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.

Election Day:

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

Idaho Senate District 20

Incumbent: Republican Chuck Winder Term: Two yearsSalary: $16,684

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    William Rutherford

  • Chuck Winder

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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 68
Education Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, 1973, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, Mass. Practiced as a professional engineer in Mass, New Hampshire, Penn, Colorado and Washington State. Experienced project manager on large projects ($450M and up). Self-employed forensic engineer for 10 years.
Prior political experience Candidate for School Board in Pennsylvania
Civic involvement Have volunteered since 2000 with libraries, youth activities, teaching, the United Way and most recently as a volunteer-in-training to be a certified Medicare Counselor with the Department of Insurance Shiba program here in Idaho. Shiba stands for Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisor.
Years living in Idaho Five - We relocated to Meridian, Idaho in May 2011 from Pennsylvania.
Family Wife Susan, 3 children, 9 granddaughters and 1 grandson
Twitter page @billrsenate1
Political Reform 1. Respect Women's Rights - Privacy, Equal Pay and Opportunity 2. Reform Campaign Finance - I’m 100% voter funded vs 13% for my opponent 3. Represent everyone - not just Corporations and PACs 4. Establish Local Living Wages - Support Local Control - Less State Government 5. Support The Rule of Law - stop lawsuits 6. Adequately Fund our Public Defender System 7. Property Rights, Water Quality, Preserve Public Lands 8. Stop LGBT Discrimination - Add the words

Education 1. Resolve Teacher Shortage in Idaho and Support our Teachers 2. Investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) attempts to privatize our public schools. 3. Respect and Support Local School Boards 4. Reduce Corporate Sales Tax Exemptions - return $300M to $500M/yr to Education budget. 5. Reduce Education Budget Overhead Cost - return $180M to $360M/yr to teachers and students. 6. Properly Administer State Contracts 7. Transparency in Charter Schools

Health Care 1.Veteran’s Health Care - they deserve the best 2.Protect our Children from parental neglect 3. Medical Care for all - Medi-Gap solution 4. Help Medically Underserved and Medicare recipients

I do support the State of Idaho negotiating with the federal government to develop an acceptable version of Medicaid expansion as soon as practicable. This would be the most expedient and cost-effective way of getting the health insurance coverage for these people. The state has been without a solution to this issue for over four years. This issue has been studied extensively. Its time for action. It is my understanding that Idaho would never pay more than 10% of the medicaid cost. Lack of insurance for the "Medi-gap population" raises the County Indigent fund paid for by taxpayers while turning away Federal money (our tax dollars). This creates a costly future legacy population with serious health issues and inability to work and contribute to our economy.

Please visit my website and read the articles referenced under the Press section for more details.
I'm an experienced Fiscal Conservative. We can eliminate property tax levies with Fiscal Conservative Governance.

“This year (2016), 94 of Idaho’s 115 school districts will collect supplemental property tax levies totaling more than $186.6 million” per the idahoednews - see website link

1) Reduce and/or Eliminate Corporate Sales Tax Exemptions - Sales tax are a primary source of funding for Public Schools. The exemptions approved by the Legislature may be costing the Education budget as much as $300M to $500m/yr. The 2016 Education budget is $1.8Billion. We need transparency on this issue.

2) Manage Education Overhead Cost - Clearly identify overhead cost for the $1.8Billion K-12 Education budget. Excess Education Overhead cost could be costing teachers and students between $180M and $360M/yr. Overhead cost and how they are calculated should be public knowledge.

3) Pass legislation dealing with Charter Schools that calls for the same standards, rules and transparency as our public schools. Keep the playing field level so meaningful comparisons can be made as to their effectiveness and cost.
I support less state government, more local control and retaining federal ownership of our lands in order to preserve them.

Although our state legislators run on a platform of less government and protest the Federal Government over-stepping their authority, they themselves see nothing wrong with meddling with local jurisdictions and the lives of individuals. My opponent has interfered with our local school board, teachers, local government and the individual rights of men and women. introduced/

My opponent has consistently voted to prohibit local control by supporting legislation such as H463-Living Wage-2016, H372 - Plastic Bags-2016, H464-Oil&Gas Extraction-2012, S1092-Prohibits Local Knife Regulations-2015. I would have voted NO to these bills.

The state should leave ownership of the federal lands with the federal government. If the state wants to take over the day to day management of these lands to help reduce fire risk etc then I would support negotiating with the federal government on that issue as long as it didn't add to our financial burden.

1. Opposed the failure, once again, of the legislators to provide long needed medical insurance to 78,000 residents of Idaho. One of the responsibilities of the Legislature is to “Adopt a system of laws that promote the health, education and well-being of Idaho’s citizens.” They are certainly not promoting health and well-being.

2. I oppose our legislators, once again, telling women what to do with their health. They passed another law making abortion more difficult (ultra-sound related). Government needs to stay out of our private affairs, especially women's private affairs. This discrimination against women by lawmakers is bullying behavior and an abuse of power. Read my opponent's opinion of women in 2012.

3. In 2016, HB-431, supported by Chuck Winder, was signed into law. This bill INCREASED homeowner’s property taxes while LOWERING taxes on Commercial, Rental, Vacation and Farm property. Winder’s political donors pushed for its passage. Repeal HB-431. Read more at
I consider being elected to office and having the opportunity to improve the lives of our neighbors as a privilege and an honor. Our current system favors those who can serve three months without negatively impacting their livelihoods or who are retired like myself.

Our system is not working. The voters are not represented. Campaign finance reform as well as term limits are needed.

I would support 4 year term limits on Legislators, reducing the campaign finance limits from $2,000/election year to $50 and put a 5 year waiting period on former lawmakers going to work for lobbying firms or state agencies.

