Canyon County Election equipment

Canyon County voter Diana Maggard wears her “I voted” sticker after casting her ballot on new voting equipment at the Canyon County Elections office in Caldwell, Thursday, March 5, 2020. The state will move to all-absentee voting for the May 19 primary election because of the coronavirus outbreak, the governor’s office and secretary of state confirmed March 30.

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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 17

Ali Rabe

Ali Rabe

Name: Ali Rabe

Gary Smith

Gary Smith

Name: Gary L Smith

Questions:

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

Ali Rabe: Some of the key issues in need of immediate attention are housing, education, and criminal justice reform, particularly growth. As our state faces unprecedented growth, the cost of living is increasing and outpacing wages. It’s the start of a housing crisis much like our neighboring states. However, unlike our neighbors, we still have time to get ahead of the problem and need to start coming up with state-centered solutions to support communities’ efforts to keep people housed.

Gary L Smith: I will use my extensive business and political experience to give district 17 effective representation in the Legislature on our issues of concern. I would give the constituents of district 17 a strong and reasonable voice with access to the majority leadership caucus where major policy decisions are first formulated. Our district has not had this level of representation and influence in many years. District 17 deserves this quality of Legislative leadership.

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

Ali Rabe: When Senator Jordan decided to step down from her seat this year, she asked me to run and it felt like a childhood dream coming true. I wanted to be a human rights lawyer from a young age after seeing various challenges close friends and family members faced in Middleton. Through representing veterans, the accused, people experiencing homelessness, and indigenous populations I saw how important the policy-maker’s role is, particularly at a more localized level.

Gary L Smith: I have served Idaho at all levels of government: local, state and federal. Previous public service includes serving as an elected Boise City Council Member; Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance; chief of staff to the mayor of Boise; deputy chief of staff to the governor of Idaho and deputy legislative director to an Idaho United States Senator. I am the current board chair of the United Way of Treasure Valley and vice-president of the board for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Ada County.

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

Ali Rabe: My mom taught in Idaho’s schools for 30 years, and I saw first-hand how limited our schools’ funding mechanisms are. An area that really interests me is the supplemental levies. These levies have to foot the bill for 30% of our public education system and many areas do not have the voter influence that pass these levies. Quality education for our children is something everyone should be able to support, and that’s not an acceptable percentage.

Gary L Smith: I believe that school districts in Idaho need the ability to have more flexibility and local control. I would support changes in law that would allow locally elected school board members and superintendents to govern in a way that best addresses their particular district needs, consistent with meeting the standards and expectations set at the state level. What is appropriate in large school districts is not always the best solution for smaller and more rural communities.

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

Ali Rabe: The effects of the criminal justice system ripple out and affect thousands of families, preventing people from moving on to find housing and employment. Our policies are causing state prisons to overcrowd and local governments are paying the bills. I’d like to see the prison system move towards more of a state function, rather than a privatized business. I’d also like to address mandatory minimum sentencing and identify alternatives to incarceration for people with mental health challenges.

Gary L Smith: Having served as a police officer for more than 5 years I feel strongly about appropriate and strict sentencing standards for violent offenders. I would, however, support the ongoing review of sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenses. I also believe adequate funding for rehabilitation programs in correctional facilities is critical to prepare inmates for re-entry into society.

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

Ali Rabe: Medicaid expansion was a great first step, but I plan to identify new solutions at the state level to ensure our citizens get access to the health care resources they need. This next session will be an opportune moment to advocate for additional investment in health using state and federal dollars. My experience collaborating with organizations, systems, and citizens most impacted by health issues has prepared me to tackle this large and complex arena.

Gary L Smith: First, it is important to note that we have wonderful health care providers in Idaho. The recent expansion of Medicaid was a significant step forward in addressing health care needs for those Idahoans most at risk and the Idaho healthcare exchange, "Your Health Idaho", has preformed beyond expectations to provide insurance to the those without coverage. The Legislature, along with health providers and payers, need to find solutions to affordability and access to care, particularly in rural areas

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

Ali Rabe: The economy is changing, and we have to think up different ways to bring revenue into our state. I plan to work with local businesses to identify better ways the state can support them, and policies we can implement to bring in new industries to employ Idahoans. The property tax issue is also one I’d like to address first and foremost: too much of the property tax burden is on residential property owners and the homeowner’s exemption cap must be addressed.

