Primary Elections Voting07.JPG

People vote in the Idaho primary elections at the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho in Nampa 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 19

Name: Aaron J. Tribble

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83712
Rep. Wintrow

Rep. Melissa Wintrow

Name: Melissa Wintrow

Questions:

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

Aaron J. Tribble: Did not submit a survey response. 

Melissa Wintrow: I will continue to build on the relationships I have made and continue to pass legislation that focuses on the needs of everyday Idahoans. I will fight special interest groups that are working against the best interests of Idahoans, like one last session that blocked a bill I introduced to provide protection orders for sexual assault survivors and another large organization that fought against providing basic rights for tenants to protect their security deposits.

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

Melissa Wintrow: I served in the Idaho House for 6 years, passing significant legislation that transformed how we process, track, and preserve sexual assault evidence; Idaho’s system is being adopted nationwide. My committees include Joint Finance & Appropriations, Transportation & Defense, and Judiciary & Rules. I also serve on the Governor's Criminal Justice Commission and Public Defense Commission. On his COVID Financial Committee, I led the charge on a proposal to provide $15 million for rental assistance.

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

Melissa Wintrow: Year after year, Idaho falls short of its constitutional duty to fund a uniform and free public education system. With the tremendous growth we are seeing, assessing new development impact fees would go a long way to make growth pay for itself instead of on the backs of long time residents. As we build homes and neighborhoods, developers could pay for the fair share of building needed new schools or expanding existing schools through appropriate impact fees.

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

Melissa Wintrow: Overpopulation! Instead of building more prisons, we need to keep people who leave prison from returning by investing in effective re-entry systems and providing resources to help people obtain affordable housing, employment, and health care - things that keep people in community and save money. One program I worked on is to ensure that everyone leaving prison has a photo ID, so they can get a job. Decriminalize minor drug offenses, invest in treatment, and reduce supervision times when we can.

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

Melissa Wintrow: COVID19 underscores the need to invest in systems to support tele-health. Accessibility and affordability to health care along with predatory debt collection continue to plague us as a state. Idaho ranks at the bottom for doctors per capita. Investment in medical residencies leads to more doctors staying in Idaho, improving health outcomes. To control the COVID pandemic we need strong centralized leadership and strategies that rely on health professionals and science NOT politics.

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

Melissa Wintrow: In 2019, we started collecting internet sales tax, with about $80 million in the fund now, but sequestered it away from the general fund. I support investing the $80 million in education now to mitigate the Governor’s cuts during COVID. Remove the cap on the homeowners exemption, raise the amount, and reinstate the indexing to mitigate skyrocketing property taxes due to high growth. Increase tax exemption in the circuit breaker program to support low income senior citizens.

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

Melissa Wintrow: A 2014 Pew Charitable Trust study estimated 21% of the voting-eligible population in the U.S. were not registered to vote, and registration requirements contribute to lower voter turnout. I support initiatives that remove barriers to registration, like automatic voter registration and motor voter programs. I also support a permanent absentee ballot process where voters can choose to vote by mail permanently. Early voting, election day registration, and vote by mail are all things I support.

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?

Melissa Wintrow: We must create an appropriate way to fund transportation infrastructure that doesn't drain our state's general fund and includes a robust public transit system. With more electric and fuel efficient cars on the road, we need to look beyond a traditional gas tax and look at more creative solutions like user fees and local option taxes. Ada and Canyon County leaders should also consult with COMPASS, our metropolitan planning organization, for guidance and recommendations to meet regional needs.

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

Melissa Wintrow: I support local option tax authority and transportation impact fees to fund projects like public transit, especially since the state legislature has not included public transit in its vision of transportation infrastructure. Local option tax authority puts the power in local voters' hands to make decisions that have an impact on their daily lives.


 

Idaho State House District 19 A

Name: Jim Feederle

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83714
Rep. Lauren Necochea

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Name: Lauren Necochea

Questions:

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

Jim Feederle: Did not submit a survey response. 

Lauren Necochea: I will work to make Idaho a place where everyone has the opportunity to see their hard work translate to financial security and where every child has a bright future. I have seen the Legislature cater to special interests at the expense of Idahoans. I will be a voice for people who are marginalized in the political process. State lawmakers are shortsighted, neglecting investments that would save money down the road. I will advocate for wise investments that will allow our communities to thrive.

