Election Results

District 17 - State Representative, Position B

Candidate Votes Percentage
Sue Chew (D) 11,780
70%
Kevin Rhoades (R) 5,021
30%

Candidate Survey Responses (showing all responses received)

Party
Sue Chew
Democrat
Democrat
Education
Sue Chew
Democrat
I received my undergraduate degree in the Biology of Natural Resources from the University of California - Berkeley and my Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of California - San Francisco. I completed my residency in geriatrics at the Boise VA Medical Center.
Occupation and relevant work experience
Sue Chew
Democrat
I am a community pharmacist and have worked in both hospital and clinical settings, including the Boise VA Medical Center and St. Alphonsus. As healthcare is a major concern for Idahoans, I believe this gives me a unique perspective when handling the healthcare needs of Idaho’s population.
Past political experience and campaigns
Sue Chew
Democrat
I have been proud to represent District 17 in the Idaho Legislature, and it would be my honor to continue doing so. While serving District 17, I have constantly sought out the opinions and concerns of the community. I am able to do this by visiting people at their doors, having town hall meetings and forums, and holding office hours every week while I am in session at Borah High School.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy for yourself or for your business? If yes, please tell us when and the circumstances.
Sue Chew
Democrat
No
Have you been convicted of any misdemeanor or felony charges? (Traffic citations not included). If yes, what were the convictions and the circumstances?
Sue Chew
Democrat
No
Why are you running for this office?
Sue Chew
Democrat
I would like to continue working with constituents in our community. Just as I have done in the past, I would like to see students walk legislation door-to-door with me and gather input from the neighborhoods. i.e. Community members expressed concerns over the opioid epidemic and fears of calling in overdoses. I worked with our the Attorney General’s Criminal Unit, law enforcement, community members, and students to develop the Good Samaritan Bill which allows people to call in drug overdoses without fear of being cited.
What are your top three priorities if elected?
Sue Chew
Democrat
1. We need to work to replace old and unsafe roads and bridges in our Idaho communities, in addition to securing a transportation system practical for the 21st century. 2. We need to increase access to affordable healthcare in Idaho. We need to make sure that we are caring for our residents that currently do not have access to healthcare. This is both the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do. 3. We also need to work towards improving the public education system in Idaho. Section 1 of the Idaho State Constitution requires that the Idaho Legislature “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”
Why should voters select you over your opponent(s)?
Sue Chew
Democrat
I believe in the dignity of every person in the community. When I meet a constituent, regardless of whether their views align with mine or not, I try to truly understand them with an open heart and an open mind. I am actively reaching out and encouraging people to share their ideas, so as a community, we can draft legislation, then continually improve the bill as we speak with more members of the community. In this sense, I differ from my opponent, and if elected, I would continue listening to my constituents' concerns and finding solutions that work for not just one group of people, but for all of us in the community.
Should Idaho create a state fund to support the construction of new K-12 schools?
Sue Chew
Democrat
No. I strongly support the funding of public education and giving schools more flexibility in how they spend their money. Line-item type funding actually mandates that every school district has to use their money in the same way as others. This leaves schools with money to spend on things that they do not need and other schools underfunded on things that they feel would better the education of their students. Taking away these constraints and instead increasing discretionary money would be more in line with what our school districts and public charter schools are asking for.
Should Idaho reduce the threshold for voter approval of local bonds from a two-thirds majority?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes, we should. We have seen many school districts just miss being able to get approval because of a few points. If we lower this 67% threshold to 60%, it would still require a large percentage of the community to approve while allowing more districts to pass bonds that will greatly benefit the community.
Is Idaho sufficiently funding its higher-ed institutions?
Sue Chew
Democrat
No, students are asked to pay a significantly higher proportion of the operating costs of the public university and college system to offset the cuts made in the last 15 years from the state funds. Rather than continue this decreasing trend, it is time to restore it. In the last 40 years, students have seen a 69 fold increase in tuition. A major reason why Idaho has such low high school to college go-on rate is because the escalating tuition has been an obstacle for many students. A 2013-14 study found that for every state dollar invested in higher education, taxpayers received $5 in return. I believe that by prioritizing higher education, we will see many benefits throughout our community.
Does Idaho have an obligation to provide any funding for pre-K education?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Because we have an education requirement in our constitution, I really do believe it amounts to an obligation to provide funding for Pre-k education. Whitney school has high percentage of students in poverty and greater than 50% start kindergarten not ready to read. With the use of a Pre-k program that was very frugally designed and implemented a family involvement aspect, nearly every student was successfully ready for reading when they started kindergarten. Without this program, data indicates that most of these students would not have been ready. A local law enforcement officer in our community put it this way; if we neglect our Pre-k responsibilities, we at best start planning for an increase in prison beds.
Should Idaho create a state fund to support public transportation?
Sue Chew
Democrat
