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.



Idaho Senate District 9

Incumbent: Republican Abby LeeTerm: Two yearsSalary: $16,684

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  • Carol Bogue
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Abby Lee
    (Rep)

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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?

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Age 48
Education BA Communications - Brigham Young University, MS Instructional and Performance Technology - Boise State University, PhD Public Policy and Administration (in progress) - Boise State University
Prior political experience State Senator District 9
Civic involvement Charter member of Snake River Economic Development Association (SREDA), Fruitland Community for Classroom Building Bond Campaign Committee, St. Alphonsus Medical Center Community Board, Education Idaho Network Steering Committee
Years living in Idaho 23 years
Family Married 23 years to Brian Lee, 4th-generation Idahoan. Two daughters.
TAX POLICY. As a member of the legislative interim tax policy committee, I am committed to comprehensive tax policy review. Instead of one-time election-year tax proposals, a systemic and thoughtful review is needed in order to lower overall tax burden while still adequately funding the limited government roles of ensuring public education, transportation infrastructure and public safety. EDUCATION. I support local control of education and have been active in local bond issues and school improvement programs. Leveraging partnerships with industry to meet training and workforce development shortages is critical to supporting the economy and helping students learn job-ready skills. IMPROVED NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT POLICIES I fought to close tax loopholes for oil and gas companies and have been on the front-line of crafting new policies to address mineral rights development in Idaho. Our next step is to ensure mineral right owners have a strong voice within the State’s regulation structure and surface owners are also protected. Additional local revenues can come from better forest management through improved natural resource development, such as mining, natural gas, & logging.
The current policy of indigent care and the state's catastrophic fund is a broken and expensive policy, but Idaho should not expand traditional Medicaid. Earmarked federal dollars have proven to be a risky bet for Idaho. I believe Idaho can address this issue without federal intrusion or solutions if we can get access to our dollars. We can and should work to change the federal laws – asking for a waiver from these federal rules, and looking for any other reasonable option, is necessary to create an Idaho solution to address the real costs of the gap population. Additional funding to Community Health Centers in Idaho for sliding-scale fee options, as well as partnering with existing non-profit community health groups would also address non-emergency healthcare access. In the meantime, as we engage in this lengthy process, we can't congratulate ourselves by standing strong against Medicaid expansion while simply shifting these costs back to our county indigent funds, our local hospitals and those who are insured who are paying higher medical bills to cover the costs of uninsured Idahoans. Failing to address this issue is simply poor public policy and rhetoric at work.
The Idaho Constitution clearly states we have a duty "to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools." Although we have made progress during the past two legislative sessions, there is no question we have fallen behind in teacher pay, maintenance funding and overall support for operational costs. Lack of funding at the state level is simply a tax shift back to local communities who are increasingly shouldering the tax burden through local school levies. Homeowners, businesses and farms are forced to boot-strap short-term solutions and pay an increasingly higher tax rates through local school bond levies because the state is not following meeting its Constitutional educational mandate for education. I have worked on efforts in my community and supported recent legislation promoting dual credit classes that can be taken in High School to earn college credits. I have supported similar initiatives with regard to vocational and technical certifications and careers. These are two critical components to ensuring that Idaho’s graduates are career or college ready.
I believe that as a general proposition the government that governs least governs best and the government closest to the people will generally operate most effectively. I believe in common sense solutions and equal treatment of citizens. For these reasons, I am in most instances a proponent of local control first and State control second. I support federal action only to the extent authorized by the U.S. Constitution and am very frustrated by the over-reach of the federal government into state and local issues. State and local control over policy, governance, lands and resources is most appropriate and I believe our founders intended that we govern ourselves in this way. But any candidate who claims to be able to solve these complex issues simply at the state level, is disingenuous and misinformed. In fact, many good legislators have been working hard on our lands issue for decades. Utah’s current lawsuit will be a benchmark for next steps and real solutions are most likely to be achieved through collaboration among western states. As a member of the Western States Forestry Taskforce, I will continue to advocate for Idaho to have more management and better access of our lands.
OPPOSED: 1. Expanding Traditional Medicaid. I voted to begin on a waiver from federal Medicaid rules, continue supporting local community health centers and to begin the real work of creating an Idaho solution to the gap population (H644a). 2. The Oil and Gas industry rewriting land use rules for their exclusive benefit; I successfully removed a major section of S1339 in order to protect mineral rights before it was presented as a final bill. 3. Approving additional indebtedness for the Idaho Department of Transportation under GARVEE bonds (S1263) SUPPORTED/ WOULD: 1. Increased education funding, specifically additional dollars for Career Technical Education and early reading initiative (H526). I am committed to improving education and believe we can support local control by continuing to fund discretionary dollars to local school districts. 2. Concealed Carry (S1389). Created consistency with concealed carry throughout our state and protected reciprocity with other states. 3. Eliminating grocery tax. I support this policy not only because it is good for District 9 due to proximity to Oregon with no sales tax, but removing this tax is simply good tax policy for Idaho families
The proper role of the part-time citizen legislature is to make the rules, adopt the policy by which Idahoans will be governed and to approve taxes and expenditures for the common good, as described within the Idaho constitution. I support limited government and would not support any effort to convert Idaho’s legislature from part-time to full-time. However, Idaho’s system does have challenges that demand commitment and diligence from legislators. While the legislative branch is in session part-time, the administrative branch of our government, special interest groups and lobbyists work full-time year-round and often have more time to prepare for the promotion their agendas. Part-time legislators must be committed to working year-round to educate themselves and prepare to meet the demands of the session. I have undertaken this obligation. District 9 can be assured I will continue to work and prepare throughout the year. While in session, I worked every day, read every bill and made every vote. I also don't refer to "scores" when casting votes. I do this work myself and am not dependent on others to explain the issues or provide the facts that underpin them.
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