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 23 - Seat B

Incumbent: Republican Pete Nielsen Term: Two yearsSalary: $16,684

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  • Megan Blanksma

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    William (Bill) Chisholm

  • Christopher Jenkins

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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?

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Age 73
Education Bachelor of Business Administration 1970 Idaho State University, Idaho certified EMT 83-87, yoga teacher training World Yoga University 1976
Prior political experience Numerous runs for public office since 1978 and many hearings before county and state legislature on a broad range of social and environmental issues.
Civic involvement Mid Snake Advisory Committee to Idaho Water Resources Board, City of Buhl Well Head Protection Committee, Buhl Citizens Committee, Board Member of Idaho Rural Council, Board Member Snake River Alliance, Board Member Idaho Conservation League, Board Member Magic Valley Habitat for Humanity.
Years living in Idaho Born and raised in Idaho, lived here 70 years.
Family three daughters
Protecting public lands is certainly a high priority and the attempts by those in the Legislature in seizing federal lands runs contrary to how many Idahoans feel. Limiting the influence and power of corporations in all aspects of our lives is a high priority. Make public policy for the good of the people, not for the enrichment of corporations. Water quantity and quality are key issues and I would push to reinstate the old "public interest" language into Idaho water law, so that adverse impacts which the use of water can be addressed. It is a safety net that was taken away by the lackeys of special interests.
We get health care and taking care of one's health mixed up and the second certainly impacts the costs and needs of the first. So we need more emphasis on taking care of ones health and alternatives in treatment, including medical marijuana. Medicaid expansion may in some form be needed, but avoiding the health care system should be the first priority. Also the assurance of clean water and air, and healthy food.
The State of Idaho does have a Constitutional responsibility to adequately fund the schools.. The problem I see is that the education system because of the insanity of teaching to the standardized tests is failing the students, the teachers and the public, by failing to teach critical thinking. We are either not funding or we are underfunding the fine arts, industrial arts and music. We've over sold the importance of college, learning is a lifelong thing, we need to make opportunities available not just right out of high school but throughout life.
We all live under the US Constitution, but there is always the danger of the imposition of some policy of one level imposing danger or hardship on the people. I was arrested for blocking nuclear waste shipments by the federal government into Idaho, so I think there are times that state or local government should push back. I also think that there are times when the federal government should intervene if the state or local government endangers the rights of a minority. I think the state too often impedes local government from taking important action on environmental issues and that the lower level of government can and should be able to enact stricter rules and not be less respected.
The whole push to grab control of the federal public lands is a waste of time and money. We should drop that effort. We should not be passing ideological legislation that the Attorney General advises is unconstitutional and then spend tax payer dollars on outside attorneys to defend and lose. Failure to Add the Words... All means All, equal protections under the law. I would support a well thought out and administered medical marijuana bill. It is insane that something that would help lessen people's suffering is denied for antiquated ideological reasons. I support the investment in solutions, not continued expenditure on problems... prison for many is a waste of their time and the taxpayers money. I would introduce to the Land Use Planning Act what I call the Good Neighbor and Responsible Development Process. Merely requiring that before one constructs a project, they look at it through their neighbors eyes to see if they might avoid a conflict.
The proper role is to help make government work of the people? I think the current system is broken because there are too many ideologues in the Legislature trying to impose their beliefs on people and too little time spent making good public policy through the discussion of ideas. What I will do is shake things up a bit. Bring thoughtful leadership based on common sense and good neighborliness.
I am an independent. I find both major party candidates equally unfit for different reasons. The whole process is flawed, partisan politics doesn't serve us well, the staggered primaries, where half the candidates drop out before the majority of the people have a chance to vote and the electoral college nullifies the will of the people. There is also too much money in the game, too much spent on worthless advertising and too little genuine voter information and candidate candor.
I have been convicted of several misdemeanors both in Nevada and in Idaho dealing with civil disobedience involving nuclear weapons testing in Nevada and nuclear waste storage in Idaho.
I have never filed for bankruptcy.
Age 46
Education Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Prior political experience None.
Civic involvement Ionic Lodge 82, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Cascade, Idaho. El Korah Shriners, Boise, Idaho
Years living in Idaho 16
Family A wife, Anna, 5 dogs (4 Heelers, and a Staffordshire Terrier), more cats than I can count, chickens, and ducks.
Expansion of available medical resources. The need for physicians in the rural areas of the state is obvious, but we must think outside of the traditional boxes. There are ways to utilized Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Registered Nurses which have not been discussed in the regulation arena that would allow for much better medical coverage of Idaho's citizens. There are many creative, and cost effective mechanisms available to expand coverage with little, or no increase in spending. All that would be needed is different ideas in paying for services.

