Wash., Idaho voters cast ballots with local, national implications
Most voters across the Inland Northwest will have their ballots by this weekend for a Nov. 2 midterm election that will decide everything from control of the U.S. Congress to whether wealthy Washington residents will have to begin paying state income taxes.
In Idaho, where most ballots are still cast at the polls on Election Day, voters will choose a governor and several other statewide leaders, as well as a new Idaho Legislature, where every seat is up for election. Several local offices, including a rare contested race for Kootenai County coroner, are on the ballot as well. This is the first year Idaho voters will be required to show photo ID at the polls.
Below are summaries of all contested races affecting Spokane and Kootenai counties.
It was compiled by staff writers Alison Boggs, Jonathan Brunt, Jim Camden, Thomas Clouse, John Craig, Betsy Z. Russell and Jody Lawrence-Turner.
Find complete coverage of Election 2010 in The Spokesman-Review and online at spokesman.com/pages/2010-election.
An online voters guide also is available from the Washington secretary of state’s office, www.sos.wa.gov/elections. The Idaho secretary of state’s office has a partial voters guide.
Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 to be counted. Drop-off boxes will be located at public libraries across Spokane County.
In Idaho, polls close at 8 p.m. Poll locations can be found at the Kootenai County Elections Department, www.co.kootenai.id.us/elections.
Inland Northwest races, issues
Washington voters have a near record number of initiatives on this fall’s ballot, giving them choices on raising taxes, paying taxes, buying liquor and providing for workers’ industrial insurance.
Here’s a look at the ballot measures.
• I-1053: Proposed by Tim Eyman and a host of conservative allies in the opening days of last winter’s legislative session, this proposal seeks to undo what conservatives believed, correctly, the Democrat-controlled Legislature was about to do: Remove the supermajority needed to increase taxes. The two-thirds majority was suspended through mid-2013 and a series of tax increases were passed to help balance the budget; if I-1053 passes, that supermajority again will be needed for any tax increase, at least for two years, while state law makes amending initiatives more difficult.
Supported by: major oil companies, state Restaurant Association, Northwest Grocery Association, state Bankers Association, Association of Washington Business, Farm Bureau, Realtors, soda bottlers.
Opposed by: Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, food and commercial workers union.
Campaign so far: Supporters say a supermajority is clearly what voters want as a check on unbridled legislative spending, because they have passed that restriction three times before. Opponents say the requirement is undemocratic because it allows a minority to block key legislation. After contributing to Eyman’s committee for signature gathering, oil companies and other businesses set up a separate committee for the fall campaign.
• I-1098: Would levy an income tax of 5 percent on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year, or couples who make more than $400,000 that jumps after reaching $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for couples. It would reduce the state portion of your property tax bill by 20 percent and increase credits for the businesss and occupation tax.
Supported by: Service Employees International Union and several of its locals, National Education Association, William Gates Sr., several progressive groups, including Washington, D.C.-based Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.
Opposed by: Many business groups, including the Association of Washington Business, Greater Spokane Incorporated.
Campaign so far: “Yes” campaign has raised $5.3 million and spent $1.3 million; supporters say it’s time to make the state’s regressive tax system fairer and make wealthier residents pay a larger share of the cost of state services; opponents say this would just be the start of an income tax that would eventually be extended to everyone when the Legislature needs more money to balance the state budget. Bill Gates Sr., who helped draft the initiative, appears on television commercials with the suggestion that this is a way to help schoolchildren by “soaking the rich.” The “no” campaign has raised $4.6 million and spent $236,000, with six-figure donations from some of the state’s wealthiest families other than the Gateses.
• I-1107: Would repeal some of the taxes enacted by Democrats in the Legislature last spring as a way to keep the state’s budget in balance. Taxes repealed would be new levies on soda and other carbonated beverages, sales taxes on bottled water and candy, and business taxes on some processed vegetables, fruit and meat.
Supported by: soda producers and bottlers, whose national organization, American Beverage Association, contributed more than 90 percent of money to the “yes” campaign so far. They want to keep soda from becoming an easy target for cash-strapped legislators around the country.
Opposed by: state employees unions, state teachers union, state hospital association, Group Health and Community Health Network.
Campaign so far: “Yes” campaign, which has raised almost $14.5 million and spent $3.5 million, is stressing taxes being placed on “grocery” items, which have long been spared the sales tax in Washington, and a quirk in the law that doesn’t put the tax on some items most people consider candy. “No” campaign has raised about $343,000 and spent $282,000.
State government changes
• I-1082: Would add private carriers to the current system of state industrial insurance – often called workers’ compensation – that is run by the state except for large employers who choose to self-insure. Such a system, sometimes called “three-way” industrial insurance, has been introduced in various forms in the Legislature in the past but never cleared both houses.
