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.

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Idaho House District 19 - Seat B

Incumbent: Democrat Melissa WintrowTerm: Two yearsSalary: $16,684Candidates on video:Jane McClaranMelissa Wintrow

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    Jane McClaran

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    Melissa Wintrow

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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?

Age 61
Education Bachelor degree in Accountancy from Boise State University - 1998. Certified Public Accountant since 2003; inactive status.
Prior political experience Involved in drafting numerous amendments to Idaho Code and Administrative Rules and presented those bills and rules to legislative committees.
Civic involvement Served as the Governor’s designee to the Idaho College Savings Board (Ideal) from 2003 – 2008. Served on Governor’s Nursing Task Force – 2006. Appointed by the State Treasurer to the Idaho Everywoman’s Money Steering Committee - 1999. A founding Board member of the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition in 1991.
Years living in Idaho I am a fourth generation Idahoan and lived here all my life.
Family Husband Steve, son and daughter-in-law, two granddaughters.
One of the main reasons people choose to live in Idaho is the extraordinary quality of life available to us. Protecting individual rights, determining appropriate land use, preserving water and air quality, and ensuring bountiful recreational opportunities are all critical issues that enrich and enhance our lives. However, my top priorities are aimed at (1) fostering a quality public education system, (2) guaranteeing access to affordable health care for all citizens, and (3) encouraging a robust and vibrant state economy. A seamless K-through-Career education system requires collaboration among stakeholders at all levels. I am an advocate for professional technical and postsecondary programs and will work with public/private partners to do more to increase college completion rates. I support developing a comprehensive funding plan for transportation infrastructure maintenance, and cultivating a business friendly environment through workforce development and education to encourage continued economic growth.
Statistics suggest a majority of adults in Idaho’s coverage gap are working poor. Many are employed by small agriculture-related employers; a critically important contributing sector to Idaho’s economy. The coverage gap population is ineligible for publicly-financed coverage through the Exchange, most do not have access to employer-based coverage through a job, and all have limited income available to purchase coverage on their own. Denying proper access to basic preventative and routine health care leads to reduced productivity, serious health conditions and increased costs over time. Medicaid is designed to provide a safety net of coverage for low-income people. I support expanding Medicaid eligibility to include low-income uninsured adults who don’t qualify for the advance premium tax credit. I propose funding this option by eliminating the need for the Catastrophic Health Care Cost Program (CAT) fund, reducing reliance on Behavior Health and Public Health programs administered through the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare, and ongoing support from Millennium Income Funds.
Idaho has a Constitutional mandate to establish and maintain a uniform system of free public schools. It is our obligation to ensure our youth reach their full potential and are prepared to compete in a global economy. I believe the state made good progress on the public schools budget this past session by restoring operational funding to the pre-recession level, resulting in a Public Schools budget of roughly $220M more this year than in FY09. It also funded the second year of the career ladder plus $2M for professional development for teachers, and obligated $49M for public and charter school facilities. However, performance measurements suggest that Idaho could do more to improve our education system and better prepare our students for success. Therefore, I support providing operational funds to local school districts with the goal of obtaining the most effective and innovative academic achievement outcomes. Idaho offers a wide range of scholarships and incentive programs that when well-funded and combine with newly enhanced college advising, can improve the percent of high school graduates who go on to college.
