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:

Looking for more coverage? Visit IdahoStatesman.com/election for previews, voting information and other things to know before you vote.

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



U.S. Senate

Incumbent: Republican Mike Crapo Term: Six yearsSalary: $174,000

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Mike Crapo
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Jerry Sturgill
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Ray Writz
    (Con)

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Biographical Information

Why are you running? What would be your top three priorities if elected? What in your background qualifies you for federal office?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proposed a plan to crack down on illegal immigration by deporting the nearly 11 million people who are living in the United States without the government’s permission. Do you favor his plan? If not, what steps would you take, if any, to deal with the immigration issue?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has proposed a $250 monthly cap on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drug costs for patients with chronic and serious medical problems, part of her plan to expand the Affordable Care Act. Do you favor her plan? If not what steps would you take, if any, to reduce health care costs for consumers?

There is general agreement that the INL is, on balance, an asset to Idaho. With the jobs, economic stimulus and research comes risk. Where do you draw that line in continuing -- or enhancing -- Idaho's relationship with the Department of Energy? How do you view the state agreement on radioactive waste in Idaho and the proposal to bring research quantities to Idaho?

With the federal government owning nearly two-thirds of all public lands in Idaho, Congress is debating various plans that would give states more control over the property. In 2014, for example, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, now a GOP presidential candidate, proposed legislation that would prevent the federal government from owning more than 50 percent of the land in any state. Do you favor this plan? What steps should Congress take, if any, on this issue?

The U.S. national debt is roughly $19.6 trillion. Three-quarters of that is held by the public and the rest is intragovernmental holdings (i.e., Social Security Trust Fund). Foreign investors hold $6.2 trillion, the largest being China and Japan. What should be the short and long-term policy goals on debt reduction, taxes, capital investment (e.g. infrastructure), entitlements and federal discretionary spending?

Congress has an approval rating hovering around 13 percent. Does that concern you? What needs to change for this to improve? What can your caucus do?

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 Idaho Falls High School, 1969; Brigham Young University, Summa Cum Laude, B.A. in Political Science, 1973; Harvard Law School, Cum Laude, Juris Doctorate, 1977.
Prior political experience Idaho State Senate, representing Bonneville County, 1984-1992; Senate President Pro-Tem, 1988-1992; U.S. House of Representatives, Idaho’s 2nd District, 1993-1998; and U.S Senator, Idaho, 1999-present.
Years living in Idaho Lifetime resident of Idaho.
Family Wife– Susan; children – Michelle, Brian, Stephanie, Lara and Paul.
Twitter page @crapo4senate
We are in the middle of a fight for our nation’s future. We face very troublesome times on many fronts. I hope to continue in that battle representing Idaho principles and values. The importance that we follow the Constitution and the right principles of governing has never been greater. I am committed more than ever to the values that first prompted me to run for the Senate: limited government, low taxes, less spending and individual freedom. Americans must speak out strongly today to preserve and defend our Constitution and the system of limited government and freedom it embraces.

Top three priorities: (1) Beat back the ever-increasing debt and deficit, stop government's out-of-control growth and intrusion into our lives and fight to restore the Constitution, individual liberty and responsibility. (2) Maximize economic growth and get people back to work by decreasing taxes, federal spending and regulations that burden our economy. (3) Work for commonsense solutions to protect and properly manage our natural resource heritage.