Supported by: Building Industry Association of Washington, Association of Washington Business, National Federation of Independent Business, several large insurance carriers including AIG.
Opposed by: State Labor Council, trial lawyers, state employee unions, Teamsters, trade and craft unions
Campaign so far: “Yes” campaign has raised $2.5 million and spent $960,000. Supporters say this is a way to control regular increases in state industrial insurance rates by adding competition into a system that is all but a state monopoly. “No” campaign has raised $2.2 million and spent $287,000; opponents say it’s a way to help the big insurance companies who would sell the policies, and that the current system provides good benefits at a low cost to workers.
• I-1100: One of two proposals to close state-operated liquor stores and turn sales and distribution of liquor over to the private sector and allow sales in most places that currently sell beer and wine. Sometimes called the “Costco initiative” because the discount giant contributed employee time to gather signatures, it would allow some large retailers to set up their own distribution systems.
Supported by: Costco, Safeway, Wal-Mart
Opposed by: national and state beer distributors, wine distributors, out-of-state liquor distributors, state employees unions.
Campaign so far: “Yes” campaign has raised $2.6 million and spent $1.7 million. The campaign is trying to differentiate this initiative from I-1105, urging a yes on the first and a no on the second, arguing that I-1100 provides more options for consumers and greater safeguards. Opponents have raised $6.4 million and spent $3.4 million; they argue that moving liquor out of state stores will increase consumption and lead to more underage drinking and drunken-driving accidents; supporters argue that’s not the case, and each side produces statistics to bolster its point. Joining the “no” campaign are some cities that fear the loss of some tax revenue.
• I-1105: One of two proposals to close state-operated liquor stores and turn sales and distribution over to the private sector, allowing sales in most places that currently sell beer and wine. Unlike I-1100, this initiative would set up a three-tier system in which production, distribution and sales would be separate. The state currently controls distribution and sales.
Supported by: Odom Southern Holdings LLC of Bellevue and Young’s Market Co. of Los Angeles provided all money so far.
Opposed by: state employees unions, which represent workers in the current system, some state wineries and microbreweries, the Yes on I-1100 campaign.
Campaign so far: “Yes” campaign raised and spent $2.4 million in signature gathering process, nothing since. Some opponents, including state employees unions, beer distributors and local governments, oppose both liquor privatizing initiatives together; Yes on 1100 campaign tries to differentiate to defeat this proposal while passing the other because they want to handle their own distribution.
• Referendum 52: Would allow the state to sell bonds, backed by a tax on bottled water or the general fund, depending on the outcome of I-1107, with the proceeds used to make environmental improvements to public schools and state colleges. Sometimes called “Hans bonds” for the prime sponsor of the legislation, state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish. State would sell bonds totaling $505 million over five years, to be paid back over 29 years; estimated cost with interest would be $937 million.
Supported by: building trade unions, teachers union, state employees, McKinstry Essention Inc., a building construction and rehabilitation firm.
Opposed by: legislative opponents of the referendum.
Campaign so far: Legislative Republicans were solidly opposed to this proposal during the session, and Senate Democrats would only go along with a guaranteed funding source, which became the extension of the bottled water tax set to expire in 2013.
• Resolution 4220: In the wake of a series of law-enforcement deaths in the Puget Sound area late last year, the Legislature passed a series of laws including one to make it possible for a person charged with a crime punishable by life imprisonment to be held without bail. Under current law, only persons facing a charge punishable by execution can be held without bond while awaiting trial.
Supported by: legislators who backed the measure, police and prosecutor organizations.
No organized opposition.
Campaign so far: Supporters say this provides added protections against dangerous criminals; opponents argue that it ignores the presumption of innocence every defendant is entitled to.
• Resolution 8225: This would change the state constitution to change the way the state calculates its debt, which determines how much it can sell in bonds. Supporters call it a way to reduce the amount of interest the state pays for bonds; opponents say it’s an accounting gimmick that will allow the state to take on more debt. There’s no organized support or opposition.
City of Spokane
• Proposition 1: Backers of the proposed Children’s Investment Fund want to attack Spokane’s dismal 29 percent high school dropout rate with a series of programs designed to promote early childhood education and intervention programs.
The six-year levy would raise $5 million annually and cost property owners in the city of Spokane about 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The money would be used to support early childhood learning, abuse and neglect prevention and treatment programs, mentoring programs, and before- and after-school activities.
Studies show students who fail to graduate are more likely to end up in jail, add to the strain on social services and be unemployed.
