Idaho House District 5A race

Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, is the chairman of the House Education Committee, and he’s been in the thick of the debate over this year’s unprecedented cuts in public school funding – in fact, Nonini called for deeper cuts.

“I don’t believe that teachers, whether they get a 4 percent pay cut or an 8 percent pay cut, are going to be any less effective,” Nonini said, adding, “they might not be happy about it.”

Nonini recommended 8 percent cuts in state funding for teacher salaries this year; lawmakers approved 4 percent.

He’s facing a challenge in November from Democrat David Larsen, who also challenged Nonini unsuccessfully in the last two legislative elections, in 2008 and 2006. “I think that the typical voter is really tired of extremes at both ends of the spectrum, and I’m running as a moderate Democrat,” Larsen said. “My goal is to try to get people who would be sitting on their hands and choosing not to vote in this election to come out and realize that there are options for them.”

Nonini is the only District 5 lawmaker who’s being challenged this year.

• Bob Nonini , 56

Incumbent Republican

Bio: Third-term state representative, chairman of the House Education Committee; financial consultant/insurance sales; former Kootenai County GOP chairman, three terms; attended North Idaho College. Married.

Campaign promises: Develop incentives for businesses to grow and hire new employees; continue with the implementing of the Idaho Education Network into all of Idaho’s public schools

Notable: Nonini is a Wallace native. He’s an outspoken lawmaker who tends to get fired up and sound angry, then laugh about it later.

• David Larsen , 70


Bio: Retired high school math teacher; teaches math two days a week as an adjunct instructor at North Idaho College; third run against Nonini; bachelor’s degree, Central Washington University; master’s degree, University of Washington; U.S. Army veteran. Married, three children, one grandchild.

Campaign promises: “I would give thoughtful consideration to every issue that comes forth, and I would try to make a decision that is in the best interest of citizens, not corporations.” Favors re-examining sales tax exemptions to alleviate state’s budget crisis.

Notable: Larsen became interested in politics through his involvement with the Panhandle Coalition, a nonpartisan group that reviews legislative issues and then tries to influence the debate.

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