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.

U.S. House, 1st District

Incumbent: Republican Raul Labrador Term: Two yearsSalary: $174,000Note: Pro-Life is running as a write-in.

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  • Raul Labrador

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    James Piotrowski

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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?

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Age 52
Education John Carroll University, B.A. Case Western Reserve University, J.D.
Prior political experience None
Civic involvement Co-founder of the Idaho Disability Defense and Education Fund; Trout Unlimited, Idaho Chapter President; Youth Sports Coach
Years living in Idaho 18
Family Married 24 years to wife, Sandra and proud father of son, Marshall and daughter, Madeline.
Twitter page @VotePiotrowski
I am running because Idahoans deserve leadership that believes in working for the interests of the people of Idaho. For too long, the 1st Congressional District has been stuck with a representative more focused on his own political career than the needs of Idahoans.

My top priorities are Idaho’s top priorities: growing our economy, improving job training and educational opportunities, taking care of our veterans, and protecting our public lands from out-of-state special interests.

I have spent my career acting as a problem solver between businesses and working families, finding creative solutions for difficult problems. Throughout my career, I have used the art of meaningful compromise to protect jobs while making sure that big businesses play by the rules. For me, the interests of Idahoans will always come before my political career.
Donald Trump’s plan is both unachievable and bad for the Idaho economy. Here in Idaho, our agricultural economy relies heavily on the work of immigrant labor, and industry leaders have pushed for progress on immigration reform. Idaho’s representative must be willing to work with both sides of the aisle to find solutions that are practical, keep America safe, and allow for our economy to prosper.

We need comprehensive immigration reform that will end the exploitation of migrant workers, exploitation that ultimately reduces the wages of all workers. We also need immigration reform that addresses the reality of millions of workers who have made lives here, who pay taxes and who help our communities prosper. We need reforms that ensure that our most basic industries, like agriculture, have the workers that they need.

By ensuring a pathway to legal status, legal access to housing, high quality education and fair wages, we can get all of our nation’s residents engaged in building our economy, without ripping families apart.
Much of my career has been spent working with people suffering chronic conditions and facing lifetime medical needs. Secretary Clinton’s proposal attempts to address serious needs for such people and deserves consideration. In Idaho, people with chronic needs face even greater difficulties because of the rural nature of much of our state. We need to constantly look for ways to help those most in need, while also improving the efficiency of our health care systems. It is not good enough to have great health care options in a few cities, we must ensure every Idahoan can actually access the care they need.
INL is an important asset for Idaho's economy. Even though it’s not located in the 1st District, in Congress, I will work with the Idaho delegation to make sure that Idaho’s relationship with the Department of Energy continues to improve, especially as DOE and the Navy consider further extensions and expansion of the Naval Reactors Facility, a facility that is also critical to our national security.

With regard to bringing more nuclear waste to INL and perhaps necessitating transport through the 1st District, I agree with Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, and former governors Andrus and Batt — no new nuclear waste should be brought into Idaho until the Department of Energy fulfills its existing commitments to the State regarding cleanup of the site.
Idaho’s public lands are a critical part of our economy, from hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping, to logging, mining and grazing - we rely on that land for our way of life. Whatever Sen. Cruz may think is right for Texas, where hunters must pay to access private game reserves, is not right for Idaho.

We need to do a better job managing our forests, but we need to do it on the ground here in Idaho with local leaders, not with politicians in Washington D.C. Collaborative management planning groups in Idaho deserve real leadership that can bring stakeholders together and find solutions. Such efforts deserve the support and assistance of Idaho’s entire Congressional delegation, and would eliminate the need for land transfer schemes that would put public lands into the hands of wealthy, out-of-state land barons.
Our national debt is a serious problem that must be addressed, but it must be addressed without derailing our economy.

Just as Idahoans have had to learn to do more with less over the last decade, the federal government must learn to do the same. For years now, Congress has spent our tax dollars without passing an accountable budget that directs spending towards strategic goals. Congress must remain vigilant against fraud and abuse, and I will work to keep programs that add to our economy and cut any that don’t.

Unlike Congressman Labrador, I do not pretend that all government spending is equal. His style of “budgeting” is irresponsible and fails to separate wasteful spending from essential spending. Instead of blind, across the board cuts, I will work to ensure that our government operates efficiently. I will not treat the needs of veterans, children and seniors as the equivalent of all wasteful government spending.