If approved by voters, the measure calls for creation of an 11-person oversight committee, made up of representatives from different city zones, minority groups and youth, to make spending decisions. Committee members would be appointed by the Spokane mayor and City Council.
Organizations would be awarded grants through a competitive application process.
Supporters argue that the dedicated funding would strengthen the entire community by improving services for kids and, eventually, reversing the city’s high dropout rate.
Critics point to higher property taxes at a time when average household incomes are dropping, and that voters won’t get a chance to weigh in on the effort for at least six years.
U.S. House, Senate
As a three-term incumbent Democrat in a state that supported Barack Obama, John Kerry and Al Gore, Patty Murray theoretically should have an easy time winning a fourth term. But elections aren’t about theory, and Washington’s Senate race is anything but easy for Murray or Republican challenger Dino Rossi.
Both are well-funded and well-known, Murray from her tenure in the Senate and former state Sen. Rossi for his two unsuccessful runs for governor. Both are essentially running on Murray’s record, with a 180-degree difference in interpretation.
Murray’s support for health care reform, federal programs designed to stimulate the economy and changes to financial sector regulations are all reasons to deny her a fourth term, Rossi contends. He’d repeal health care reforms and replace them with medical liability reforms, access to out-of-state carriers and better health savings accounts. He dismisses stimulus spending as a failure that didn’t create jobs and financial regulation as a sellout to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.
Health care reform needs time to work, counters Murray, but is protecting more people, particularly adults under 60. Stimulus spending was necessary to help dig out of a hole created by a Republican administration, save financially strapped states and put the brakes on rising unemployment, and the recently passed Wall Street regulations are a way to avoid the near financial meltdown of 2008-’09.
Each accuses the other of being in the pocket of lobbyists. In truth, both get money from special interests, and ignore that when castigating each other.
Murray touts her support for veterans and the Boeing Co. efforts to win a contract worth $35 billion or more for the next Air Force tanker. Rossi says veterans issues and Boeing’s airplane-making prowess are among their few areas of agreement. The position pays $174,000 per year, plus health care and other benefits.
• Patty Murray , 59
Bio: U.S. senator, 1993-present, fourth-ranking member Democratic caucus; state senator, 1989-’92; former kindergarten teacher; bachelor of arts, WSU, 1972. Married; two adult children.
Campaign promises: extend tax cuts for all but the top income bracket; stimulate the economy; expand veterans programs; support Boeing bid for new Air Force tanker.
Notable: In a year that has some voters angry over earmarks, Murray defends the practice as bypassing the bureaucracy to bring federal money to worthy projects.
• Dino Rossi , 50
Bio: Candidate for governor, 2004, 2008; state senator, 1977-2003; commercial real estate developer. Bachelor’s degree in business, Seattle University. Married; four children.
Campaign promises: Rein in federal spending, balance the federal budget without tax increases, continue tax cuts for all Americans, repeal recent legislation on financial and health care reforms.
Notable: Labeled the “establishment” GOP candidate in the state primary, Rossi easily beat tea party favorite Clint Didier.
5th Congressional District
Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers spent her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in the majority and the last two in the minority. Now part of GOP House leadership, she’s been vocal and visible as the Republicans try for another reversal with a nationwide push.
Democrat Daryl Romeyn can’t do anything about nationwide trends or the final makeup of the House. The former television weatherman and outdoor reporter is just trying to prove McMorris Rodgers’ return for a fourth term isn’t a foregone conclusion with an underfunded and long-shot campaign that emerged from a crowded primary and surprised leaders of his own party.
Although this may be a tough year for some congressional incumbents, McMorris Rodgers doesn’t have the profile that puts her on the endangered species list. A fiscal and social conservative, she enjoys support from all wings of the sometimes fractured local GOP and from the tea party conservatives. She freely admits Republicans “lost their way” when they controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House, spending too much while running up big deficits. But they’ve learned their lesson, she insists.
Romeyn, not surprisingly, is skeptical. He said the Republican leadership’s “Pledge to America,” which his opponent signed, has some grandiose statements that try to play on the voters’ emotions, hoping they have short memories. While Romeyn has some name familiarity from more than a decade on Spokane-area television stations, his novice campaign faces a huge funding disparity.
Position pays $174,000 a year, plus health care and other benefits.
• Cathy McMorris Rodgers , 41
Bio: U.S. representative, 2005-present; state representative, 1994-2004; former legislative aide. MBA, University of Washington. Married; expecting second child.
Campaign promises: Supports House GOP proposals to repeal health care reforms and replace with smaller, less expensive changes, make 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent to spur job growth, cut government, do away with earmarks.