We have a stable political and economic system because we respect the rule of law that maintains the peace and prosperity we enjoy. I have consistently supported an immigration policy built on these principles: The United States must commit the resources necessary to have the strongest border enforcement realistically possible. Preservation of the border integrity is essential to national security and a sensible guest worker program. Our immigration system must not grant amnesty to those who enter illegally. No one who enters the U.S. illegally should get any benefit toward permanent legal residency or citizenship. Any guest worker programs must ensure that American citizens have the first right to access available jobs. An efficient, workable guest worker program must be established. Such a guest worker program should provide employers with a reliable, viable and legal system to identify guest workers.
Drug costs in particular and health care costs overall continue to rise, and we must curb these growing costs. I will continue to push for policies to increase access and transparency and provide safe and effective prescription drugs to consumers. We must move away from the notion that government bureaucracy is the answer to our broken health care system and, instead, turn to real reforms that will result in truly affordable health care as well as improved access to quality care that Americans want and deserve without the failures that are inherent in Obamacare. These steps include, but are not limited to: (1) offering tax credits or deductions to allow individuals to purchase private health insurance from a free and competitive market; (2) allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines; (3) allowing businesses to pool together to purchase insurance; (4) moving health care expense payment structure from fee-for-service to fee-for-value; (5) enhancing transparency so consumers can make value-based choices; and (6) converting from government controlled health care models to more market oriented health care delivery models.
The Idaho National Lab is the nation’s preeminent nuclear research facility, and very significantly it also conducts world-class alternative energy and national security research. The research mission of the Lab and the cleanup work at the site are distinct. We should hold the DOE accountable for the cleanup mission according to the terms of the agreement with Idaho. That said, I support the proposal to bring research quantities of spent fuel to Idaho. The lab has the ability to make huge advancements in nuclear science by conducting research on this 200 pounds of spent fuel. This research is important to maintaining INL’s position as the preeminent lab for nuclear science. With this small quantity of material, the Lab is researching advanced reactors that will dramatically improve reactor safety, including the continued reduction in waste as well as improved waste management. I am a big supporter of this work and have legislation promoting these efforts. I also have legislation that reforms the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make sure the work done at INL can be utilized by the Commission in the licensing of the next generation of nuclear reactors.
Public lands should remain public. Their values should be preserved and enhanced, and all Idahoans should be able to use and enjoy reasonable access to them. However, the federal government is not doing a good job in too many cases of managing lands under its ownership, and many Idahoans can point to specific examples they have personally experienced or witnessed. Laws and processes relating to both state and federal lands too often drives us to conflict and litigation. These should be reformed to allow more participation in and influence over management decisions by those closest to the land. State government, local officials and private stakeholders should be empowered to more meaningfully participate in the decision-making processes pertaining to our public lands. Outcomes from this collaborative, consensus building approach will be better for both the environment and the natural resource based economies of Idaho. These outcomes can result in administrative and/or legislative action on the public land in question. The Owhyee Initiative is an example of the kind of collaborative approach we should take to achieve win-win solutions for our public lands in Idaho.
It is time to stop trying to spend ourselves into prosperity with borrowed money—money borrowed from our children and grandchildren. As one of its members, I voted for the Bowles-Simpson Commission comprehensive fiscal plan to control our national debt and provide stronger job growth in our economy. The proposal would have reduced our projected national debt by $4 trillion over nine years. This plan recommended spending controls and reforms on all parts of our federal budget and included among other provisions: (1) statutory spending caps on the entire discretionary budget; (2) reforms of mandatory (entitlement) spending programs resulting in efficiencies and fiscal savings; (3) reforms making Social Security solvent for 75 years; and (4) reform of our broken tax code by making it flatter, greatly reducing its complexity and its compliance costs, greatly reducing income tax rates, and significantly increasing our global competitiveness. Failure to address our nearly $20 trillion national debt and to enact pro-growth tax reform, threatens not only our economy and fiscal future, but crowds out resources to support our national defense and domestic discretionary programs.
I along with millions of Americans are rightly furious with Congress' failure to deal with our national debt and the critical issues facing America. We need leaders with courage to tackle these critical problems. My record shows I work to build and achieve consensus based solutions to these key issues. I have worked to achieve support to break this gridlock on many issues, including: 1) served on the Bowles-Simpson Commission and worked with a "Gang of Six" senators on a framework to tackle the nearly $20 trillion debt and reform our tax code to make it flatter, fairer, and more competitive; 2) resolved land-management issues and enacted the Owhyee Initiative; 3) strengthened and reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act; 4) enacted Trevor’s Law and the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act. Building upon these successes, I am championing wildfire funding reform, promoting advanced nuclear energy, and addressing the needs of farmers and rural communities. I am committed to building solutions in a way that promotes the principles of limited government and individual freedom that Idahoans expect.
I cannot and will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I am more committed than ever to the conservative principles by which this country should be governed and, therefore, deeply concerned about the future composition of the Supreme Court. For example, imagine what a Clinton Supreme Court would do to the Second Amendment, protecting the life of the unborn and immigration policy. If elected, she will nominate activist judges that would tip the balance of the Supreme Court in a direction that would be disastrous for our country’s future. I am committed to the principle that the Supreme Court be of a strict constitutional constructionist philosophy, not an activist one. We simply cannot allow appointees who will manipulate and reinvent the Constitution to an activist agenda. Further, Hillary Clinton would increase spending, drive up our national debt, make the government bigger, increase government control over our economy and take this country in the wrong direction.
In December of 2012 I was arrested for DUI in Alexandria, Virginia. I pleaded guilty to the charge and didn’t request or receive any special treatment from the court. I received the standard punishment for a first time offense and fulfilled every aspect of it. Since then I have worked to regain the trust that I lost from my family, friends and Idahoans.
No.
Age 67
Education Twin Falls High School; Brigham Young University, B.S.; Brigham Young University, J.D.
Prior political experience None.
Civic involvement Idaho Conservation League, Former Board Member; Riverstone International School, Former Chairman & Director; Basque Museum, Former Board Member; Sleepy Hollow, NY Planning & Zoning Commission, Former Board Member
Years living in Idaho 40 years
Family My wife, Kris and I have three amazing children, Jenna, Tyler and Matt. We are also proud of our son-in-law, Casey, and our daughter-in-law, Joy.
Twitter page @sturgill4idaho
My political heroes are Frank Church, Cecil Andrus and Richard Stallings. I am running to emulate their example of service to the people of Idaho. From the time Frank Church was in office (36 years ago), our Idaho Senators have been distracted by the influences of big money and done little to help Idaho. It is time to put Idaho and Idaho values first.