To reduce the debt, we must also grow our economy. In order to grow the economy we must invest in programs that deliver the highest returns, including infrastructure development and investing in our workforce.
I believe that Congress’ low approval rating is absolutely deserved. Year after year voters get stuck with representatives who only go to Congress to shout at one another and generate media attention. Congressman Raul Labrador is a prime example of the dysfunction in Washington D.C. Labrador goes to Congress to represent his narrow interests at the expense of Idaho. He votes against common sense bills, including voting against funding the VA, voting against the Secure Rural Schools program, and voting against the Violence Against Women Act. Labrador also pushes forward bills that Idahoans do not want, particularly the sale and transfer of our public lands. If elected, I promise not to go to Congress as a Democrat, but as to go as an Idahoan. The needs and interests of the people of Idaho will be my guiding force, regardless of party.
Unfortunately we do not have a lot of great options this year. This is a tough election, but I believe that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. Mr. Trump’s views on women, minorities, men and women in the military, and his corrupt business practices disqualify him from office. I do not believe that Jill Stein is a serious candidate, and Gary Johnson’s inability to answer basic foreign policy questions is deeply concerning. Given the options, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton in order to maintain stability and peace for our nation.
Age 78
Education BA, Brigham Young University
Prior political experience 2004--Candidate for State House, 2006--Candidate for Governor, 2008--Candidate for US Senate, 2010--Candidate for Governor, 2012--Candidate for US Representative, 2014--Candidate for Governor, 2016--Candidate for US Senate. 2016--Write in for US Representative, District 1.
Civic involvement Farm Bureau, Regular at church, Street activist at Planned Murderhood, Christian moral activist, I like helping my neighbors. I like giving fresh organic food to poor people.
Years living in Idaho 19 years
Family Married 33 years. 15 children, 14 living. About 32 grandchildren
I am running to make people accountable for hearing the truth. Our society is selfish and self-destructive and someone must warn the people of this fact. We generally cannot see our own corruption because we've grown up with it. It is VERY unpopular to say at church, or pretty much ANY public venue, that: socialism is collective theft, abortion is murder, our money is a counterfeit ponzi scheme, public education fosters Communism, and sexual perversion should be punished. Upon getting elected, my priorities are: 1- Legislation to establish personhood for pre-born babies. 2- I will ask for impeachment of any judge or Executive official that exceeds their Constitutional jurisdiction. 3- I will vote against all funding of health, education, welfare, recreation, or retirement plans (Social Security). These are not constitutional programs. I am too uncompromising to win, but if elected, I will attempt to bring God's standards back into respectability.
I support much of what Trump says on illegals. I support deportation in most cases. First, Congress needs to define children born of illegal aliens as non-citizens. Congress refuses to define "natural born citizen" for Presidential qualifications. Both Congress and the executive department are derelict in immigration enforcement. I favor deporting illegals, and furthermore prosecuting any politician that harbors them. Past Presidents (including Obama) did not enforce the law, and thus should have been impeached and removed. I like the illegals; it is not their fault they are here. The fault is with Republicans and Democrats. Will voters continue supporting the major parties, both being operated by lying, murderous crooks? We should be very nice to the deportees and very mean to Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Congress for letting them in. The Idaho Congressional delegation has been very wimpy on this issue.
Hillary is a socialist crook - trying to pander to voters. We will continue to have huge problems with health care, until we get government clear out of the health care. The Constitution does not allow the Federal government any authority over health care.
I am totally against splitting atoms. Radioactive waste has never been successfully recycled, and never will be. You destroy atoms forever when you split them. This offends God and the structure of all nature. There is temporary economic benefits to storing radioactive waste in Idaho, but I say we phase out murdering atoms. Beyond merely the physical destruction reaped, there are also detrimental, eternal consequences to those who continue to split atoms, even after they have been warned against nuclear development. I know you have never heard this before. Someday society will realize the truth regarding atom splitting.

Cruz is a compromising politician. The Federal Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, line 17 limits the Federal government ownership to the following: Washington DC, military bases, and territories. The states are entitled to ALL Federal lands within their borders. Congress needs to pass legislation quoting Article 1, Section 8, and give title to the states. The Constitution says that the Federal gov't can own and manage lands - but ONLY within territories, not within states. We have ignored the original intent and history of our Constitution for over 150 years.
Congress should declare that it has no Constitutional authority to fund health, education. welfare, recreation, or retirement programs. Also, no more space programs and research, except for military. No tax increases - only tax cuts. We should stop funding the United Nations, and stop hosting them.
We need members of Congress who will impeach the President and Federal judges when they exceed their Constitutional authority.
I will vote for Scott Copeland of the Constitution Party.
I have never been in trouble with the law.
No bankruptcies, I worked myself out of past financial difficulties.