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

Lauren Necochea: I earned a B.A. in economics and a master’s in public affairs. I spent eight years studying issues in Idaho, including health care, education, child well-being, and fiscal policy. Whether I was advocating for Medicaid expansion or analyzing tax policy, I uncovered many opportunities to correct shortsighted decisions our state has made. I had the honor of being selected for appointment to this seat from a competitive field. I jumped in headfirst, proposing multiple bills in my first session.

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

Lauren Necochea: School funding is inadequate and inequitable. Schools need more state resources so they can stop relying on supplemental levies for basic needs. We should allow school districts to collect impact fees from developers to cover building costs. Higher education helps Idahoans earn family-sustaining wages and supports our economy, but tuition remains a barrier, especially for students of color. We need to increase need-based scholarships so Idahoans can get the skills they need to thrive.

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

Lauren Necochea: When we invest early, we avoid costs later. Supporting the healthy development of our young children is proven to reduce involvement in the criminal justice system. We must also help people find success after incarceration. I co-sponsored the Fair Chance Employment Act to prevent employers from disqualifying job candidates with a record before reviewing their applications. I support sentencing reform and sealing records of non-violent offenses when people go three years without recommitting.

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

Lauren Necochea: Our behavioral health care system is fragmented and under-resourced. Inadequate Medicaid services threaten our residents, particularly Idahoans with disabilities. Idaho must invest in the services and workforce pipeline that keep people healthy. The rate of uninsured children is growing. Allowing more kids to enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program would keep kids healthy and unlock dollars available to Idaho that cover most of the cost.

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

Lauren Necochea: Idahoans deserve fair, responsible tax policies. I support: increasing the homeowner’s exemption, increasing property tax assistance for seniors and veterans, allowing schools to charge developers impact fees to cover new school construction, making the child tax credit fully accessible to families with low to moderate wages, reviewing sales and income tax exemptions, and reversing recent revenue cuts that benefit top income earners and corporations and penalize some middle-class families.

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

Lauren Necochea: We should do everything possible to increase access to the ballot, including automatic voter registration. Idaho voters should be able to request mail-in ballots online in every election (not just during a pandemic) as opposed to being required to mail a form to the county clerk. I also support open primaries so that voters can participate even if they do not want to affiliate with a political party.

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?

Lauren Necochea: We have not kept up with maintenance on our roads and bridges and are ill-prepared to meet future transportation needs. Idaho is one of only two states that do not fund public transit. That must change to address growth and reduce congestion. Our gas tax is not tied to inflation and must be adjusted periodically. We are overdue in making this adjustment. An increase in commercial trucking registration fees is necessary to generate revenue proportional to the wear and tear these trucks cause.

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

Lauren Necochea: I support local option tax authority. This allows local governments to propose projects while voters make the ultimate decision. Cities and counties need this tool to drive investment in many of the key building blocks of economic development. Transportation is a huge barrier to residents seeking the best employment opportunities. We are also seeing increased road congestion in the Treasure Valley. Local option tax authority can help us address these challenges and protect our quality of life.


Idaho State House District 19 B

James F. Jacobson

James F. Jacobson

Name: James F Jacobson

  • Party: Rep
  • Mailing Address: Boise, 83714
Chris Mathias

Chris Mathias

Name: Chris Mathias

Questions:

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

James F Jacobson: I want to support and help craft legislation that practically benefits Idahoans economic prosperity, safety, and education. I want to encourage and maintain for myself public service as a public and private virtue that expresses civility and respect with emphasis on serving Idahoans broadly.

Chris Mathias: I hope to be an effective voice for D19 residents and their values. I hope to promote true competition of ideas between Republicans and Democrats, and work to create family-sustaining wages, real healthcare, and stronger public schools. And I’d like to see immediate implementation of the Governor’s “Our Kids, Our Future” Task Force recommendations for K-12 education. This is a bi-partisan roadmap for making solid, measurable improvements to our education system and there is little time to waste.

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

James F Jacobson: I have been a practicing attorney for sixteen years, which includes running my own law firm for the the last nine years. My experience in the law has been varied and deep, with a commitment to excellence for my clients. Additionally, I have volunteered in various civic and church organizations and given of my time to serve and help others without expectation of return for myself. I am a devoted husband and father of seven.

Chris Mathias: I have the requisite fortitude having overcame some difficult childhood experiences. Additionally, I served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and earned a law degree and PhD in Law and Public Policy. I’ve been a U.S. Senate law clerk and for over a decade, I’ve devoted my professional life to education, including service as the former Chief Academic Officer for the Idaho State Board of Education. I have experience serving as an Idaho legislator; I've been an occasional substitute for my state senator.

