November 2016 Treasure Valley Voters Guide

Welcome to our Voter Guide for November's local races, bonds and levies, as well as the presidential election. Compare candidates' views on the issues side by side and create your own ballot, which you can then print or email.

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...Please note: Candidates' responses have not been edited except for libel.

Idaho House District 19 - Seat A

Incumbent: Democrat Mathew Erpelding Term: Two yearsSalary: $16,684

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    Mathew Erpelding

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Biographical Information

Name your three priorities for Idaho. Do you support current policy on them? if not, describe your alternate plan. How would you pay for your proposals that have costs associated with them?

How should Idaho address the health care needs of the 78,000 residents in the so-called gap population? Do you support Medicaid expansion in some form? Some other proposal? Please address funding for the option you prefer.

What is the state's obligation to public schools? Is Idaho spending enough on buildings, teachers and operations? How can Idaho improve its go-on rate for students leaving high school?

What is your position on the relationship between the federal government, the states and local governments? Is the state right or wrong to hinder or pre-empt action on the local level? Should the state work to take more ownership or control of federal lands in Idaho?

Name three actions taken by the Legislature this past session that you opposed. Name three you supported or would support. Explain.

What is the proper role of a part-time citizen Legislature? Do you think Idaho’s current system works? Does the Legislature function well or do you see need for changes or improvements?

Do you support your party’s presidential nominee? Explain. Include in your answer who you plan to vote for and why.

Have you been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, a misdemeanor or felony or had a withheld judgment? If so, what, when and where?

Have you or a company you owned filed bankruptcy? If so, when and where?

Age 45
Education BA Psychology - Idaho State University MA Adult and Organizational Learning - University of Idaho
Prior political experience I was compelled to get more formally involved in Idaho politics in 2010 when the Luna Laws passed the legislature. At that time, I became an active member of the Ada County Democrats serving as the vice chair in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, I was a house minority caucus staff member and that fall was elected to my first term in the Idaho House of Representatives. I currently serve my colleagues as the Assistant Minority Leader.
Civic involvement Former board member of the Cancer Connection of Idaho. Paradise Point Episcopal Camp volunteer.
Years living in Idaho 17 years
Family Wife - Elizabeth Erpelding
Twitter page @erpforidaho
support a statewide system of great public schools for our children. Current policy uses the convenience of "local control" to justify starving rural and small school districts of the resources they need to maximize opportunity for our children. Investing in world-class education programs beginning with early childhood and culminating with workforce training programs is necessary.

Our economy depends on wise investments and enhancing our national reputation. I support quality investments in infrastructure like broadband, roads and bridges, but current policy comes up short. I support enhancing our national reputation by updating the human rights act (add the words), and refocusing energy on creating opportunity for everyone to thrive.

Our quality of life must be protected including our clean air and water and access to public lands. I oppose current attempts to transfer our public lands to the state. Yet, a basic quality of life evades nearly 78K working Idahoans who cannot access healthcare. Basic coverage would help these working Idahoans avoid unrecoverable medical bankruptcy.
No hard-working Idahoan should fear medical bankruptcy. Period. I believe that the 78,000 hard-working Idahoans in this economic bracket have been treated unfairly by the legislature. I support full Medicaid redesign and believe that the savings of nearly $44 million dollars next year alone is worth the commitment.

The opportunity to provide healthcare coverage, while lowering property taxes, is an example of excellent public policy. Currently, states like Idaho that have not moved forward with Medicaid redesign see healthcare costs increasing at rates faster than those that take advantage of the full program.

Medicaid redesign includes becoming a managed care system providing patients with cost-effective methods to deal with chronic illnesses and avoiding expensive hospital stays. Additionally, a healthier Idaho improves economic output and minimizes workdays lost due to illness. Lastly, Idaho desperately needs more tools to help deliver mental health care. Medicaid will cover the medical costs of those who need ongoing mental health care thereby decreasing the use of more expensive crisis centers.
The state is constitutionally obligated to “to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” The current policy uses the convenience of “local control” to justify unequalized property tax levies across the state. This causes a disconnected system that is far from “uniform.” Additionally funding levels remain at or around 2009 levels, nearly 8 years ago.

I support the plan to invest in new teachers through the career ladder, and I remain committed to implementing it as planned. However, I do not support the increasing unequalized levies across the state. When the legislature adequately invests in education, school districts will serve students better and be less dependent upon revenues from unequal property tax levies.

Improving go-on rates requires the state to convert to a “go-on” culture that includes investing in early childhood education programs, ensuring that literacy proficiency is met by the third grade, and ensuring parents, teachers, and career counselors have the resources needed to encourage “go-on” behaviors beginning in elementary school.
The legislature likes to unfairly change rules based on their “emerging” ideology. Local control is a critical “management premise” for the legislature. After all, the best government is handled locally. The year, the state’s pre-emption on minimum wage increases was particularly egregious as it even outlawed local citizen initiatives. I opposed it.

The management of our public lands is a long-standing contractual agreement between Idaho and the United States of America. At statehood, Idaho gave away all “right and title” to national public lands in the state. This long-standing contract has served the state, the country, and every American citizen well. I see no reason to change as Idaho cannot afford to management the land without selling off large portions. This is another example of ideology trumping practicality and is not in the interests of Idaho.

I support better management techniques for our public lands to protect our environment, meet our economy's needs, and to preserve access for every American, especially Idahoans.
I supported and co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that passed and co-sponsored a couple that did not pass. Increased investments in our public defense system (HB 504), legislation establishing evidence testing standards for victims of rape (HB580) and an appropriation to develop a mental health crisis center in Ada County all became law in 2016—I was excited to vote for each one. I also sponsored HB400, an effort to slowly increase the minimum wage to 9.25 in Idaho. It did not pass and I will bring it back next year.

I opposed two bills that preempted local governments from establishing a local minimum wage or to control what goes into their landfill (HB463/HB362). I opposed legislation designed to intimidate land managers by determining public land to be a nuisance problem. This election-year bill will not improve land management techniques and, in fact, damages progress. Lastly,I opposed a bill to change how much a homeowner's exemption is worth because Boise homeowners are seeing an increase in home values and this bill will increase taxes on any home worth more than $200,001. This increase is unfair to hard-working homeowners.
I am honored to serve District 19 and it is humbling to have great support from my constituents. Many challenges are associated with the citizen legislature, but the only one that seriously concerns me is controlled by majority leadership.

Majority leadership sets an arbitrary deadline for adjournment and rushes to get everything done as opposed to getting everything done right. This is a simple fix that could be implemented by majority leadership. Their leadership could drive the discussion on what needs to be accomplished to make Idaho a better place to live rather than when we need to adjourn.

Timelines are emphasized over quality, problem-solving legislation. I will continue the majority leadership to stop implementing arbitrary timelines and to focus on real issues impacting Idahoans.
I understand that both presidential candidates are flawed, and I believe our two-party system and the amount of money involved in presidential politics is downright wrong. That said, I will support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States because I believe she will focus on improving wages for the middle class. Donald Trump has demonstrated no ability to propose realistic, affordable plans to move our country forward and he does has not demonstrated the temperament to represent our country.

Meanwhile, I will focus on making Idaho a better place to live, work and support a family. While national politics has become a circus, there are excellent local candidates, like myself, who want a better, more prosperous Idaho for everyone. That is why I am running and why I work so hard to improve our state.
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