Each level of government has its unique purpose. Local government is responsible for passing ordinances which comply with state law, which in turn are consistent with federal law. I advocate for minimizing government regulation and maximizing individual choice. While I believe that each level is most representative of its populous, my support for allowing municipalities the flexibility to implement their local programs and services is limited to issues which do not encroach on other local governments or have a statewide impact. On the control issue, 8.8 of the over 20 million acres of national forests in Idaho have been identified at high risk of mortality and fire. Of these, 1.8 million acres are proposed treatment areas under the GNA. Despite opposition from my opponent, SCR 126 enjoyed nearly unanimous bipartisan support. This paved the way for cooperative land management agreements which provide for restoration services to improve forest and watershed health on specific parcels of federal lands in Idaho. Joint management efforts have broad support and appeal, while transferring ownership does not. The state cannot afford the costs associated with maintaining public lands.
Oppose: HJR 5 Rules. Amending our state Constitution to mirror existing statutory authority is unnecessary, I believe in the separation of power among the branches of government, but most importantly, I accept the people’s decision last election cycle when this same issue was on the ballot and defeated. To place it on the ballot again is a waste of taxpayer resources. HB 516 ultrasounds. I do not believe the proper role of government is to attempt to legislate morals. Support: HB 477a college scholarships to students who earn college credits while in high school. I strongly support the $2 million annual investment to encourage high school students to attend college. My opponent was absent when this bill was considered. SB 1279 $10M. The STEM Action Center aids Idaho students with competitive employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math and is a great example of successful public/private partnership. SB 1376 transparency and a streamlined process for replicating high achieving charter schools. I support accountability of public instruction offered through traditional, digital and charter schools. My opponent voted no on this OSBE-sponsored legislation.
I value our part-time citizen legislative structure. Members are accountable to voters and therefore representative of their constituents. I believe its proper role is to establish a foundation of uniform laws which ensure quality education, public safety, health and human services, environmental protection, and to appropriate funds while maximizing individual freedom. The Legislature must conduct its work within reasonable time constraints. As with most organizations, there is room for improvement. I believe maintaining the checks and balances among the three branches of government is an effective part of the solution. I will work to avoid overreaching control, partisan politics, and undue influence of special interests.
Only one candidate will lead the way toward reducing the national debt, reassessing Obamacare, naming conservative judges to the Supreme Court, retaining jobs within America, limiting government regulation and protecting our civil liberties. While I do not condone the contempt and disrespectful behavior both Clinton and Trump have demonstrated throughout this election, I remain focused on the conservative principles achievable through the Office of the President, more so than I do on the individual candidates. I have serious doubts about what our country’s future will look like under a Hillary Clinton administration of oppressive regulation and bureaucracy leading to a bankrupt nation, while pushing us further toward a socialist society. Therefore, I cast my vote for Donald Trump.
Age 54
Education B.A. English Literature, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; M.Ed. Higher Education, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Prior political experience Idaho State Representative for District 19
Civic involvement Board member, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence; Sexual Assault Victim's Advocacy, Boise State University; Gender Studies Advisory Board, Boise State University; Service Learning Community Partnerships: Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaii, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, International Rescue Committee, Boise State Women's Center, The Community Center, Idaho Human Rights Education Center
Years living in Idaho 17
Family Bradley V. Sneed, attorney and partner of Kormanik and Sneed LLC
Twitter page @wintrow4idaho
Education: Business leaders are clear; we need an educated workforce if our economy is going to thrive. Investing in a world-class educational system from early learning through career is the best investment we can make in our future. Education funding increased this year, but we’re still at 2009 levels. We have to do better.