Gary L Smith: While I think Idaho currently has a reasonably balanced taxing system, I believe that residential property taxes have become burdensome to homeowners. This is a joint local government and state responsibility that will require action at both levels. The state needs to update both the homeowner exemption and the circuit breaker while local units of government need to be more sensitive to the financial impact their significant annual tax increases are creating for our fixed income citizens.

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

Ali Rabe: COVID-19 has brought many trials and tribulations but, in one area, it has provided clear and evidenced insight into Idaho’s voting processes. We need to reform our voting access and encourage mail-in voting standards. The Secretary of State’s processes are antiquated and ineffective. The arguments from the right are unfounded - voter fraud is insignificant and restricted access only prevents the most vulnerable community members from having their voices heard in elections.

Gary L Smith: While I certainly understand the need to institute an all mail-in ballot system during the current shelter in place requirements, I do not support this form of voting on an ongoing basis. I am comfortable with the existing voter registration laws and the voting options that are available including same day registration.

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?

Ali Rabe: I am a public transportation advocate, as well as a supporter of making alternative, eco-friendly transportation options convenient for everyone. For our climate and quality of life, we need to invest in forward-thinking transportation solutions (I am a bicycle commuter myself). Simply expanding roads and lanes is a Band-Aid solution to a larger problem. The state should create long-term multi-year development plans calculating in housing and commercial growth alongside transportation.

Gary L Smith: Improving state and local roads and bridges is vital to everyone's safety and is the top priority. The added benefit of improving roads and bridges is the boost to our economy for shipping Idaho goods to out of state markets. Future infrastructure priorities also include securing and protecting right of way needs for future highways and public mass transit needs. Local option taxes could help fund these needs in addition to existing funding sources like fuel tax and federal highway grants.

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

Ali Rabe: I believe the state government should allow local authorities and constituents to decide how and where to allocate resources, as well as how to collect income. Citizens should be allowed to vote on local options sales tax authority and guide and hold local politicians accountable on how to spend their tax dollars. I am open to state policies or voter options which place some restrictions on the authority, although in general, I hope that voters would have say on how their dollars were spent.

Gary L Smith: Yes, with the caveat that more than a simple majority vote be required for passage, something in the of 55-60% range.


Idaho State House District 17 A

Gannon John 2019

Gannon

Name: John Gannon

  • Party: Dem
  • Incumbent
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83705
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 343-1608
  • Website: johngannon.org
  • Facebook page: John Gannon for District 17
Brittany Love

Brittany Love

Name: Brittany Love

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83701
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 477-1129
  • Website: brittanyloveforidaho.com
  • Campaign Facebook: Brittany Love For District 17

Questions:

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

John Gannon: Serving as a legislator for the Boise Bench has been an honor and a rewarding experience. I will influence and work for fair and reasonable legislation. I will advocate for affordable housing as I did with the 300 Bench homes that were threatened with being unsuitable for residential use; better education funding; resolution of the brown water issue on the Bench and related areas; and fair property taxation policies to reduce the unjust and unfair tax charges.

Brittany Love: The number one accomplishment I will strive for is to be the best Idaho Legislator for my District 17 constituents and for everyone in Idaho. I plan to hit the halls of the capitol running, meeting as many legislators of both parties and listening to their comments, thoughts, and other suggestions. Regarding legislation, there are several issues dear to me and my constituents: "Keeping property taxes low," is a huge priority of mine and District 17 residents too.

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

John Gannon: The most important experience is the conversations, opinions and feedback I receive from 1000's of Boise Bench area residents. Visits with people at their homes and neighborhoods, and constituents who participate in our legislative process, is so helpful. My involvement in policy and issues for many years is invaluable, including participating in probably 100 public hearings and meetings. My law background and JFAC experience helps me understand legislation and cost and vote in an informed way.

Brittany Love: I am working closely with the Boise School District to improve education for the kids and make sure teachers and staff are well taken care of. I would say the best experience as of late has been going around and speaking with District 17's community members and learning their issues. Flying to Washington D.C. and participating in the annual CPAC convention earlier this year opened my eyes to a platform that welcomes everyone into the GOP tent, no matter their race, creed, sexual orientation.