Notable: McMorris Rodgers is one of the highest-ranking women in the GOP caucus and is often seen on the dais when initiatives are announced; she’s also a leader in pushing members to use the Internet and social media.
• Daryl Romeyn , 52
Bio: First run for office. Former television weatherman and outdoor reporter starting in 1980, in Spokane from 1985-2010. Organic farmer, outdoor enthusiast. Bachelor of arts, University of Michigan, 1980. Single.
Campaign promises: Health care reform isn’t perfect, but needs a chance to work while Congress turns its attention to some of the nation’s other problems, such as high unemployment. Proposes federal programs to make healthy forests, use local food in schools. Wants more attention to veterans issues.
Notable: While many Democrats use the donkey logo, Romeyn uses real donkeys, which he had as pack animals for his outdoor segments on TV. His campaign headquarters is in their barn.
State representatives serve two-year terms, while state senators serve four-year terms. Both are paid about $42,000 annually, plus health care benefits.
Stretching through much of central Spokane, this district tends to favor Democrats, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from mounting active campaigns for the two House seats.
House Position 1: Although the district leans Democratic, it was a Republican who topped the August primary for the seat that will soon be vacated by retiring state Rep. Alex Wood, D-Spokane.
Republican Dave White beat three other candidates with 31.6 percent of the vote. He faces Democrat Andy Billig, who finished a close second with 30.9 percent. Both are native New Yorkers.
Despite his primary win, White doesn’t have an easy path to victory in November. The third- and fourth-place finishers were Democrats, and one, Louise Chadez, has endorsed Billig. The other, Spokane City Councilman Bob Apple, isn’t weighing in.
Billig has amassed $114,000 for his campaign, including maximum donations from Avista and the Service Employees International Union’s political action committee. White has raised less than $5,000, but $3,000 of that is a loan from himself, and he has won the endorsement of the county Republican Party, signing the party’s platform and no-tax pledge.
• Andy Billig, 42
Bio: Born in New York; moved to Spokane in 1992. Divorced. One daughter. Bachelor’s in government from Georgetown University. President of Spokane Indians Baseball Team, where he has worked for 18 years. Member of city’s Human Services Advisory Board and Mayor Mary Verner’s Citizens Financial Advisory Committee. Website: www.andybillig.com.
Issues: Won’t rule out tax increases to help balance budget, but says they should be “last choice.” Supports legalization of marijuana for adults 21 and over. Opposes Attorney General Rob McKenna’s challenge of the federal health care law. Supports state’s domestic partner law but says state should allow gay marriage.
• David White, 58
Bio: Born in New York; has lived in Spokane area off and on since 1967. Married. No children. Associate degree from Spokane Community College. Sewer inspector for Spokane County utilities department since 1999. Formerly an inspector for Spokane County engineering department, starting in 1991. Served in U.S. Navy in 1972 and 1973. Website: www.votedavewhite.com.
Issues: Supports legalization of marijuana. Says a tax on marijuana is the only tax he would consider to help balance budget. Supports McKenna’s challenge of the federal health care law. Supports state’s domestic partner law but opposes gay marriage.
House Position 2: Republican Morgan Oyler has a tough challenge. The county GOP has declined to back him and Democratic incumbent state Rep. Timm Ormsby had a strong showing in the primary, winning 62 percent of the vote. Oyler says greater fiscal responsibility is needed in Olympia and that Ormsby is more aligned with Seattle than Spokane.
But Ormsby says that living in the district most of his life has given him “a keen sense of the struggles and the needs of the 3rd District” and an understanding of how important a strong education system and other government-funded services are to his constituents.
Almost all of the $12,000 Oyler has raised has come from California – where Oyler lived until he attended Gonzaga University. Ormbsy has raised $42,000, including $800 donations from Avista and the Washington Education Association.
• Timm Ormsby , 51
Bio: Married. Three children. North Central High School graduate. Business representative for the Northeastern Washington-Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council. Served in state House since 2003. Website: www.timmormsby.com.
Issues: Voted for temporary taxes, including on candy and soda, to help balance budget. Says “anything and everything” should be considered for cuts but that tax increases should not be ruled out to prevent drastic cuts. Opposes liquor privatization, saying potential savings from privatization would be lost through higher costs to public safety. Supports state’s domestic partner law. Says state should have a role in curbing global warming.
• Morgan Oyler , 27
Bio: Single. No children. Graduate of Crossroads School in California. Bachelor’s degree, Gonzaga University. Currently unemployed. Supervised two homes for at-risk youths for Helping Hands. Website: www.voteoyler.com.