Equality: I will continue to fight for fairness and equality for all citizens in our state. I advocate Adding the Words “sexual orientation and gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act; no one should be fired, thrown out of their home, or denied public services based on who they are.

Quality of Life: We must be good stewards of our resources and protect air and water quality which make our state a great place to live. I will continue to protect our public lands from private interests who want to sell our legacy to the highest bidder. A strong economy relies on quality education, health care, a stable tax structure, sustainable business practices, and fair treatment of employees. We must change the image of our state and create forward thinking strategies to promote an economy that works for everyone, attracts new business, and keeps talent in state.
Closing the health care coverage GAP for 78,000 hardworking Idahoans is long overdue. Sen. Dan Schmidt (D) proposed legislation this year to allow our state to apply for federal funds to provide coverage to our citizens falling in the coverage gap, but the proposal was defeated along party lines. Medicaid expansion makes good financial sense with estimated savings of more than 184 million dollars over the next 10 years in state and local funds. More importantly, it is the ethical thing to do. Medicaid covers the poorest of our citizens, but the 78,000 people that are in the GAP are not the poorest in Idaho. They are hardworking citizens, often with several jobs, trying to make ends meet as waiters, cooks, construction and factory workers, and, ironically, an insurance agent featured recently in the Statesman, who needed surgery but couldn’t afford it because she fell in the coverage GAP. When health issues rise to this level, it creates individual duress and loss of work hours. I support redesign and welcome collaboration to receive monies that would alleviate the financial burden for our state and offer support for our hardworking citizens in the coverage GAP.
Our constitution says, the stability of our government “depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” We continue to fall short of our duty to fund education so it is accessible to all citizens. The outcomes were clear to our founders; a quality education is the foundation for a successful economy and a high quality of life. We can invest in our schools without raising taxes if we close loopholes for big corporations and the rich. We should invest in pre-K education; early learning programs improve literacy rates and drastically increase the chances for success throughout a student’s education and “to go on.” Teachers are a key to this success; we need to fulfill our promise and fund meaningful salary increases that improve retention and recruitment of quality teachers. We need to help our rural schools, many of which have buildings in need of repair, lack high-speed Internet, and have to close their doors one day a week because they can’t afford it. It is our duty to ensure that everyone has access to a quality education.
Our state would be better off if politicians stopped fighting with the federal government and stopped trying to control counties and cities. We need to work within our laws to create better opportunities for all citizens. Taxpayer dollars would be better spent on finding reasonable, workable solutions instead of creating laws that are later found unconstitutional leaving hardworking Idahoans holding the bag on millions of dollars in legal fees. This session, politicians went against Idaho’s mantra of local control, passing legislation preempting local governments from enacting laws to improve their municipalities. Even the governor gave the legislature a tongue lashing, questioning what felt like a hypocritical move. Politicians try to “take over” federal lands. Idahoans love our public lands and the ability to access them for a variety of outdoor pursuits. Despite whether Idaho could legally take back these lands, we are not fiscally in a position to do so. Recreationalists and sportsmen have shown up in droves telling politicians to “keep your hands off our public lands.” We need to respect our heritage, protect our lands for future generations, and stop wasting taxpayer money.
I am pleased legislation passed to improve public safety, support mental health, and improve literacy: H504 addresses problems with our broken public defense system; H580 updates our rape statutes; H528, which I sponsored, provides statewide standards for processing rape kits; and S1373 enhances anti-stalking laws. I also spoke in favor of funding two more mental health crisis centers and supported suicide prevention funding. I supported education bills to improve literacy, STEM education, and broadband access.

I opposed bills H463/H372 that preempt local control by banning cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage or establishing guidelines on auxiliary containers. I support local governments to make decisions that benefit their communities and improve the quality of life for its citizens. I opposed legislation that put Idaho’s public lands at risk of being put in private hands. Our lands are a birthright and must be protected for future generations. I also opposed H431, which has the potential to increase homeowners’ tax burdens by capping the exemption at $100,000. Homeowners pay enough taxes; we need to alleviate the burden to their pocketbooks, not increase it.
It has been an honor to serve in the Idaho House of Representatives representing Boise’s District 19. The Citizen’s Legislature was devised to provide “regular” citizens from a variety of jobs and backgrounds the opportunity to govern, instead of electing career “politicians.” Although a worthy ideal, this system doesn’t always promote a diverse candidate pool due to its low salary and timing of the session. Currently, it’s difficult for younger people to run because they don’t have established careers where they could take three months off work for session. It isn’t financially viable. We need to create a system that supports people from all walks of life to run for office and provide this vital service. Effective legislators work year round and perform constituent work and research out of session. I believe we should reevaluate session timing and legislator pay to promote a more diverse candidate pool that isn’t limited to people who can “afford” to run. We are missing out on good talent and the possibility of a more diverse candidate pool.
I support former Secretary Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Presidential nominee. She has been involved in public service for over 30 years and has a very impressive resume. However, regardless of national politics, I am focused on the issues that Idaho citizens face. As I go door to door meeting constituents, there are concerns that come up consistently: "close the gap" on Medicaid and provide health insurance coverage for 78,000 hard working citizens; Add the Words "sexual orientation and gender identity" to our Human Rights Act and create fair policies that don't discriminate against people for who they are; protect access to our public lands for future generations; create an economy that is working for everyone not just people at the top; and create strategies to improve public transportation in our region. Boise has grown by 28% in the last 15 years. The state needs to work with municipalities, instead of tying their hands, so counties and cities can create infrastructure that sustains growth and our high quality of life. Public transportation and multi-modal systems of transportation are high priorities for D19 citizens. I am committed to working on these issues and more.