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, 2nd District

Incumbent: Republican Mike Simpson Term: Two yearsSalary: $174,000

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    Mike Simpson

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    Anthony Tomkins

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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 69
Education Bachelors Degree, Utah State University DMD, Washington University School of Dental Medicine, 1977
Prior political experience Representative, United States House of Representatives, 1998-present Representative, Idaho State House of Representatives, 1984-1998 Speaker of the House, Idaho State House of Representatives, 1992-1998 Assistant Majority Leader, Idaho State House of Representatives, 1989 Council Member, City of Blackfoot, 1980-1984
Years living in Idaho I am a native Idahoan and have lived in Idaho for over 65 years.
Family Wife: Kathy
Twitter page @MikeSimpson4ID
I am running for re-election because I believe that I have represented the people of Idaho and protected the beliefs and issues they hold dear. My top priorities are and will continue to be: 1. Reducing deficit spending. 2. Combating unnecessary and harmful regulations. 3. Continuing to work as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. I have worked in government at the city, state and federal levels and have developed an understanding and appreciation for how Idahoans want an efficient government.
I believe we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform for both economic and national security reasons. Any comprehensive immigration reform package should secure the border and reform our guest worker programs. The American people, by quite substantial majorities, do not believe the federal government is serious about border security and will remain resistant to comprehensive immigration reform, and especially reforms that provide a path to legalization for any illegal immigrant, if they do not first see their government effectively secure the border. It should reform and stabilize our legal immigration programs so that farmers, ranchers, the hospitality industry, construction, high-tech, and many other vital sectors of our economy have the workforce they need to grow jobs and create economic opportunity. Any reform should also address the millions of immigrants who are currently here in a realistic and cost-effective way, but does not provide outright amnesty.
I have voted over 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and I do not favor Hillary Clinton's plan to continue expanding a failing system. Capping the cost of any healthcare related expense in a government run health system would result in these costs being passed along to taxpayers. What our country needs is a new direction for healthcare that actually drives the cost down, not up. Specifically I have supported a proposal that expands Health Savings Accounts by increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars individuals can place into their account to cover health care expenses, allows individuals to purchase insurance across state lines and enables small businesses to pool together to increase their buying power, and equalizes tax treatment for those who purchase health insurance through the individual market and those who receive a plan through their employer. This standard deduction would result in a tax cut for most Americans. There are many other thoughtful ideas and plans that should be debated when discussing healthcare reform, but it is clear that any proposal must start with rolling back the failed policies of Obamacare.
Idaho and the INL's relationship with the Department of Energy has been beneficial for the citizens of Idaho. The research quantities at issue represent a research project slated to bring tens of millions of dollars to Idaho. I was disappointed that because the Department of Energy was not able to reach an agreement with the State of Idaho for the first shipment, it was sent to Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee at the end of last year. It is important to remember that the DOE has made great strides in meeting many of its cleanup obligations to the State--and continues to work diligently to meet those that remain.

INL is the nation’s lead nuclear energy research laboratory, and the research done there demonstrates great promise for the future of nuclear energy in our nation. However, there is no way for INL to be the lead nuclear energy research laboratory unless it can access nuclear materials to actually perform the research. I do hope that the Department of Energy and the State of Idaho are able to reach an agreement that allows INL to conduct this research instead of seeing more of this work and funding go to another lab and state.
People live in Idaho because they love their public lands whether it is to fish, hunt, hike, or other forms of recreation. My fear is that dispensing of public lands will restrict access to our favorite fishing holes, hunting trips, or hiking trails. I also don’t want the state of Idaho to bear the tremendous costs of fighting wildfires and settling litigation that all too often burdens land management decisions. However, I strongly believe that Idahoans should have a say in how the land on which they work and live is managed, and I will continue to advocate for a strong partnership between federal, state, and local land management agencies. I believe the collaborative process is the way of the future and the state can certainly help manage federal lands through memorandums of understanding.
I have been working over the last several years to advocate for a solution that "goes big" and finds at least $4-6 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years through a combination of spending cuts, tax reform, and reforms to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If our nation continues on the unsustainable path we're on now, it will be impossible to maintain our standard of living, create economic opportunity across America, and develop good paying jobs for families.
It certainly concerns me. I understand frustration with the current state of affairs in this country and particularly with Congress and what appears to be an inability of political leaders to find common ground in the interest of the American people. As the challenges facing our nation over the past decade—including war, recession, and a growing national debt—have increased, the political rhetoric in Washington, DC, has become increasingly hostile and people view Congress as ineffective.