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

James F Jacobson: I would support funding decisions that maximize opportunity and choice in education for all Idaho children and young people. Education is the pathway to great opportunity, and in the pursuit of education a person's individual drive and determination have a greater impact than any other factor. Children naturally want to learn, and maximizing opportunity and choice will create the best educated children.

Chris Mathias: Our state must stop divesting from public education. It’s forcing residential property tax payers to increasingly fund their public schools. The quality of our schools, and the instruction that occurs inside them, should not be contingent on the appraised value of homes in a community. Idaho’s K-12 and higher education systems need new funding formulas. Both systems are limping along on outdated models. New funding formulas have been proposed and they should be further refined and implemented.

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

James F Jacobson: We do good things with programs that help with rehabilitation but we can do more. Providing education and opportunity for personal growth for many in the prison system is the most effective thing we can do to control recidivism. Additionally, we have to be better at helping those being released transition back into society in safe and stable ways so that they do not continue to see themselves as linked to the system for survival.

Chris Mathias: Idaho has the nation’s highest rate of incarceration due to supervision violations. The legislature could stop incarcerating people simply for their inability to remain compliant with probation or parole. They could also eliminate the fees and fines that criminalize poverty and keep people trapped in the system, knowing that compliance depends on stable housing and a living wage. We must also continue to reduce the number of non-violent prisoners being incarcerated at great expense to our state.

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

James F Jacobson: We need affordable healthcare and healthcare insurance. Achieving those obvious goals requires a multi-tiered approach. We need greater competition in the marketplace, with affordable care options that link the payor and the health care service receiver. We need greater competition within health insurance, but that is more difficult given the current insurance system.

Chris Mathias: In this moment of global pandemic, we’re vividly seeing that our health is entwined with every member of our community. When we all have access to preventive and primary care (including mental and behavioral healthcare), when none of us live in fear of being one illness away from bankruptcy, when we can see a doctor no matter our employment status, we all do better. We must continue to implement Medicaid Expansion, eliminate work waivers, and and seek solutions beyond employer-based insurance.

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

James F Jacobson: We desperately need property tax reform and relief from escalating home values. We also need other tax relief, and the grocery tax would be an ideal target to repeal. I would also favor a reduction in income tax. The primary rebuttal to reducing taxes is that it will shrink revenue and, therefore, services. However, austerity breeds efficiencies and priorities. No tax payer wants to see their tax dollar spent inefficiently. We can provide the necessary services without always increasing revenue.

Chris Mathias: I would support two immediate changes. 1)The legislature should repeal the grocery tax (and accompanying tax-credits) and use internet sales tax dollars to offset the loss. 2) We need property tax relief for homeowners now. This should include fully funding our public school system and offering relief from local supplemental levies, reforming the homeowner’s exemption, and discontinuing the practice of shifting the tax burden from commercial properties to residential properties.

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

James F Jacobson: I do not see this as an urgent or pressing issue. We can make changes and keep pace with appropriate, secure technology, but we do not need to fundamentally change the voting process at this point.

Chris Mathias: Increased access to the ballot should be a shared and essential Idaho value, regardless of party affiliation. We should seek to make voter registration automatic whenever possible, including when our young Idahoans turn 18. As evidenced in this pandemic, voting by mail should be an essential part of keeping our elections convenient and safe, increasing participation for all. Lastly, no one should ever have to spend a dime to vote, including the cost of a stamp.

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?

James F Jacobson: Federal dollars primarily fund high volume, interstate roads. The biggest priority will be in the local transportation, with a primary focus on expanding main arteries. Funding should be helped by an expanded tax base, due to the population influx necessitating the transportation expansion.

Chris Mathias: Idaho already has a long list of deferred maintenance on our rapidly-aging roads and bridges. We need infrastructure to responsively manage the number of cars on the road, in a way that does not compromise our air and water quality. Idaho needs a 20 year, proactive plan for a 21st century transportation system, funded by a rescission of the most outdated exemptions and deductions in our state tax code, the unutilized internet sales tax fund, and increased taxes on tobacco and vaping products.

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

James F Jacobson: No I do not. Once the option is there is will be exercised and then it becomes very difficult to roll it back. Every household in this state has to make choices about fiscal priorities, and government should not have to do any less.

Chris Mathias: Yes, especially if the state is going to continue divesting in essential functions, like public education and transportation. I am comfortable allowing local governments to petition their own residents to fund citizen-driven priorities.

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