November 2016 Treasure Valley Voters Guide

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Canyon County Commissioner - District 2

Incumbent: Tom DaleTerm: Four years2017 salary: $83,601Canyon County is Idaho’s second largest county.Population: 207,4782017 budget: $79.7 million

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    Tom Dale

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Biographical Information

Why are you running for office? What in your background qualifies you for the job of commissioner?

What are the three most important issues facing your county?

What is the best solution for addressing crowding at the Canyon County Jail?

Do you approve of the steps the Legislature took this session to bolster public defense in Idaho counties? If not, what would the right approach have been?

Are you in favor of giving companies tax breaks like the one commissioners granted Forage Genetics to boost the local economy? Why or why not?

What is your view of transportation issues in Canyon County? What would you tell the state about needs in the county? What would you do to improve commute times between Boise and Canyon County?

What kind of relationship should county commissioners have with the sheriff? What, if anything, would you do to improve the current relationship?

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 BA - Northwest Nazarene University MME - University of North Texas
Prior political experience 6 years, Nampa City Council 12 years, Nampa mayor
Civic involvement High School Football referee - 37 years Nampa Kiwanis Club Nampa Salvation Army Board Former CWI Citizens' Advisory Board Former NNU School of Business Advisory Council
Years living in Idaho 40+ years
Family Father, 2 brothers, 1 sister, many nieces and nephews, and many great pieces and nephews.
Serving people has been my life's passion, and I still love doing that. Being an elected official is a position of trust and service to the public. It requires an ability to exhibit genuine respect and concern for people and their issues. It also requires an open mind, a willingness to actively listen to diverse opinions, and a desire to work with others to explore and develop solutions to all manner of challenges. After a total of 20 years of public service, I feel I have much value to bring to this office in these areas.
- Managing available funds in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner. This means taking care of Canyon County's most valuable resource; our employees. They need to be compensated for their work on a level comparable with market rates in order to retain them for the long term. - Finding the best solution for addressing the issues with the Canyon County jail. Before beginning any major building project, a strategic needs analysis should be completed that looks at the long term needs of the county for jail space, the true cost of construction, and the costs for operation and maintenance. This has never been done for Canyon County. - Domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse is a huge problem in our county. We need to continue to focus the spotlight of awareness on these issues and come alongside those who provide means of protection and escape for victims with whatever help we can offer.
Now that the City of Caldwell has twice denied the special use permit needed to build the proposed addition to the old jail, it is time to move on and refocus. The need for more jail space is real, and will continue to grow with the county. We must address this need. I propose to commission a comprehensive needs analysis for the jail, and develop a strategic plan that will meet those needs for many years into the future. The strategic plan will consider all elements of our justice system, and include collaboration with the sheriff, the cities of the county, and the the citizens of the county. It will develop a cost analysis, including construction costs as well as ongoing operational and staffing costs. We should then develop a realistic, cost effective way to pay for these costs, and then take it to the people.

The state has a constitutional obligation to provide public defense to people who come into our judicial system but cannot afford an attorney to represent them. The official position of the Idaho Association of Counties, and that of Canyon County, is we would have preferred to see the state fully accept this responsibility, and relieve Idaho's County taxpayers of this financial burden. While the steps the legislature took did not fully accomplish this, the legislation adopted is a step in the right direction.
The tax breaks granted Forage Genetics are similar to incentives given to other employers willing to invest in projects in Canyon County and provide jobs for our people. These incentives were made available to counties by the State Legislature in order to allow Idaho communities to attract new industries and encourage expansion of existing industries. This tool has been very successful since its introduction several years ago, and I strongly support its use and am grateful to the our legislators for creating it.
While Canyon County has no jurisdiction over roads, I believe strongly in communicating to the Legislature and to ITD about the ongoing transportation challenges Canyon County citizens face daily. State Highway 55 from Nampa to Caldwell is one of the most dangerous stretches of roads in the state, and needs immediate attention. Likewise, Interstate 84 from Caldwell to Nampa is a piece of the Interstate that needs to be improved sooner, rather than later. The condition of the pavement coming out of Caldwell is an embarrassment, as well as a safety hazard. This entire section of the interstate needs to be widened to accommodate the volume of traffic using it every day. The message to the State is to please fully fund the transportation needs in our state. Last year the legislature took a step in the right direction, and we need to finish the job.
The relationship between county commissioners and all other 6 elected county officials should be one of mutual respect, trust, and collaboration. During my time as a county commissioner, I have made it a priority to build relationships with these colleagues in the Courthouse by meeting with them one on one to discuss issues of importance to the county. My personal relationship with the Sheriff, and all Canyon County elected officials, is healthy. In our discussions we freely talk about issues of importance to the Sheriff's Department, and seek solutions that make sense fiscally and logistically. It is inevitable that conflicts and disagreements will arise among reasonable people working together. These conflicts can only be resolved through open and honest communication; people coming together to listen and understand each other's opinions, then create a collaborative, win-win solution.