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

John Gannon: The state underfunds public education - especially in our rural areas. There is plenty of evidence that teacher pay is too low in rural Idaho and for the support of adequate facilities. Sales tax revenue has in part shifted from retail stores to internet sales, but the money ($80 million) sits in a lock box. That should be spent for public education as was promised in 2006 when the sales tax was increased. No tax cuts until education is funded. Adequate funding means fewer property tax overrides

Brittany Love: The proper funding for quality education goes a long way for every Idaho student's success. I support the Governor's quest to make available the resources and tools to better Idaho education. If districts need a few extra dollars, Idaho law allows for district wide levies for voters to decide. I think that is a fair policy.

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

John Gannon: The prison system is overcrowded and renting private prison space out of state is not a solution. Private prisons failed miserably in Idaho. There need to be more facilities for mental health treatment, which can reduce crime, and more prison/release centers for those who are nonviolent but need to be closely supervised and penalized for conduct. Make no mistake though: Those who commit violent crimes or who cause serious harm to others must face the serious consequence of incarceration.

Brittany Love: I believe there should be proper rehabilitation programs that will help prisoners able themselves to learn trades-because eventually, most prisoners will leave prison. There are many circumstances where even prisoners deserve a second chance. I am a firm believer in the 8th Amendment that allows for prisoner safety and decent living conditions while time is being served. As history has shown, overcrowding leads to unsafe and inhospitable conditions- which has led to riots and prison takeovers.

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

John Gannon: The medicaid initiative was a big help for our healthcare system and helped the economy too. The covid crises means our healthcare system needs to have adequate testing available, adequate hospital facilities, and protocols for safety while not isolating our loved ones. At the same time facilities need to be available for the many other healthcare conditions people have and there must be a balance. The national money is a big help and needs to be spent carefully to meet these goals.

Brittany Love: One of my ideas I will promote as an Idaho state legislator is the idea of approving short-term health insurance plans where citizens can purchase coverage for a short period-maybe 3 months, or so. This could benefit a person or family on a short-term basis, who may need medical care. Many people claim, "Our healthcare system is broken." That is a fallacy perpetrated by many politicians. It's not true. The United States has the greatest medical care in the world. What is broken is the access.

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

John Gannon: Property taxes have unfairly and unjustly shifted to residential. Increase the homestead exemption but remember each $25K is worth only a $340 reduction in Boise. So an "inflation adjustment" hardly solves the problem. So my question is: Why did CWI pay over $8 million for property assessed at $3.2 million. Why is Boise paying $750K for property assessed at $450K? Why did BSU pay $22 million for property assessed at $11 million. Are locals big spenders? Or are assessments a problem?

Brittany Love: Clear heads must come together and be responsible for limiting property taxes. Maybe less government spending could be the answer too. Talking with District 17 community members, many are highly upset at Mayor Lauren McLean's property tax hike proposals. some have said, that the elderly could be forced out of their homes. I think Idaho should follow the Howard-Jarvis Property Tax Initiative that was passed in California back in 1978, it gave California homeowners a break on property taxes.

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

John Gannon: The closed primary denies people the right to vote for the best candidates. Mandatory party membership in order to vote can suppress voting by people who want to remain unaffiliated and don't believe in political parties. As for procedures, If constituents are concerned, then I have a concern. Some told me they wanted in person voting, so I voted for that last month even though I think voting by mail is fine. The right to vote, and method of voting is up to the voter.

Brittany Love: Many, I have talked to, do not like "open ended mail in voting," because it reeks of voter fraud. What people don't realize is that "mail in voting" and "absentee voting" are two different things. Mail in voting is where a state just mails a ballot to everyone, which can lead to multiple ballots being sent to one address. This can lead to ballot harvesting. I say, If Idahoans can "social distance" at Walmart, restaurants, and other stores then voters can also social distance at voting precincts.

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?

