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 Senate District 15

Incumbent: Republican Fred MartinTerm: Two yearsSalary: $16,684

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    Fred Martin

  • Candidate picture

    Laura Metzler

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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 69
Education Fred Martin graduated from BYU-Idaho, the Institute of Religion at U.S.U., NCO School at Idaho Sate University, the Medical Training Center at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, and the R.E.M. (Real Estate Management) program at the College of Business at U.S.U.
Prior political experience Idaho State Senator, Regional Director for a United States Congressman, Sergeant of Arms Idaho State Senate, Executive Director Citizens for Local Government, President of the Idaho Student Association, County Vice-Chairman, and a Precinct Committeeman
Civic involvement Boy Scouts of America; District Commissioner and Scoutmaster, Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, Idaho Immunization Assessment Board, State Insurance Advisory Committee, Idaho Health Care Collaborative Committee, Idaho Early Childhood Coordination Council, Idaho Telehealth Taskforce, Coach; YMCA Youth Basketball, Ada County Youth Soccer, NW Ada Little League.
Years living in Idaho 63
Family Married 43 years. Fred is the proud father of 6 children and has 16 beautiful grandchildren (all living in Idaho)
Three of my priorities are: Better schools, more job, and lower taxes. We have good schools now, but we need to make them better for all. We need to give more control of education in Idaho to the local level. That is why I voted for S1377 which gives more control to local school boards. We need to have more of our students go on to college or some post-secondary program. That's why I voted for the "Mastery Advancement Scholarship" for high school juniors and seniors to pay for dual credit. I have worked as a member of the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee and with the Commerce Department to bring more good jobs to Idaho. I voted for the "Tax Reimbursement Incentive" and the "Idaho Opportunity Fund" to recruit and retain good businesses to Idaho. I believe in lower taxes, personal responsibility, and less government. We need to take less of the hard working Idahoans money and let them save and spent their own money, not the government.
As a member of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee I have spent hours working toward better health care in Idaho. I was supportive of the PCAP program to cover the "gap" population. I voted for H644 "The Idaho Accountable Care Waiver Act" to cover the gap population by requesting a waiver to find an Idaho solution. Because of our hard work with "TheTelehealth Act", the new mental health centers, the state insurance exchange, suicide prevention, the State Catastrophic (CAT) Fund, the State Indigent Fund, and the State Reinsurance Fund, the State's cost of health care is going down, saving the state money. We can and need to do more, but in a way that saves money with better health care and move from a "fee for service" to a "managed care" model.
The Idaho Constitution Article IX Section 1 states: "The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools." It is the number one priority of the Idaho legislature to provide a uniform and thorough school system. Are we spending enough? No. Do we need to spent more? Yes. But more money will not solve all our problems. Our goal as a state is 60% by 2020. To have 60% of all Idaho students receive a college degree or graduate from a technical program by 2020. I do not know if we can make it, but we need to try and try harder. That why I voted for the "Mastery Advancement Scholarship" program.
United States Constitution, Amendment X "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people" I do not like the federal government telling us what to do and I do not like the state telling the counties, cities and school districts what to do. They (local officials) are elected by their citizens and we, the state, should respect that.
I supported the legislative action of: reading at proficiency by the 3rd grade, the enhanced safety and security of students and educators on public schools, the updated foster care laws, the "Right to Try Act", two new "Health Crisis Centers", improvements to the public defense system, "Primacy" of Idaho water (not the EPA), repeal of the sales tax on groceries, doing away with the higher registration fees for hybrid cars, the work to cover the gap population, and the work we did on suicide prevention. I worked hard as the Co-Chairman of the Joint Purchasing Laws Committee to modernize and update the procurement laws for the state. We added: new ethics statutes, better contract oversight, and better training for state employees. The ethics statutes define breaches of ethical conduct and provide penalties for those breaches. Under the new purchasing laws the state universities will have more flexibility to work with local business and supports. I opposed the state mandate on a uniform grocery bags, the state mandate on a uniform state-wide minimum wage, and there were several bill to increase the available of alcohol to minors that I voted against.
As to a part-time Legislature: Get in, do the best job you can, and let someone else have a try. We have a very good committee system in Idaho that allows experts, average citizens, or anyone to come to a legislative committee present or testify and get something passed. We also do "Administrative Rules" each session that require the legislature to review all executive department rules. This is one of the most important items that the Idaho Legislature does. Can we improve? Yes. But we have a very good system now.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Age 63
Education Art Education, Boise State University and San Francisco State University
Prior political experience Volunteer for several political campaigns and advocate for social, economic and environmental policies.
Civic involvement West Boise Little League coach, host mother for Foreign Exchange Student Program, and volunteer for river clean-up event.
Years living in Idaho 45 years
Family Married to Pat Metzler; two children, Hayley age 33 and Jacob age 30
EDUCATION: When we invest in education, we invest in our children's future. Every child has the right to a quality education with qualified teachers and the resources they need to succeed. As we move out of the recession, we must also increase our funding – beyond 2009 levels – starting with less wasteful spending.

