methods didn’t require huge tax increases.

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

Steve Berch: Yes. I support the Idaho Republican Party platform that says government is best when it’s closest to the people. This doesn’t mean I will support any local option sales tax. It means I support the right of people to decide IF they want to invest in their local community’s future. It is hypocritical for the state legislature to complain about the federal government telling Idaho what it can or can’t do, but then turn around and tell Idaho cities what they can or can’t do.

Patrick E McDonald: I don’t like the idea of a vast patchwork of local taxes because of how it can shift economic activity in unforeseen ways, leaving people and businesses struggling to adapt. State management of policy helps avoid that. With all of the taxes and fees that Idahoans are already coping with, it doesn’t feel better for them to have more levied at the local level. State and local governments need to look for ways to relieve tax burden rather than try to take more from taxpayers.


Idaho State House District 15 B

Rep. Jake Ellis

Jake Ellis

Name: Jake Ellis

  • Party: Dem
  • Incumbent
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83713
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 941-9330
  • Website: ellisforidaho.com
  • Facebook: Ellis for District 15
  • Twitter: @Ellis for Idaho
Codi Galloway

Codi Galloway

Name: Codi Galloway

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83713
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 614-2634
  • Website: codi4idaho.com
  • Facebook page: @codi4idaho

Questions:

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

Jake Ellis: My life’s purpose has been to serve others, and I hope to continue that for a second term. During my first term I was proud of work I did for residents of District 15, from aiding constituents whose family members were incarcerated, to those dealing with opioid addiction, to others trying to run small businesses. My other focus has been Idaho tax policy. I plan to continue influencing revenue and taxation policy so Idahoans’ can provide for the needs of their families.

Codi Galloway: Codi Galloway is a mom, business owner, outdoor enthusiast, and former elementary school teacher who believes in a conservative government in Idaho. As the Republican candidate for the Idaho House of Representatives in District 15B, she will prioritize making the Idaho economy strong through a business friendly environment, keeping taxes low, and enhancing education.

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

Jake Ellis: My background in public service also prepared me with a thorough understanding of budgeting, logistics, resource allocation, risk management, and crisis response. Although people seem to be ideologically farther apart today, the principle that guides me is to civilly interact with others to learn viewpoints. Despite the hyper-partisan environment of the legislature, I have developed relationships with others who share my interest in serving the people of Idaho and not a political party.

Codi Galloway: I am a wife, mother of 4, teacher, small business owner, and involved in my community. I am prepared because I have lived for 42 years and experienced how policy effects individuals. This is my first attempt at public office.

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

Jake Ellis: Improving Idaho’s education system has been the top priority for citizens for many years. Citizens also feel the sting of an unbalanced, tax system that relies on property taxes. I support allowing school districts to assess impact fees on new developments so we can achieve the ideal of “growth paying for itself. With more revenue and accountability, the increased funding can assist in innovation of an educational system designed to give Idaho children their best start in life.

Codi Galloway: Education is one of Idaho's greatest opportunities. Investing in education is key to fulfilling the legislature's constitutional duty to establish and maintain schools. I support Governor Little's efforts to focus more on education through career ladders and higher teaching salaries. The discussion on education should not stop after we talk about funding. There are a variety of management, assessment, parent involvement, and scheduling ideas that will also enhance education in Idaho

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

Jake Ellis: Over the last 35 years, the state’s imprisonment rate increased five-fold, giving Idaho the 13th highest incarceration rate in the nation and outpacing all 6 neighboring states, despite a declining crime rate. Idaho’s prison spending growth has outpaced spending on education. Reforms to sentencing and a focus on community supervision can direct public dollars to strategies that promote the successful reintegration of people who have served their sentences.

Codi Galloway: - no response -

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

Jake Ellis: The response to the Corona virus has clearly identified the state’s healthcare system deficiencies (largely related to rural/urban capacity). That same divide is present for mental and behavioral health capacity, considering current suicide statistics and the availability of children’s mental health services. Affordability was an obstacle for many Idaho families before the expansion of Medicaid, in which nearly 70,000 Idahoans have enrolled. The states 10% match needs a stable funding source.

Codi Galloway: Access, options, and affordability are challenges we need to address. As a small business owner who paid has paid for my own healthcare and health insurance for the majority of my adult life, I am most frustrated with the rising cost of insurance premiums. We need to look at ways to make healthcare more affordable for all Idahoans.

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

Jake Ellis: Idaho exempts far more taxes than it collects. Some of these exemptions are popular, some truly serve and benefit Idaho’s economy, and some serve individual interests. All should be closely examined to determine their value to the citizens of Idaho. The Idaho Legislature needs to address property taxes by updating the “circuit breaker” and increasing spending on schools to alleviate the continued reliance on bonds and levies.

Codi Galloway: One of the strengths of our economy in Idaho comes from the stability and predictability of our tax system. In Idaho we use multiple sources of taxation: sales tax, income tax and property tax. This balancing act allows Idaho to weather tough economic storms. That being said, district 15 has a real problem with the sharp increase in property tax. To correct this we need to look at circuit breaker reform, explore freezes at retirement age, and increase support to counties.

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

Jake Ellis: A more perfect state is attained by embracing a more perfect democracy. We as Idahoans should expect the state to work diligently to increase voting participation. I support enhancing Idahoans’ ability to vote by mail. I support automatic registration to vote based on the primary address of Idahoans who are 18 years and older. Those who claim this is too hard or too open for errors should consider that we maintain our military members’ ability to vote despite many logistical hurdles.

Codi Galloway: Idaho has an effective voting process. It provides safe and secure options so voters can vote in a variety of ways. Voters can choose to vote in the polls on Election Day, vote early at several locations, or vote absentee by requesting a ballot 11 days in advance. I often choose to vote absentee because it is more convenient, but still requires effort on the part of the voter.

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?

Jake Ellis: Idaho’s infrastructure deficit is glaring, and with each passing day roads, bridges, and buildings grow more expensive to build or rebuild. It is fiscally irresponsible to neglect these deficiencies. But each year the transportation deficit fights for crumbs against Idaho’s two other deficits: education and corrections.The state should be a partner in addressing mass transit in the Treasure Valley. The State needs to address the bridges that have been condemned or reached their 50-year lifespan.

Codi Galloway: Infrastructure must be funded more appropriately. This is not a case of cutting expenses or being more efficient with funds. Idaho needs to spend more tax dollars on roads and bridges.

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

Jake Ellis: Yes. A specific sales tax proposal that is presented by local elected (and accountable) leaders for a specified purpose and time to a local voting population is far clearer than most Idaho tax policy. Idaho is a diverse state not only in population but also economies, needs, and opportunities for growth. Local elected officials need more ability to address the unique issues within their communities.

Codi Galloway: In general, I don't support local option sales tax. It places a burden on small businesses in competing cities. For example, If I owned computer shop on Fairview in Meridian and was required to collect a 7% tax on my work it would put me at a disadvantage to the computer shop a 1/4 mile down the road on Fairview in Boise who did not have a 7% tax. Keeping taxes consistent, predictable, and fair is key to the success of small businesses and a strong economy.

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