An open legislative seat is up for grabs in Coeur d’Alene, with the retirement of four-term Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene; Democrat Paula Marano and Republican Kathy Sims are facing off for the seat.
Marano is close to Sayler, a retired Coeur d’Alene high school government teacher who won respect on both sides of the aisle; she served as his stand-in when he had to miss a week of the legislative session, and he’s endorsed her.
Sims is a former county GOP chair who served in the state Senate for two years after being appointed to replace then-Sen. Jack Riggs, R-Coeur d’Alene, when he was named lieutenant governor. Since then, she’s made waves by campaigning against city redevelopment efforts and dubbing the city’s financial donation toward building the Kroc Community Center a “criminal conspiracy.”
Sims also joined an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn a legislative redistricting plan by charging that it favored North Idaho; that plan shoved her into the same district as fellow GOP Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, in 2002; he defeated her in the GOP primary.
The district has elected both Democrats and Republicans.
• Paula Marano , 61
Bio: Retired teacher, taught third grade in Coeur d’Alene for 14 years; past president, Coeur d’Alene Education Association; bachelor’s degree, University of Idaho. Married, three children and five grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “Idaho’s schools must be adequately funded. It’s an investment.” Also backs incentives for renewable energy and investment in higher education.
Notable: Marano was the 2006 Coeur d’Alene Elementary Educator of the Year.
• Kathleen Sims , 68
Bio: Owner, Coeur d’Alene Honda, 1968-present; Idaho state senator, 2001-2002; candidate for Senate, 2002; former Kootenai County GOP chair and state GOP vice chair; served on Idaho Human Rights Commission; attended North Idaho College. Divorced, two children and four grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “I’m going to try to avoid raising taxes at all costs. … I hope to keep government small and spending low.”
Notable: Sims has been on the board of directors of the National Automobile Dealers Association since 1997.