Issues: Favors repeal of temporary taxes. Says he opposes tax increases “at this time” to help balance budget. Says some state agencies should be consolidated, such as ones that deal with environmental issues. Says state staffs should be cut and salaries reduced. Supports liquor privatization and state’s domestic partner law. Says global warming is “cover for an agenda that wouldn’t have popular support.”
Senate: Even in the primary – when both candidates for the 6th Legislative Senate seat were guaranteed to move to the November election – the race between Chris Marr and Michael Baumgartner was quarrelsome.
Baumgartner won round one in the fight, garnering 53 percent of the primary vote. It’s only gotten more tense since then, with attack ads hitting the airwaves on both sides and heated debate exchanges.
• Michael Baumgartner, 34
Bio: Newlywed. No children. Bachelor’s degree in economics, Washington State University; master’s in public administration, Harvard University. Business and military consultant. Former adviser for office of the crown prince of Dubai. Worked two years for i4, a company that had hoped to build a telecommunications network in Saudi Arabia. Consultant for Hecla Mining, economics officer for the U.S. State Department in Iraq. Worked for Civilian Police International, a State Department contractor, in Afghanistan. Website: www. baumgartnerforsenate.com.
Issues: Opposes temporary taxes, such as the one on soda and candy that was instituted this year. Opposes tax increases to balance the budget. Opposes across-the-board budget cuts and says cuts should be targeted to agencies determined to be low priorities. Supports liquor privatization. Opposes income tax. Supports domestic partner law, but opposes gay marriage. Says he’s “not convinced” that humans have an impact on global warming.
• Chris Marr, 56
Bio: Married. Two grown children. Received marketing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration at San Francisco State University. Worked for McDonald’s Corp. for about four years. Moved to Spokane in 1980s to become sales manager for Lincoln and Mercury dealership. Eventually became president and co-owner of Foothills Auto Group. Former president of Greater Spokane Chamber of Commerce. Former Washington State University regent. Former chairman of state Transportation Commission. Won state Senate seat in 2006. Website: www.votechrismarr.com.
Issues: Opposed most new taxes, including ones on soda and candy, implemented this year, but supported tobacco tax increase. Says he opposes “in general” tax increases as a way to balance budget. Supports cuts to General Assistance Unemployable Cash Assistance Program and elimination of certain tax breaks, like one on coal. Says state should be restructured to eliminate some management positions. Opposes income tax. Supports domestic partner law, but opposes gay marriage. Says state has a role in lessening the impact of global warming, but state’s current strategy is too costly.
House Position 2: It’s round two in the matchup between Democrat John Driscoll and Republican John Ahern.
The pair faced off two years ago, and results were so close it took a hand recount to determine that Driscoll beat Ahern by 72 votes. This time, with Driscoll as the incumbent, the race looks to be close again.
Although Driscoll has a major fundraising advantage, he pulled just 41 percent of the primary vote. On election night, he acknowledged that to win, he’ll need a lot of crossover support from backers of third-place finisher Shelly O’Quinn, a Republican.
Driscoll has positioned himself as a business-friendly moderate in one of the state’s most politically balanced districts. He broke ranks with his party leaders earlier this year and voted against the temporary tax increases that won legislative support anyway.
As of early October, Driscoll had raised $150,000. Ahern, who also opposes the temporary taxes, has raised about $30,000.
• John Ahern, 75
Bio: Married; three grown children. Earned bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Denver. Owns Janco Products, an office supply business. Served in Army and Army Reserves from 1957 to 1963. Served in state House from 2001 through 2008. Website: voteahern.com.
Issues: Opposes new taxes to balance budget. Supports privatization of liquor sales and some other services to help balance budget. Says state’s regulations on business are too strict, causing firms to go elsewhere. Says there is not enough evidence to indicate that humans impact global warming. Opposes state’s domestic partner law and gay marriage. Supports repeal of state’s no-fault divorce law.
• John Driscoll, 53
Bio: Divorced; three grown children. Earned psychology degree from Washington State University and a master’s degree in health care administration from Whitworth College. Executive director of Project Access, a nonprofit organization that works to provide health care to the uninsured. Website: www.votejohndriscoll.org.
Issues: Opposes new taxes to balance budget. Says middle management should be scaled back to help balance the budget. Says his experience in health care will help in campaign to bring four-year medical school to Spokane. Says state has role in lessening the impact of global warming. Supports state’s domestic partner law, but opposes gay marriage. Supports state’s current no-fault divorce law.
Senate: This sprawling district includes all of Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Lincoln counties, and parts of Spokane and Okanogan counties. It joins rural areas and small towns that rely on timber, farming and mining with suburban communities north and west of Spokane.
