Of the 105 seats, 37 have only one candidate running for the job. In only 14 of the state's 35 districts are all three legislative seats contested, and two of those districts are right here.
All three Republican incumbents in
"The voters 'round there, they're becoming a little bit skeptical of the same old kind of person who gets elected on just promises of no taxes and ... jewels and treasures for everyone at the same time," Ferguson said. "And what they're looking for are candidates who recognize you need a good education system to help the economy and ... invest in roads and bridges and internet capabilities."
Silver said she considers herself a moderate; one of her reasons to run is wanting more balance.
"This area used to be represented by moderates, and that's kind of changed," Silver said. "I think I bring a moderate attitude to most things."
On the spectrum of
"I'm ideological in sort of a broad sense," Hartgen said. "I'm Republican, I'm conservative, particularly on fiscal matters. But I'm not hugely ideological."
Three major issues for the candidates on both sides are education funding,
Clow, who is on the
"I think everybody recognizes that education of our young people is tremendously important," he said.
"It's not enough if we've just come back to 2009 levels without accounting for the additional students," Silver said, adding that teacher pay is still lower than the surrounding states.
Talkington, a retired teacher, said school started in
"2009 does not reflect the kind of education we want for
Hartgen said overall education spending has gone up 15 percent over the past two years, and that Superintendent of Public Instruction
"If 20 percent over three years is not enough, what do you want?" he asked.
Like many other Republican-run states,
Clow said his support for expansion would be "totally conditional on getting a federal waiver." He said he wants to emphasize primary care and moving to a managed care model for
Hartgen said he wants to focus on using state money to get the uninsured who are chronically ill primary care coverage through community health clinics; he estimates that would be about 30,000 of the 78,000 -- people with conditions like heart disease and diabetes. He said he supports asset testing for such a program, and he opposes
"What about our moral obligation to our grandkids not to leave them with 20 or 30 or
"It's the working poor," Silver said. "They don't have a lot of solutions, and we're keeping something from them. We take advantage of all sorts of federal programs."
Varney expressed a similar opinion.
"We are sending away our tax dollars to the federal government, and they're just sitting there, and they're not coming back, for what reason?" he said. "Is it to benefit the people, or is it because the
Talkington said it is both a moral and an economic question, pointing to the money the counties spend on indigent care and the millions of dollars in unpaid medical debt hospitals like
"Two-thirds of them (in the gap) are working Idahoans who make too little to buy their own insurance and make too much to qualify for
Since then, many
"How are we going to pay for it?" Varney asked. "We're going to talk about a tax cut, but we're going to take over our public lands. We're going to sell them off?"
Talkington said the current land management system is "terribly broken" and that diversion of much of the federal money that should go toward restoration and management into firefighting is partly to blame, but the state can't afford to take over.
"Quite frankly the state doesn't have the money to do that, unless they're going to take it from somewhere else," Talkington said. "And I think there's great concern that there's an underlying motive for doing this."
Supporters of more state management argue the state would do a better job of management, reducing the number of wildfires by doing more logging and clearing. They say fears the land would be sold or closed off are wrong.
"She knows that the state is working forward to create a model of cooperative management of federal lands, and yet she presents me as if I'm somehow trying to engineer some backroom, secret cabal of clandestine land sales," Hartgen said.
Heider views management rather than changing ownership as the solution.
"There's not one of us who says we're going to take over ... all the federal land in the state of
However, one of those
The district is one of the state
"That district wants more Republican leadership to be able to give them a better voice in
The big issues in
"Education is always top of the list of people's concerns," Stennett said.
"Education is the priority," Toone said. "It needs to be the priority in the state of
Toone said improvements are needed in a number of areas, including funding and partnerships with employers. A well educated work force will help attract more businesses, she said.
"You have the educated work force, you have jobs, and we're falling behind a little bit right now," Toone said. "We need to seek those out."
Stennett said the state has made some progress on education over the past two sessions, praising initiatives such as increased funding for literacy and STEM education. She said there is a lot more to do, however, noting the high number of supplemental levies and teacher pay levels still lower than many other states'.
"All I know is, we need to be more competitive," she said. "Our wages are not competitive."
Ewersen, too, said education funding is the issue he hears about most from voters. He said he wants to keep funding the career ladder and to raise education funding as long as the state can afford it. Currently, state revenues are coming in higher than projected.
Sutter is also interested in education policy, saying he would like school districts to have more freedom to decide how they spend the money they get from the state and possibly reforms to the formula for how discretionary dollars are given out. He stressed spending money better, rather than spending more.
"Competition and choice breeds innovation and solutions that weren't thought of before," he said. "I think the status quo of our current educational system is going to kill it."
Eder said protecting access to public lands is probably the biggest issue for her, noting that tourism and outdoor recreation are a major economic driver in the district and saying she opposes the movement to transfer them to state control.
"I haven't heard anyone really in favor of that," she said.
Miller supports a bigger state role in land management. If nobody else does it, he said, he would consider introducing a bill similar to one Rep.
"I don't know anybody and especially me that wants to sell that land to the highest bidder ... I'm an old school multiple-use guy," Miller said.
Ewersen, too, said he wants to see more collaborative state/federal management of federal public lands. He said he doesn't propose transferring ownership to the state, but he thinks a greater emphasis on multiple use and logging and grazing would help reduce the number of catastrophic fires.
"It's just a matter of common sense to me to reduce the fuel loads," he said.
Eder, who has been on hospital boards, said extending health coverage to people in the gap is another of her priorities.
"I think Idahoans need something to happen," she said. "There's just too many people that are in the gap."
Stennett said she hopes the legislative work group that is studying the "
"We need to be taking better care of them," she said.
Sutter said he is "not a fan of expanding
Miller said the "medical home" model, where a patient works with a team of care providers, has shown promise. This was a key part of Gov.
Miller said he isn't for straight
"With a waivered expansion," he said, "then you can do it the way you want to do it."
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