Bernie Sanders campaign proved the concept that small contributions from voters will work. $50/election year contributor limits will put every voter on the same level as corporations and PACs. This will force legislators to pay attention to the voters and help increase voter interest in politics. I think it would be a win/win.

A referendum on the ballot is needed to accomplish this. We almost got one on the ballot this year. Lets keep working at it. Our kids will thank us.
I support Hillary Clinton for president. I think she is the most qualified candidate running for president in 2016.
Age 74
Education Bachelor Degree the College of Idaho
Prior political experience Former ACHD Commissioner for 13 yrs.; Former Chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board for 11 years; Member Idaho Senate for 8 yrs.
Civic involvement I served on the Boise City Design Review Committee and the Planning and Zoning Commission, Rotarian, Founding President of Meridian Education Foundation, President of Leadership Boise for 2 yrs., Member of Bible Study Fellowship, former board member of the Salvation Army, the Children's Home, the Ore-Ida Council of BSA.
Years living in Idaho 48
Family Spouse: Dianne, married 48 years Daughter: Buffy Son: David Seven Grandchildren
Twitter page @None
My three priorities for Idaho are to support our economy and grow our employment opportunities, provide for the educational needs of our Idaho students in K-12 and in our colleges and universities and thirdly to provide much needed funding of our roads and bridges, both at the State and local level. I believe that these three priorities do require additional funding is to meet the needs, to provide for the health and safety, to provide adequate educational opportunities and to make sure our Idaho businesses can compete in local, state, regional, national and international markets. I continue to support user fees for funding transportation needs, growing our tax base to support our schools and meet the needs of Idaho's expanding economy.
I support an Idaho solution to address this problem. While direct expansion of Medicaid seems the easiest solution in the short run it may end up being the most costly to the taxpayers of Idaho. The current direction of the legislature seems to point towards a "hybrid", for lack of a better word, solution. Seeking a waiver from the Federal Government and then implementing the Idaho solution by using the Federal and State funds in a manner that will provide primary care of those that are not getting medical care in Idaho. I believe that it will eventually take a combination of Federal grant dollars and Idaho General Fund dollars to adequately meet the needs of the uninsured in Idaho.
The State of Idaho, more specifically the Legislature, is directed by the Idaho Constitution to "establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools." In addressing the question of is Idaho spending enough, I would say that Idaho will never have enough money available to the Legislature to fund everything that someone might want the state to provide. Having said that I believe that the Idaho Legislature is keeping its promise to increase the funding for Idaho public schools. This is demonstrated by significant increases in school funding since the recession has subsided. The Legislature has made a major commitment to additional funding along with the improvement recommended by the Governor's Task Force on Education. We are currently in the second year of the five year commitment. I believe that Idaho's funding for schools will continue to improve. While Idaho continues to improve funding it is also addressing accountability concerns. If we want to continue to improve school funding and our go-on rate we must continue to provide the needed teachers and facilities that enable our students to succeed while in Idaho's public schools.
The US Constitution provides that only those powers granted to the federal government by the states are to be exercised by the federal government and that all other powers are reserved to the states. The Founders of the US expected and foresaw the tension between the federal government and the numerous state governments. In fact the Founders we very fearful of a strong central government as restricted by the Articles of Confederation used to govern and ensure a weak central government. The US Constitution was only ratified by those same states with the addition of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution as a means to limit the power of our central government. I believe that the central government has taken more power than ever envisioned by our Founders. We as states must act as states untied for our national defense and for the public welfare. Unlike the powers given to the federal government the state constitution give state the right to establish local governments, therefore the state has the obligation to oversee local government. Idaho should work with the USFS and BLM to improve management, multiple use and insure access for all
I supported the effort to have an Idaho solution for the Medicaid gap. Idaho must look for ways to help those who are not covered by Obama Care.

I supported the efforts to keep our promise to increase funding for our schools. Our kids are our future and we know that jobs of the future will require a well educated and trained work force.

I supported the efforts to maintain our second amendment rights. We must protect the rights of our citizens to own arms as provided for in our US Constitution and the Idaho Constitution.

I opposed efforts to underfund our schools.

I also opposed efforts to reduce tax incentives that protect and expand our Idaho jobs and employers.

I opposed efforts to take away the rights of our Treasure Valley water users.
The proper role of each legislator is to represent the interests of their district while balancing the interest of all Idaho Citizens. Idaho's part-time citizen legislatures allows for every legislator and Idaho citizen to communicate on matters of concern to the people. Because we live and work in our communities their is almost unlimited access to the elected officials of Idaho.

Yes, I think the current system does work, with perhaps one exception. It is very difficult for a young person to hold office. If someone is raising a family and trying to subsist on the $17,000 annual salary it makes it almost impossible to make ends meet.

There is always room for improvement, but overall I think the current legislature functions as intended. Our founders set up the three branches of government so that the people would have the ultimate say in their governance. The tension that comes out between the two houses of the legislature is intended to make it difficult to pass laws and tax increases.
Yes, I will vote for our nominee. While I am totally disappointed and disgusted by his comments, made almost ten years ago and just released concerning women, in my opinion to not support our nominee, Donald Trump, is to vote for the opponent. Some have said he should drop out of the race, but how can that happen when there has been early voting occurring here in Idaho and many other states. Would not it be nice if both dropped out and we could restart the nominating process for both parties? Americans have a clear choice, they can either allow the abuses of the Obama and Clinton Administrations to continue or they can elect Donald Trump as President knowing that he will truly bring needed change to the Whitehouse and the office of President of the United States. I believe that our nation is way off course and needs significant correction. We need to rebuild our relationship with one another whether we are part of the majority or a minority group. Our nation can ill afford to continue on its current course of progressive/socialistic politics. We must make a course correction if this nation is to survive.