Support Local Journalism


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.  

Idaho State Senate District 15

Uncontested primary:

Rick Just.jpg

Democrat: Rick Just, Boise

Republican primary:

Sarah A Clendenon, Boise (did not respond)

Fred S. Martin.jpg

Fred S. Martin

Fred S. Martin, Boise

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 70,000 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. I support removing the grocery sales tax if a solution to replace that state revenue is provided. 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.

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

All uncontested primaries:

Rep. Steve Berch

Rep. Steve Berch

Democrat: Steve Berch, Boise

Campaign Phone: (208) 890-9339

Constitution Party: David W. Hartigan, Boise

Republican: Patrick E McDonald, Boise

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, infrastructure, healthcare, managing growth, keeping up with the cost of living, and access to public lands. I will continue working to improve these issues that impact people’s lives the most.

David W. Hartigan: tCandidate is unopposed in the primary and will be invited to respond for General Election.

Patrick E McDonald: t- no response -

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 27 years.

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.

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.

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 those who are truly in need – it’s what a civilized society does. Current fiscal policies are under-funding essential healthcare services. The legislature treats healthcare as a low priority, as evident by their efforts to undermine Medicaid expansion, even after the voters throughout Idaho overwhelmingly approved it.

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 residential property owners. 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 don’t demonstrate a net benefit to the state.

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. I support making Election Day a statewide holiday (which would shorten lines at the polls), lengthen the time to vote early across all counties, and investigate a vote-by-mail-only approach that other states have adopted, especially as we deal with the current pandemic.

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 (roads, mass transit) between Boise and Caldwell must be secured now while it can. If we wait, it will be too late. Funding can come (at least 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.

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.

Race: Idaho State House District 15 B

Rep. Jake Ellis

Rep. Jake Ellis

Uncontested primaries:

Democrat: Jake Ellis, Boise

Codi Galloway

Codi Galloway

Republican: Codi Galloway, Boise

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: Three things are important to me:

Education, as a former public school teacher I believe education is Idaho’s greatest opportunity and we have many ways we can better serve the students in Idaho.

Healthcare, as a small business owner for the past 20 years I have paid for the majority of my own healthcare and health insurance. It is expensive, hard to access, and inequitable. I’d like to see this change for all Idahoans.

Economy, smaller government is the key to a thriving private industry and a

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.

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: The number one thing we can do to improve education is to reduce class size. I would adjust funding to make sure that happened

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: I do not have any experience on this issue and would prefer not to comment on things I do not understand.

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: Without a medical school and our growing population, accessibility is becoming more and more of a problem. I recommend increased education opportunities.

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: In the tax balance equation, I recommend reducing income and property tax. If funding must be shifted, sales tax is my favorite tax.

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: I don’t have any thoughts on this; I am not sure what the options are.

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: generally no

Load comments