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Opinion

Voters face tough choice in primary

Coeur d’Alene Democrats will be faced with two tough choices when they go to the primary polls next Tuesday.

First, they’ll have to decide whether to vote for one of two competent candidates running for the House District 4A seat – or to switch parties for one day to vote in the winner-take-all Republican primaries for two Kootenai County commissioner spots. If the Coeur d’Alene Democrats “stay home,” they’ll have a tough choice to make between incumbent Bonnie Douglas and political newcomer Mike Gridley.

We encourage Lake City Democrats to vote in their own primary to determine which candidate represents the best chance to hold their hard-won seat this fall in what could be a tough contest in District 4 (Coeur d’Alene), the most politically balanced legislative district in North Idaho – and to vote for City Attorney Mike Gridley. In the Republican primary, we endorse businesswoman Marge Chadderdon.

In picking Gridley over Douglas, we opted for personality, consensus-building skills and a track record for getting things done in a climate dominated by representatives of the other party. As city attorney, Gridley works in a nominally nonpartisan environment teaming with council members and city officials who are Republicans. He has succeeded in that situation by helping forge an agreement with Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad that enables the city to reroute the Centennial Trail off busy Northwest Boulevard and by helping draft tough new regulations for hillside development. Also, he has worked behind the scenes to keep Sanders Beach open to the public.

Although Rep. Douglas compiled an excellent voting record during her first two sessions in office, Gridley, a former railroad attorney, has the charisma and perseverance to push forward on bigger issues of importance to Democrats: good schools, good jobs and environmental protection. “If I have to set my hair on fire to get something done,” Gridley said, “I’m willing to do that.” Importantly, Gridley believes that North Idaho’s 15 lawmakers should work together to find and support common ground on important issues.

In the Republican primary, Chadderdon gets our nod as a businesswoman who founded a chain of flooring stores with her late husband and an active Republican whose service to the party dates back to Dwight Eisenhower’s 1956 presidential campaign. She recently was appointed to the board of directors of the National Federation of Republican Women. Her top issues include keeping Idaho’s political climate business-friendly, keeping taxes in check and improving the quality of Idaho’s education.

Hollingsworth, who came within 28 votes of beating Douglas in a three-way race two years ago, concerns us, although he’s toned down his ultraconservative rhetoric. Two years ago, he supported doing away with the property tax; Idaho taking control of public lands; and reducing all facets of government in general and planning and building departments in particular.

Chadderdon and Gridley would give District 4 voters a good choice in November.

 

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