State Sen. Bob Morton, a 16-year incumbent, faces Democrat Barbara Mowrey, a former Chewelah councilwoman who believes he and other legislators aren’t doing enough to ensure the rights of grandparents and other relatives in child placement cases.
• Bob Morton , 76
Bio: State senator, 1994-present, minority leader of natural resources committee; state representative, 1991-’94; has worked as bush pilot, minister and mortuary operator. Bachelor of arts and divinity degrees from Alfred University. Lives with wife in Orient; five adult children.
Campaign promises: Protect agriculture, natural resource issues important to rural life, oppose tax increases, make government live within its means, all stances he’s pursued in nearly 20 years as a legislator.
Notable: Morton once employed Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his legislative aide in the House and she held the same seat for 10 years before being elected to Congress.
• Barbara Mowrey , 59
Bio: Two-term Chewelah City Council member; former licensed cosmetologist, paralegal, licensed foster parent; paralegal studies at Spokane Community Colleges. Divorced; three adult children, raising granddaughter.
Campaign promises: Change state laws to give grandparents and other relatives more standing and judges less discretion in child custody cases; have juries decide family court cases; improve relations and information with other parts of state.
Notable: Was once a professional singer; sang at Grand Ole Opry as a child and toured with her sisters.
House Position 2: This district includes Whitman, Garfield, Asotin and Adams counties as well as the rural southern third of Spokane County. It includes Palouse wheat farms, small towns and two state universities: Washington State in Pullman and Eastern Washington in Cheney. Solidly Republican, it has no Democrats on the legislative ballot, although Rep. Joe Schmick, of Colfax, faces an intraparty challenge from Glen Stockwell, who has run unsuccessfully under the GOP and Democratic banners in previous years. It’s a rematch of sorts: Both ran in 1996 but didn’t make it past the primary.
• Joe Schmick , 52
Bio: Member of House since 2007; farms near Colfax and owns small vending machine business. Former member state barley commission.
Campaign promises: To get as many people working as possible, the state needs to live within its means, use money wisely, eliminate waste.
Notable: Schmick was appointed to the other House seat in 2007 and won the election the next year; he’s now the 9th District’s senior House member.
• Glen Stockwell , 60
Bio: Former Ritzville City Council member; runs a trucking and freight brokerage company and a business consulting firm.
Campaign promises: Wants to finish all phases of the original Columbia Basin Project as a way of boosting jobs in the state without raising taxes.
Notable: Describes himself politically as between a Ronald Reagan Republican and an FDR Democrat.
Position 3: Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager and her re-election challenger, former Spokane City Councilman Al French, seem to have mixed up their political party playbooks.
French, a Republican, portrays Mager as the candidate of “no.” Mager, a Democrat, calls herself the only fiscal conservative in the race.
“She has failed to offer any new legislation to serve the needs of the community,” French said.
He wants to boost the economy by “adjusting” business regulations, and calls for increased effort to consolidate overlapping city and county programs.
Mager claims several initiatives, including an agreement for Spokane to share revenue from a West Plains annexation, and trumpets her votes against proposals she considers too costly – including the purchase and reconfiguration of the Spokane County Raceway.
French said he had “incomplete” information in September 2009 when he said the raceway purchase was “a good overall move” despite a “hiccup” in which a hired operator ran up a million-dollar debt. Both candidates favor selling the raceway.
French has raised $94,467 in contributions and spent $62,949; Mager has raised $89,216 and spent $48,868.
The job pays $93,000 a year, plus health care and other benefits.
• Al French , 59
Bio: Architect, real estate investor, investment consultant. Two terms on Spokane City Council. Married; one adult daughter. Bachelor of arts in architecture, 1977, University of Idaho.
Campaign promises: Advance legislation to enhance business creation and expansion. Redesign government functions based on available revenues.
Notable: Promoted creation of “street utility” tax while on Spokane City Council.
• Bonnie Mager , 59
Bio: County commissioner. Former leader in Neighborhood Alliance of Spokane County, Citizens for Clean Air, Washington Environmental Council. Married; three children. Associate of arts in fashion design, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
Campaign promises: “Continue to be fiscally conservative and spend taxpayers’ money like my own. Work to implement proven programs to cut crime and reassess the need for a new jail.”
Notable: Instigated public forum at start of commissioner meetings.
Incumbent Ralph Baker faces a challenge from one of his own appraisers, Vicki Horton, who accuses him of mismanagement.
Although he has been credited by state officials with bringing a poorly performing office into compliance with state regulations, Baker’s aggressive style has rubbed some employees and property owners the wrong way.
Staff members have twice filed formal complaints against an appraiser Baker promoted to supervisor. Other county officials dismissed both complaints after investigation, but the incidents – one of which was resolved last month – suggest an ongoing staff ferment.