No. While we should definitely explore a funding source for public transportation, the better fix is a general Local Option Tax. This allows local entities the ability to tax on issues according to their needs, such as courtroom improvements, jail construction, or public transportation. I think that would better align to our values that the best government is that which is closest to its people.
Should state law be changed to allow Idaho cities and counties to institute a local option sales tax in order to pay for public safety projects, such as courtroom improvements or jail construction?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes, as a general local option tax. I believe that if all the local entities that wish to bring local option taxes on their specific issues, such as courtroom improvements or jail construction, work together, we could get consensus in the Idaho state legislature for a general local option tax. Only if we are unable to pass a broader, general law, should we pass many individual local option laws issue by issue.
Do you support a repeal of Idaho?s state grocery tax?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes. Repealing the grocery tax would help those who need it most. The tax credit currently in place often does not help those most vulnerable, and may who are eligible find the red tape too cumbersome.
Would you respect the will of the voters should Idahoans elect to expand Medicaid?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes
Would you respect the will of the voters should Idahoans elect to bring historical horse race betting back to Idaho?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes
Should Idaho remove the exemption protecting practitioners of faith healing from prosecution following the death of a child?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes. We raise our children with the belief that we do our best to ensure their health and safety. We should be reasonably utilizing modern medicine to prevent these type of deaths.
Does Idaho need to change its cannabis laws, be it through decriminalization or legalization for medical or recreational use?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes. Much of our problem with needing to build more prisons has to do with putting nonviolent offenders charged only with possession in prison rather than dealing with these charges with nonprison solutions. Thoughtful decriminalization as prescribed in a bill that my colleague, Representative John Gannon, brought before us last year gives due consideration for first time offenders found with half an ounce or less. If they do 8 hours’ community service or pay 250 dollars and attend a 4-hour class on drugs, the misdemeanor would be reduced to an infraction. This would allow young people to move forth with their future, qualify for student loans, etc. In addition, I would support careful consideration for the legalization of medical marijuana. As a pharmacist, I have witnessed relief from otherwise intractable conditions for for cancer patients, etc and feel that there could be a place for medical marijuana in our state.
Would you support legislation prohibiting gun ownership for two years for persons convicted of domestic violence?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes. I supported Representative Melissa Wintrow?s bill that was carefully constructed and brought all interested parties to the table. I look forward to further discussions this year regarding the matter.
The Idaho Board of Correction is requesting $500 million for a prison expansion. Do you support this expansion, why or why not?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Any solution to Idaho’s problem of overcrowded prisons must include substantive sentencing reform. While I would support the expansion of medium security prison beds in Idaho, which the Idaho Department of Corrections has stated as its main concern, if we simply construct new facilities without sentencing reform, those new facilities would be beyond capacity when construction is finished. Furthermore, the proposed allocation for new specialty beds may not be the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars at this time. Rather, a much more prudent solution would require first a more holistic assessment, including reevaluation of Idaho’s harsh drug sentencing laws, including, but not limited to, providing judges discretion when sentencing minor, non-violent drug offences, prioritizing probation and community re-entry programs, removing mandatory minimum sentencing, and expanding substance use disorder services, all of which would reduce both prison time and recidivism rates.
Idaho?s justice reinvestment committee is exploring changes to drug sentencing law in Idaho as a tool for reducing the state?s prison population. What do you think should be done in the area of drug sentencing laws?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Firstly, as the increasing rate of convictions of minor drug offences is one of the two largest factors behind Idaho’s exploding prison population, we should change some thresholds concerning drug crimes, reclassifying some felonies to misdemeanors and some misdemeanors to infractions. Decreasing the number of felony convictions for minor drug offenses would substantially decrease the prison population. We could also provide judges more discretion when sentencing minor drug offences, prioritize probation over prison time, expand community re-entry programs, substance use disorder services, and remove mandatory minimum sentencing, all of which have been shown to be much more effective and less costly than imprisoning offenders in the more traditional ways.
Does Idaho need to raise the minimum wage above $7.25 an hour?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes, it has been found to be one of the leading means by which we stimulate the local economy. In the case of a $2/hr raise that translates into full time workers earning $4,000 more per year. Individuals can use that money to fix their car, or buy a new appliance. For example, the owner of one of our local restaurants showed that increasing wages for 24 employees by 2 dollars an hour would only result in a 35 cent ‘s increase in his menu costs. In addition, when he interviewed local restaurant owners, even high end restaurants with $50-100 meal prices showed they would only have to increase meal prices by less than 1 dollar.
Would you support legislation requiring personal financial disclosure for statewide candidates in Idaho?
Sue Chew
Democrat
Yes, transparency is important.