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The Idaho Press partnered with the League of Women Voters to conduct candidate surveys for the May 19 primary. You may also search for your ballot items by address, at Candidates were responsible for grammar and spelling, and answers were limited to 500 characters.  

Senate District 10

Uncontested primaries:

  • Democrat: Toni Ferro, Caldwell

Republican primary:

Sen. Jim Rice

Sen. Jim Rice

Jim Rice, Caldwell

  • Campaign Phone: (208) 891-4178
  • Campaign Facebook: Jim Rice for Idaho
Christopher Trakel

Christopher Trakel

Christopher T. Trakel, Caldwell

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: I hope to reduce the current high property tax that continues to rise on residents. Proper funding for our schools and eliminating dependence on supplemental levies, the state should be supporting our educational system. Protection of property and personal rights. Limited government regulations on none government issues. Due to the recent situation and the loss of jobs and impact on residents I want to look at possible tax breaks to help those affected.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: My Career in the military has taught me the importance of strong leadership and being able to implement effective solutions for problems. I have been in situations that required delicate negotiation to create mutually beneficial relationships for a greater good. I understand the value of teamwork and seeking out input from those around me, along with available information, to make an informative decision. I have a strong commitment to my community and to make their well being my main concern.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: Today schools in Idaho have become overwhelmingly dependent on supplemental levies. The state has a responsibility to ensure public education is properly funded and should not be placing that duty on property owners. It is time to re-evaluate the state budget and to reduce programs that are not vital, or can be done better in the private sector. Reducing elected officials annual salaries to reflect salaries of Idaho residents could also greatly help with the revenue needed to fund education.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: Over crowding. It is time to re-consider removing mandatory minimums for non violent crime. Possibly using more community service hours as punishment. A program inmates could utilize while in prison that would teach a trade or craft that after completing would grant them a license in that field. Possibly working with businesses that could offer jobs as they prepare for release. This way the individual would have a set of skills and a job upon release allowing for them to support themselves.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: Health care costs. We need more info of all medical and prescription costs made available to the patient upfront. Take costs out of the system i.e. charging $60 for ibuprofen when you can buy 200 pills for $4 from a store.

Cost of medication. Many pharmaceutical companies renew patents on drugs and thus remove competition. This needs to be stopped so other companies can produce these medications and create a competitive market.

Also Health ins. costs and care availability.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: My main focus is reducing or eliminating taxes on residents. Property tax, and income tax need to be reduced. I would like to see your property tax remain the same from when you purchase your home, and when sold the property would be assessed for the new owner. Sales tax does not need to be increased and we need to look at the possibility of reducing it from where it is now. I will never support a tax policy that would be an increase on the residents.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: I currently do not see and I am not aware of any problems with our present voting processes. I do not see a reason for updating the processes unless it is to make the whole process more available to people.

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?

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: Traffic, Idaho is rapidly growing and we are having more and more congestion on roads. The Highway Dept. needs to identify all the areas that are currently congested and the roads at future risk. Those projects need to begin now as small projects done over time so funding can be continuous as the work is done and it does not become a massive bill for a large project all at once Looking for more competition among contractors, and fining construction companies when they go over deadline.

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

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.

Christopher T. Trakel: I do not support local option sales tax for any city or county. I feel this would hurt the economies of those areas that do as people would shop in other areas where costs can be kept down. Again, I am against and do not support any tax increase on the residents of Idaho.

Idaho State House District 10 A

Uncontested primaries:

  • Democrat: Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson, Caldwell

Republican primary:

Jarom Wagoner, Caldwell

Julie Yamamoto, Caldwell

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

Rebecca Yamamoto Hanson: Candidate is unopposed in the primary and will be invited to respond for General Election.

Jarom Wagoner: Once re-elected, I will continue to work to return as much control to the local communities as possible. Allowing the government closest to the people to make their own choices is the best way to govern. I will also continue bringing solutions to our growing property tax issues, including increasing the homeowner’s exemption to reduce the tax burden for owner-occupied homes. Now, more than ever, we need to keep as much money in the pocket of our citizens as possible.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: I have served in the Idaho House for 3 years and am currently in a leadership role. I grew up in District 10 and have been serving our community for decades. I am a father to 3 children who attend our public schools. I worked as the City of Caldwell’s city planner. I am a small business owner who has experienced the ups and downs of running a business. I understand how regulations can hamper a business, how low taxes allow communities to thrive, and how the lightest touch of government is best.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: I would like to see local school districts have more control over their own funding. In addition to rewriting the funding formula, I would propose that we allow local jurisdictions to allocate a portion of their impact fees toward their schools’ budgets. This would help local school districts direct funds to where they need them the most.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: We have too many people in our prison system. To keep people on the right track and out of prison, we must provide them with the tools necessary to be productive members of our society through our education system. If someone does end up in prison, while incarcerated, we should provide them with life skills and broadly-applicable job training. Allowing prisoners to leave with a skill set to utilize after prison is a cost-effective way to keep them out of corrections and save taxpayer money.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: This pandemic has shown us the importance of ensuring that our healthcare system is prepared for a crisis. By providing our healthcare partners with the tools necessary to overcome these types of emergencies, we can limit the impact to our economy if a crisis were to happen again. Part of being prepared is having enough physicians in our state. We need to continue to attract more doctors to Idaho, and incentivize them to stay to practice medicine in our great State.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: I would support an increase to the Circuit Breaker, designed to protect older Idahoans, and homeowner's exemptions. These measures would reduce the property tax burden on those who have been most affected. I also believe that we should consider a complete overhaul of how we tax properties, income, and goods in our State to make sure that our citizens keep as much money in their pockets as possible.

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 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?

Jarom Wagoner: We need to find ways to incorporate technology in our voting process, while protecting the integrity of our voting system. Increasing voter turnout in our state will ensure that more Idahoans have a say over who is representing them. We should continue increasing access to absentee ballots and even exploring the possibility of electronic voting.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: With our incredible growth, Idaho has more cars on the road than ever. We need to ensure that we are protecting our transportation infrastructure, as it is more cost-effective to maintain what we have, rather than allowing it to deteriorate. Fuel tax is an antiquated tax and punishes those who don’t drive high MPG vehicles. We must find a better way to fund transportation, maintain existing infrastructure, and improve and expand where necessary.

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?

Jarom Wagoner: Yes, I most definitely do, as I believe that the people should have a say on how and when they are taxed. Local option provides local jurisdictions with the ability to govern themselves as they see fit. It also allows the people to prioritize their needs and decide if it is worth the tax to fund specified projects.

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

Idaho State House District 10 B

Uncontested races:

  • Republican: Greg Chaney, Caldwell
  • Democrat: Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln, Caldwell

(Candidates will face each other in the November general election; they will be invited to participate in the General Election Voter Guide.)

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