Baker ran unsuccessfully for Spokane County auditor in 2002.
• Ralph Baker , 58
Bio: Appointed assessor in January 2005 after two years as chief deputy assessor. Subsequently elected to unexpired term and re-elected in 2006 to a full term. Previously was a financial adviser for four years and spent 24 years in the Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Married. Bachelor’s degree in aviation management, University of Northern Louisiana, 1977; master of business administration, University of Northern Colorado, 1987.
Campaign issues: Favors use of technology to offset staff reductions. Says he has “led this office from one of the worst in our state to one of the best,” and “morale is fine.” Says employees got “a generous raise” and have “absolutely outstanding” fringe benefits.
Notable: Has developed an information-rich website that even his critics praise. Baker says it “has greatly improved our accuracy and accountability.”
• Vicki Horton , 56
Bio: Is an appraiser on Baker’s staff, in her first bid for public office. Before moving to Spokane nine years ago, Horton was an appraiser and, for two years, chief deputy assessor in the Clearwater County assessor’s office in Orofino, Idaho. Previously was a sheriff’s dispatcher. Married; four adult children. Bachelor’s degree in history, Gonzaga University, 1985.
Campaign issues: Says the biggest challenge for the office is gaining the trust of taxpayers and the assessor’s staff. Is concerned that a “severe lack of leadership” creates poor morale, “slower working habits” and increased stress among employees.
Notable: Thinks a six-year, $560,000 contract for aerial photography is an invasion of privacy as well as a waste of money because state law requires site visits every six years and most building permits are reported automatically.
The shooting of a pastor in Spokane Valley has dominated the discussion of the race for Spokane County prosecutor after incumbent Steve Tucker survived a challenge by two other Republicans for the chance at first-time Democrat Frank Malone. The 67-year-old lawyer has criticized Tucker for not asking a prosecutor from elsewhere to handle the charging decision on Deputy Brian Hirzel. Hirzel shot and killed 74-year-old Wayne Scott Creach on Aug. 25, and Tucker has vowed to make a decision before the November election.
Malone also previously attacked Tucker’s budgeting process, saying that he simply laid off deputy prosecutors based on a simple review of the numbers rather than focusing on the needs and attempting to get the money from county commissioners to fund those priorities.
In the Aug. 17 primary, 28,873 people voted for Malone and 26,854 voted for Tucker.
The position pays about $145,000 annually.
• Steve Tucker , 59
Bio: served six years in the Air Force and Air National Guard; 11 years Washington State Patrol trooper; law degree in 1984 from Gonzaga University School of Law; deputy prosecutor for 10 years in private practice; elected prosecutor in 1998, 2002 and 2006; has lived in Spokane for 50 years.
Campaign promises: “The most important and primary duty is to keep Spokane safe. While there are many other functions that the office performs, the greatest amount of time, money and effort is related to the criminal division of the office,” he said.
Notable: Tucker ran unopposed in 2002 and defeated local attorney Bob Caruso in 2006.
• Frank Malone , 67
Bio: served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard and retired as an officer; law degree in 1985 from Gonzaga; 42 years in Spokane; law practice since 1985 includes criminal, family and civil law. This is Malone’s first run for office. Website: www.votefrankmalone.com.
Campaign promises: Malone said he will take a more business-like approach to budgeting. “The budgeting and budget communication process must be significantly improved,” he said. “The budget must be transparent, based on achievable goals and measurable results, not just a lump sum. It’s just common sense management.”
Notable: Both men served in the Air Force and Air National Guard and graduated a year apart from Gonzaga University School of Law.
Vicky Dalton, seeking a fourth four-year term as auditor, is challenged by Realtor Leonard Christian.
While Dalton is a certified public accountant and has 22 years of government experience, Leonard is retired from a 21-year career in the Air Force that ranged from being an aircraft mechanic to security manager of a squadron.
Leonard said his Air Force experience included auditing several shops and programs for compliance with regulations. A Republican precinct committee officer and district leader, Leonard hasn’t previously run for public office.
Before she was elected auditor, Dalton monitored programs and handled special projects for a decade as the county’s internal auditor and previously worked for accounting firms that audited government programs.
The auditor’s job pays $88,350 a year.
Dalton is raising and spending less than $5,000 in her campaign. Christian reported collecting $7,494 and spending $5,324 by Sept 30.
• Leonard Christian , 45
Bio: President of Christian Relocations Inc. Served 21 years in the Air Force after graduating from Ferris High School, retiring as master sergeant. Married; two adult children. Bachelor of arts in professional aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Campaign promises: Work with other county officials to “streamline processes with a customer focus.” Handle election ballots as carefully as federal classified information.