John Gannon: In this area I 84 and State Street are more clogged as growth occurs in the Treasure Valley. There needs to be a high occupancy lane on each of them and I have supported that legislation. There needs to be a better bus system and planning needs to put residential near the jobs. Someday bus funding will probably have to be through a local option sales tax that is specific, binding and approved by voters. Right now the gas tax is proportionately declining as cars get better mileage.

Brittany Love: The Ada County Highway District is very lax when it comes to proper maintenance of their roads. The manhole covers set below street level is atrocious. I think it is time to get some new blood in the ACHD commission. As a newly elected legislator, I will promise to work with highway districts and Idaho Department of Transport to seek remedies for their budgets without any huge tax increases for Idahoans.

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

John Gannon: Any local option sales tax authority should be subject to a vote of the people. Any authority granted should require that a spending proposal be carefully explained and binding. Any amounts dedicated to property tax reduction should similarly be explained and legally binding. A vote of the people makes better decisions.

Brittany Love: There is a double edge sword regarding local option sales taxes for cities and counties. Take Boise for instance: city hall funds so many organizations with $5,000 here, $3,000 there – so many to count. Many of these organizations could muster up some private donations on their own. And, the mayor wants to raise property taxes, for their highfalutin spending. I think the government should reign in their spending.


Idaho State House District 17 B

Rep. Sue Chew

Rep. Sue Chew

Name: Sue Chew

  • Party: Dem
  • Incumbent
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83706
  • Campaign Phone: (208) 320-7490
  • Website: suechew.com
  • Facebook page: Rep. Sue Chew for Idaho Legislature

Name: Anthony T Dephue

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83705

Questions:

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

Sue Chew: I will prioritize the welfare of our State which includes that children are successful, our elders are happy and very active in our community, and that mental health and substance abuse are dealt with proactively. Those in our community that have had trauma should be able to have resources to recover and be able to move to a place of deep health. We move to these by focusing on the 80% of things we can agree on to get there. A good life for each of us depends on a good life for our neighbors.

Anthony T Dephue: Did not submit a survey response.

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

Sue Chew: I am a board certified clinical pharmacist and one of only three medical professionals out of the one hundred and five that make up the Idaho Legislature. I feel versed in our community’s concerns as I make a concerted effort to learn from my constituents. I have always possessed an intellectual curiosity, am deeply reflective, and have a passion for science. Since I come from a diverse background, I bring that experience to deal with our state as it grows in diversity.

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

Sue Chew: We should reassign education funding to a specified bucket of funds versus what was done in 2006 which was to put education in direct competition with all the other needs of the state. Education is a constitutionally protected right, so we should allocate funding to protect that right. Recently we’ve seen that with development, we've heard a strong cry that school districts should be able to ask for impact fees so that growth can pay for itself.

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

Sue Chew: We should keep the course with the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Initiative and provide judges discretion when sentencing non-violent drug offenses. People who do not pose a threat to others should have an alternative to jail time. A program that helps treat an addiction costs a fraction of funding prison time. We want engaged individuals and taxpayers rather than people who are exploited by the prison system. By reducing our prison population and recidivism rate, we save taxpayer dollars.

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

Sue Chew: We should provide affordable and accessible healthcare and safety for all Idahoans to thrive. Including mental health, substance disorder treatment, and trauma informed care for young people. I would address these by making sure that the entities that are concerned with these problems are at the table.

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

Sue Chew: Fairness is key, we should make sure that income tax is as fair for those on the bottom as it is for those on the top. We should be sure that sales tax exemptions are closely examined and state revenues are restored by discontinuing those that no longer serve the state. Property tax policies should be adjusted so that businesses shoulder their fair share rather than leaving it up to homeowners.

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

Sue Chew: We should continue to support and facilitate accessible and secure voting in the state of Idaho. It should be a priority to make sure that the voting in Idaho is streamlined and accessible. A great way to promote this is through absentee voting in a year when a pandemic has run rampant in our communities.

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?

Sue Chew: We need to replace old and unsafe roads and bridges in our Idaho communities, in addition to securing a transportation system for the 21st century. As our state experiences population growth, our transportation infrastructure needs to be improved to meet Idaho’s needs, including public transit. This would include collaboration between entities that focus on transportation and entities that focus on developments, so that growth pays for itself.

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

Sue Chew: Yes, what better way than to put it to the vote of the people?

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