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.

Trustee Zone 5

Terms on the college's five-member board last 4 years. Board members are not paid.This voting district covers both Ada and Canyon counties. This year, for the first time, board members must be from certain geographic districts. But all registered voters in both counties weigh in on each seat, similar to how county commission elections are set up.The college's 2017 fiscal year budget is $59.62 million.

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  • Candidate picture

    Mark Dunham

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Biographical Information

Will you vote for the $180 million CWI construction bond and why or why not?

Construction aside, what is CWI’s greatest single need?

What do you want to accomplish over your term?

CWI charges $139 per credit hour for instruction. To keep classes affordable, should the school put a cap on the per unit cost? Why? Why not?

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 58
Education Bachelors at BSU
Prior political experience Two terms as a CWI Trustee. Over 30 years as a legislative advisor in Idaho.
Civic involvement Board of Trustees at American Heart & Stroke Association - Idaho; Board of Trustees of the Housing Company; Board of Commissioners of Idaho; Housing and Finance Association Board of Trustees at College of Western Idaho; Chair of the Idaho Aphasia, Apraxia, and Dysarthria Support Group
Years living in Idaho 52
Family My wife Heather Saxton Dunham, and our 11 year old son, Ethan.
Twitter page @DunhamMark
Yes! I will vote for the $180 million CWI construction bond. I am a founding CWI Trustees. At our 1st meeting as a Board, we literally almost had nothing other than 100 acres, an empty building with some equipment, and a lot of promises and expectations. Fast forward 9 years later, CWI is serving about 20,000 students every year, has awarded thousands of degrees and certificates, and helped businesses thrive. Despite this success, CWI cannot keep up this pace unless voters pass this bond to fund expected growth and to build infrastructure for further growth. CWI has limited options to fund needed and expected growth. The state has limited funds. Compared to the two other community colleges, CWI is underfunded $6 million EVERY year. Other sources of revenue are also limited. And finally, we already raised fees this year. We are leasing space for our programs which costs $2 million EVERY year. CWI needs to be affordable for students. I firmly believe have have kept our promise to the voters and taxpayers. But, to continue serving the needs of everyone in the Treasure Valley, we need to pass this bond for the good of the valley. If not, we might have to limit needed plans and growth.
We have two critical needs: 1: We need to complete the accreditation process. This has been almost a 9 year process. Higher Education sometimes moves at a snail's pace. However, the exhaustive process is necessary because CWI was historic in many ways like "the fastest growing community college in US history." With this arduous process, taxpayers, businesses, students, parents, faculty, staff and administration will know that CWI is the best of the best. 2: CWI was founded on the brink of the Great Recession. State budgets were very tight as a result. The state has been very generous to CWI in the midst of one of the worst economies in history. With state budgets recovering, I am hopeful that CWI will get state support like other colleges. CWI is underfunded by about $6 million every year compared to the two other colleges. Plus, the State of Idaho has funded many buildings for other Idaho universities and colleges. We need to make the case for CWI. I believe CWI has a proven record of results. But many taxpayers and elected officials do not really understand that CWI is helping in so many ways. We need to keep telling our story.
I want to complete the accreditation process, help raise awareness about our budget to state lawmakers, continue to reach out to underserved populations, and to continue to reach out to businesses and industry.

CWI held the line for many years on fees. The Board takes this responsibility seriously. We review our financials with a fine tooth comb every month. We engage outside experts. We have a Finance Committee comprised of outside professionals. We work with our outside auditors. We work closely with our administration to make sure financials are in order. We as a lot of questions. My goal is to keep our mission in mind every day: "The College of Western Idaho is a public, open-access, and comprehensive community college committed to providing affordable access to quality teaching and learning opportunities to the residents of its service area in western Idaho." "AFFORDABLE" is the key. However, I would NOT support capping the cost. That would be last resort. Is has always been my last resort. Nevertheless, we have to be realistic. We have limited options and resources.