My top three priorities are improving Idaho education, protecting Idaho public lands and creating economic opportunity for all Idahoans. In my business career I have learned what it takes to ensure Idaho working families and businesses succeed.

I am trained as a lawyer, practiced as a businessman and have a long history of community service.
Immigration is not the issue. Most immigrants come here looking for safety and an opportunity for their families. Our country has from its beginning been a beacon and magnet. Right or wrong, the "American Dream" still burns bright in minds around the world.

Immigrants have fueled our economy and continue to do so (just ask dairymen and food manufacturers in the Magic Valley). As population grows and newcomers participate in our economy--earning, spending and paying taxes--we all do better. The Trump-induced fears of immigrants and immigration are politically-motivated.

Improvements in our immigration laws should not focus on throwing good people and their families out of our country. Our focus should be on keeping bad people from entering and providing reasonable pathways to citizenship for good and productive people already here.
On a per capita basis, we have the most expensive healthcare in the world. Our system continues to be plagued with inefficiencies and profit-taking. When it comes to prescription drugs, we have allowed uncontrolled monopolistic behavior to drive prices out of reach. While I am a advocate of free markets, for something so important to the overall vitality of our country and society, healthcare goods and services should be available and affordable to everyone.
I have worked with researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES). INL and CAES are jewels in the Idaho crown and must be supported. I would work hard to bring additional funding to both. In other words, I would focus on INL and CAES as opportunities for jobs, economic stimulus and Idaho's participation in the clean energy economy.

As for nuclear power, great advances have been made in developing modular and cleaner nuclear generation capability. While hydro, wind and solar are increasing in importance, nuclear must be part of the US energy portfolio. I would support continued nuclear research at INL however, I would not support Idaho becoming a dumping ground for nuclear waste. Idaho water, especially the aquifer that runs beneath Southern Idaho, are too important to put at risk. I believe we can support research efforts and protect our environment. The Department of Energy must hold up their end of the deal and ensure Idaho is not a dump site for nuclear waste.
I would not support any plan to transfer public lands to state or private control. The collective ownership by all United States citizens includes shouldering the collective costs and risks of management. States cannot afford it. Private ownership will lead to fencing, no trespassing signs and exclusion of hunting and fishing.
If we are going to talk about our national debt, let’s talk about our national assets. The value of our national debt is a tiny fraction of the aggregate value of our public lands, the interstate highway system and the other assets we own together as Americans.

Politicians who say they are “fighting to balance the budget without raising taxes, to pay down the national debt and to cut wasteful spending” are really saying they want to get rid of social security and Medicare, spend less on education and allow our infrastructure to continue to deteriorate. They are also saying they will not close the tax loopholes that favor the rich.

The best way to reduce the national debt is to spend more on long-term, high-return investments like education, infrastructure and new-energy technologies. And we should also close tax loopholes, tax off-shore revenues and hold tax dodgers accountable.
Yes, this is concerning but not surprising. Politicians have allowed big money to flow into politics. Lobbyists lavish our senators and representatives with campaign donations to keep them in office. In the absence of term limits, they cling to their seats forever. Money and greed have eclipsed the cause of government--to serve the people. This problem is not exclusive to one party or caucus.

We need to wring the big money influence out of government. I will work to reverse the Citizens United case and its toxic effects. I will advocate for campaign finance reform, term limits and focus on service over self. We need to return our democracy to one of the people and for the people.
I will support my party’s presidential nominee. I do not believe Donald Trump supports our Idaho values. I will be a voice for all Idahoans in the Senate, regardless of party affiliation. No matter who is elected as our next President, I will work across party lines to find solutions for Idaho’s working families.
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No.
Age 68
Education Accounting/General
Prior political experience I have run 1 time for State Rep & 3 times for State Senate
Civic involvement I have been active for 14 years in the Constitution Party and State Treasurer for 2 years of that time.
Years living in Idaho 36 Years
Family I'am married for34 years and have 2 sons and 2 grand children.
To oppose the selloutof our Country to foreign interest. 1. To work for a good replacement for Antonin Scalia. 2. To opposeany Trade Treaties that sends our good paying jobs over seas. 3. To work on balancing our Federal Budget.

I keep up on what is happening in this Country & around the World, so that I'am prepared as much as possible.

Yes I favor his plan, but we need to be careful about those with families that would be of benefit to our Country. They will need to prove in their livesthat they are worthy to stay.
No I do not favor her plan. We will need to educate people on how to use natural means to improve their health where it is possible; then encourage them to take responsibility for their health.
I would review the agreement on radioactive waste and get expect advise on how this works.

We will need to have enough research quantities to work on how to stabilize this kind of waste safely.
This plan is a step in the right direction, but we must take into consideration the forest watershed issues first; then slowly return small tracts of land back to the states as they are able to manage these lands properly. This way the states are able to improve their local economies.
1. Reduce Foreign Aid. 2. Close down the EPA. 3. Close down the Department of Education. 4. Close minor Departments that are not really needed.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Candidate response is not yet available.
No.
Yes I have filled for chapter 7 in the year 2005, in Coeur d'Alene Idaho.