ECONOMY: As a single mother for nine years, I learned first hand the value of hard work. I also learned that a good paying job and career opportunities are the key to financial stability. I will work to bring strong businesses and good paying jobs to Idaho.

ENVIRONMENT: Idahoans enjoy the beauty and recreational opportunities that our mountains, rivers, parks, and open spaces provide. Now, more than ever, is the time to ensure that future generations will have access to clean water, clean air, and public lands.
Building a bridge between Medicaid and the state health insurance exchange should be a priority for the Idaho legislature. Since the 2012 Supreme Court decision allowing each state to decide whether or not to participate in Medicaid expansion, 32 states have moved forward with expansion. Four years have passed and working families caught in the coverage gap are still without healthcare in Idaho. It is time to address expanding Medicaid. Improving the health of Idahoans currently without coverage will lower costs associated with Medicaid over time and reduce the hospital's burden of unpaid care. Funding should be used wisely and not on a half-fix program that doesn't serve the needs of the sick.
The state needs to keep public schools adequately funded. All children deserve a quality education with qualified teachers and a safe learning environment. We should not just be focused on how much money we are spending on our schools, but also on how effectively we are spending that money. We have seen taxpayer dollars wasted on a $60 million broadband contract that was ruled illegal by an Idaho district court judge. Now, several parties are involved in lawsuits over the matter and Idaho teachers are uncertain about the future of broadband service in their classrooms. Having Internet services is an important part of preparing students for higher education. Let's give our children the foundation they need with adequate funding for schools. I would also like to see more affordable choices for higher education like community colleges and tuition lock.
All three governments have established roles in governance. It is wrong for the state to hinder or take preemptive action on the local level that keeps people from voting for initiatives that best serve their communities. I am not in favor of the state taking more ownership or control of federal lands in Idaho. Idahoans value access to public lands for recreational use. State ownership or control jeopardizes our use of public lands when outside interests start to seek profit through land sales.
First, I oppose HB372, which banned local government from banning plastic bags, and HB463, which banned local government from raising the minimum wage. These preemptive measures take away the rights of people from voting on initiatives that best suit their local communities. Second, I oppose HB431, which capped the homeowner’s exemption at $100,000, increasing the tax burden on our elderly and those on fixed incomes. Third, I oppose SB1342, which explicitly stated the use of Bibles in public schools for specific subjects. It has already been determined by the U.S. Supreme Court that the Bible can be used in schools as text. This was an unnecessary bill and could have cost taxpayers more money in lawsuits.

The bills that I support include HB528, which establishes minimum standards for timely and effective processing of rape kits. I also support HB481, which gives terminally ill patients the right to try investigational drugs, and SB1204 and 1205, which would have provided healthcare coverage for the 78,000 people that currently fall into the healthcare gap and are without health insurance.
The role of a citizen legislature is to represent the diverse people of Idaho. It should not represent out-of-state or big money interests. Our current legislature is out of balance and does not fairly represent all Idahoans. There is much more that can be accomplished to better the quality of life for Idahoans.
Providing an argument in support of a presidential candidate does not serve to address the issues that I am hearing about from voters in my district. The climate on the national level is divisive. I have talked to thousands of voters in my district and I have found that they are tired of the rhetoric and frustrated because they feel that their party no longer represents them. I want to focus on the issues and policies that affect all Idahoans. I am a proud Democrat, and to me that means that I work to ensure that policies are in place that provide for a strong educational system, gender equality, fair pay, conservation, affordable healthcare, human rights, and constitutional rights.
Yes, a misdemeanor inattentive driving in 1983.
Yes, I filed bankruptcy when I was 27 years old. I was divorced, pregnant, and unemployed. Even though I had a great work ethic and résumé, no one would hire me because I was pregnant. During those nine months without a job, I lost everything and I filed bankruptcy. After the birth of my daughter, I was able to find employment. I worked hard to provide for her and to give her security. I eventually found financial stability and a career job with the U.S. Postal Service.

This experience taught me about gender inequality in the workplace. It also taught me about the financial stability that comes with a good paying job and fair pay. During the 2008 recession, I watched a number of families lose their jobs and their homes. I know what that feels like and I know how hard it is to rebuild a life after such a loss. I have great empathy for people who struggle to make ends meet and for those who go without healthcare because they cannot afford it.