Maintenance of the roads, and bridges. This is critical to our way of life. The issues of road maintenance cannot be kicked down the road for future worries. We have seen what happened when previous Legislatures passed the responsibility, and it resulted in very high tax increases on fuel, and vehicle registrations.

Education. We must find ways to do more with what we have. We may not necessarily need more monies, but to ensure the funds do not go to overhead, and administrator/ administrative costs. There are many creative ways to educate our students to the highest levels possible.
Health care is the product of a productive society which generates excess. The "so-called gap population" can be addressed by policies which allow for there to not be a penalty for paying cash for medical services. As current regulations are written, there are penalties for paying cash for medical services. The cash paying customer is billed at the highest amount, and expected to pay the full amount. The insurance companies, and government payers are given contractual discounts which are not passed to the cash patient. If someone is not able to obtain health insurance for whatever reason, they should not be penalized by higher prices. Under this option there is no need for any form of increased funding.
The state's obligation to public schools is to oversee the safety of the students in the classroom, quality of instruction, and set policies which will allow for Idaho youths to continue to college, or attend trade school if that is their desire.

The state spends enough funds on the infrastructure of education. The problem is making sure that the funds reach the intended recipients, and do not become diverted elsewhere. The localities set the pay for their teachers, and that is based upon the revenue from their tax base.

The go-on rate for students leaving high school may be a misleading statistic. we may need to make sure that students are being prepared for highly skilled trades such as machining, welding, diesel repair, construction, or other areas of highly skilled work. The trend in distance education through interactive outlets such as real-time internet based education would allow for high school students to take advanced level classes from areas other than their own without penalizing the school systems with undue costs.
The 10th amendment to the Constitution clearly states that the individual states and the citizenry have autonomy in deciding their fates. The duty of the federal government is very clearly limited by definition.

The state is absolutely right to pre-empt federal actions on the state, and local level. When the federal government is overstepping it's bounds, the state and local jurisdictions are a necessary mechanism to the checks and balances required to maintain the balance in government.

The state is the government which is familiar with the local needs of the lands. An office which is located more than 2000 miles away is not able to make decisions on the local community level. The federal government views things on the "one size fits all" point of view.
I do not support additional pilot programs when we have programs which would accomplish the same goal through a different mechanism see HB 628, an additional allowance of federal over-reach in our state see HB 644A, or restrict market place activities through increased costs see SB 1318..

I support maximum personal liberties, i.e. Constitutional Carry see SB 1389, transfer of federal lands to state management HB 582, and allowing leniency for certain first time offenses see HB 494.
The part-time citizen Legislature allows for members to continue as members of their communities, and to have their priorities be the same as their constituents.

The current system works as it allows the Legislature to work on a part-time, and as recalled basis. A full-time Legislature becomes a creature of it's own which loses sight of the people it serves.

The current system works well for representing the people of Idaho, as the Legislature is required to remain part of the populace.
I support Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President. This support is from seeing how the Democrat nominee is promising more regulations, thus stifling personal liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness, as well as her support for continued war against a tactic (terrorism) which is an undefined enemy. This nominee is supporting an expansion of hostilities in the Middle East that may very well result in a confrontation with Russia which would cause irreparable damage to both sides of the conflict with countless souls caught in the middle.

The Republican nominee has been a liberal Democrat up until he decided to run for Presidential office. This nominee has no experience in government, but does have extensive experience in leading a large corporation. The brashness of this candidate, and his reputation for an explosive temper give me pause as to what decisions of international conflict he may make. He has not proven himself to be a true conservative who is respecting of individual liberties.

Gary Johnson has had a contentious relationship with the New Mexico legislature, and demonstrated his support for the liberties of the individual.