What Americans really want is for Republicans and Democrats to set aside their party labels and focus on what is best for the country. Both Republicans and Democrats have to take responsibility, not only for getting past the current stalemate in Congress, but also for finding real solutions to our country’s challenges. This will require working toward solutions that are in the best interest of the nation, not simply of one political party or the other.
I have a duty to seek out leaders that can help move this country forward, bring us together, and start to repair the damage done by the Obama Administration. A leader who will work with Congress, listen to diverse opinions with tolerance and an open mind, put his or her own feelings aside, and do what is right and necessary for the American people.

Our presidents do not have to be perfect. But we must hold them to a high standard. They must lead us toward healing, not division. To the future and not the past. It is our responsibility to stand up when leaders say things that do not reflect American ideals, and to reject any action that demeans the fabric that make up this great country.

I wish I could support our party's candidate for president, because voting for Hillary Clinton is not an option for me. We are faced with a difficult moral and ethical choice, and I believe neither candidate has demonstrated the judgment, character, or temperament necessary for the highest office in the land. While I know I will not vote for Hilary Clinton, I will vote for someone that I believe will support and defend the Constitution and avidly pursue conservative principles.
I have not been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony or had a withheld judgement.
Neither I or a company I owned have filed bankruptcy.
Age 32
Education Buhl High School- Diploma 2006 Basic Combat Training- U.S. Army 2006 **Anthony Tomkins is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. Any use of rank, job titles, or photos, does not imply endorsement from the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army.**
Prior political experience None
Civic involvement Webelos Den Leader- Boy Scouts of America
Years living in Idaho 26
Family Monica - Beautiful Wife
Twitter page @Tomkins4USA
I am running to provide a conservative option for the people of Idaho. My priorities are to protect innocent life, reduce federal spending, and defend the rights of Americans. My background is simple. I grew up in a farm community in Southern Idaho. I chose to serve the U.S. Army Reserve after high school and have worked various jobs in the Magic Valley area. I feel I can represent Idahoans, because I am part of the hard-working middle class and know the interests of the majority of Idahoans. **Anthony Tomkins is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. Any use of rank, job titles, or photos, does not imply endorsement from the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army.**
I do not support mass deportation on the scale proposed by Donald Trump. It is too costly to the American people. I do support securing the border and implementing legislation that will discourage employment and government benefits for illegal immigrants, as a result, encouraging voluntary deportation.
I do not favor the plan of Hillary Clinton to expand the Affordable Care Act as the act has no basis or support from the U.S. Constitution. The federal government does not have the authority to demand or provide health insurance coverage for Americans and I will do all that I can to repeal the Affordable Care Act and prevent the federal government from meddling in our personal affairs.
I believe that Idaho has been taken advantage of, in some respects, when it comes to its relationship with the Department of Energy. I will work to make sure that Idaho, not the federal government, is represented with any deals that are made. I am not afraid of losing out on federal money if it means that Idaho is fully represented in Washington and the interest of Idahoans are made the priority.
The U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government's ownership of the public lands of Idaho. The plan from Sen. Ted Cruz is a step in the right direction, but I will emphasize the need to involve the legislatures of the states in question and find the solution that the people at the local level can agree with. I will do all that I can to avoid any plan that will pass public lands straight to private ownership without the public's engaged involvement in the process. I want to find a way to give the state of Idaho more authority over its lands without compromising them to the cronyism that is so prevalent in our government today.
The U.S. Constitution is very specific as to what taxes can be raised for. I believe that returning our federal government back to the Constitution's original intentions, will bring us closer to eliminating the debt and securing a balanced budget, than any other plan.
This number does not concern me. It is evident of what is going on. Our representatives are hearing the concerns of lobbyists, instead of listening to their constituents. I would change this by listening to the people of Idaho. I will not bow down to special interests or lobbying groups and will instead represent the interest of the Idaho 2nd Congressional District.
I do support the Constitution Party Candidate on the Idaho Ballot, Scott Copeland. His policies are what we need at this time. I do not believe that he has a chance at winning nationally, due to his being on only the Idaho ballot. So far, I plan to vote for him. This is slightly due to being honorable and standing up for my candidate, which some of the other parties seem to be having trouble with.