Mike Bullard was pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Coeur d’Alene until he retired in 2009 after 35 years at the pulpit. Now he’s running for political office, challenging three-term Rep. Marge Chadderdon, R-Coeur d’Alene.
Bullard said he started the race out of concern over cuts in education, but has increasingly become concerned about jobs and the economy.
Chadderdon says education is “upper-front what I care about,” and she defends her vote to cut school funding this year. “That’s part of the tough vote that we had to make,” she said, “with the revenue not being there and with the unemployment as high as it is in Idaho.”
Bullard said the state could have spared schools from the cuts without raising taxes by collecting taxes already due and re-examining exemptions. “You always look in a business at collecting the receivables that are due to you when you’re in trouble financially, and that has not been done,” he said.
• Marge Chadderdon , 74
Bio: Third-term state representative; co-owned chain of floor-covering stores; associate degree in education from College of Great Falls, attended Gonzaga University; former Fernan City Council member. Widowed, four children, nine grandchildren
Campaign promises: Support expansion of professional-technical courses in high schools; support expansion of Idaho Education Network to bring more courses to rural students.
Notable: Retired after selling family floor-covering business, which is now Great Floors, to children. Previously owned a wholesale floor-covering business in four Western states.
• Mike Bullard, 62
Bio: Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Coeur d’Alene until retiring in 2009; also served as Presbyterian church pastor in Twin Falls and in Plainfield, Ind., and Mountain Prospect, Ill; doctorate in ministry from Chicago Theological Seminary; master of divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary; bachelor’s degree, Maryville College. Married, two children.
Campaign promises: “I will work hard and be independent and listen to various parties, but not be dictated (to) by any party. … I will respond to the people, not to any party or power besides the people in my district.”
Notable: Bullard, who said as a pastor he’s been with hundreds of people who were sick or dying, strongly opposes this year’s “conscience” bill that allows any medical care provider to refuse to provide end-of-life care that violates his or her conscience; Chadderdon voted for it.