Notable: Managed classified information for a squadron of 386 airmen.
• Vicky Dalton, 49
Bio: Spokane County auditor since 1999. Grew up in Priest River, Idaho. Two bachelor of business administration degrees: in accounting in 1982 and in computer information management in 1984, both from Idaho state University.
Campaign promises: Maintain quality service and continue to make improvements despite budget shortfalls. Continue to lead office with “integrity, experience, efficiency and accountability.”
Notable: Feels office must be run in “a nonpartisan fashion.”
Treasurer Skip Chilberg and challenger Rob Chase are in a race that started as a walk.
No one filed against Chilberg in time to get on the Aug. 17 primary election ballot, but Chase mounted a write-in campaign to get on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. Chase needed 1 percent of the primary votes to get on the ballot, and received 2 percent, or 1,501 votes.
Chilberg says the only issue in their contest is “competence and experience.” He has served 14 years as treasurer in two stints.
Chase sees “career politicians not listening to their constituents” as an issue. Also, he says, taxpayers “need to know that their treasurer is on the job.”
Chase serves on the Chase Youth Commission, but has no government experience.
• Rob Chase , 57
Bio: Operates a small business that markets nutritional products. Is a political activist, a Republican precinct officer and district leader, and host of a radio show. Army reservist, 1972-’78. Married; four children. Bachelor’s degree in operations management, Eastern Washington University, 1990.
Campaign promises: Be at work every day, respond to inquiries within 24 hours, strive for excellent service and high staff morale, follow guidelines and serve no more than two terms.
Notable: Ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2000 and U.S. House in 2002.
• Skip Chilberg , 66
Bio: Spokane County treasurer since January 2007. Previously was a Community Reinvestment Act officer for AmericanWest Bank, December 2004 to August 2006; member Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, 1995-2004; Spokane County commissioner, 1993-June 1995; Spokane County treasurer, 1983-1992. Married; 11 children. Bachelor’s degree in agriculture, University of Idaho, 1966.
Campaign promises: To continue representing taxpayers’ views and leading the treasurer’s office staff in providing “exceptional” public service.
Notable: Was a consultant for the U.S. Treasury Department, advising foreign governments emerging from communist rule.
Position 6: Local defense attorney Timothy S. Note is challenging one-term incumbent Judge Debra R. Hayes in the District Court’s only contested race this year. The challenger’s campaign has raised questions about how much time Hayes spends on the job.
Hayes insists she works all her required hours but acknowledges there’s been a perception in the past about some District Court judges not working full days. Hayes said she remembers as a prosecutor how it was often difficult to find a judge in the afternoons.
The race is nonpartisan. District Court judges preside over traffic infractions, misdemeanor criminal offenses and certain civil cases in what’s often referred to as “small claims court.” As of Sept. 30, campaign finance records show Note had more than tripled the contributions given to Hayes, $21,931 to $6,560. The position pays $141,710 a year, plus health care benefits and six weeks of paid vacation.
• Debra R. Hayes , 54
Bio: Hayes was born and raised in the Spokane area. She worked full time to pay her way through Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University School of Law while a single mother of six. She graduated law school in 1999 and was hired in 2000 by the Spokane County prosecutor’s office. She was elected judge in 2006, defeating incumbent Harvey Dunham in the primary and local attorney Mike Nelson in the general election.
Campaign promises: “I am committed to be a fair and impartial judge. That is the philosophy I hold and one I live by.” Website: www.judgedebrahayes.com
Notable: Hayes lost an adult son to a drug overdose in 2008. “I used to be more black and white. I didn’t really understand the heart and soul of an addict. It’s made me a better judge,” she said. “Although I don’t get to participate in Drug Court, I tell everyone this is the best shot you have got if they are arrested with possession.”
• Timothy S. Note , 35
Bio: Born and raised in Eugene, Ore. Attended University of Montana and Oregon State University. He graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2003 and began practicing as an attorney in 2004 with the the law office of David R. Hearrean before opening his own law office in 2008. As a defense attorney, Note handles felonies, misdemeanors, civil infractions and administrative hearings. Married, one child.
Campaign promises: “As a judge I will be a steward of the public’s money and honor the public trust placed in me by bringing an impeccable work ethic and legal skills to the bench every day on time.” Website: www.noteforjudge.com.
Notable: “I believe my most significant professional accomplishment is that I have been a winning criminal defense trial attorney, representing my clients while earning the respect of my peers and my adversaries,” he told the Spokane County Bar Association. “I take the greatest satisfaction from former clients, who thank me for saving or changing their lives.”
Washington Supreme Court
Position 6: Incumbent Justice Richard Sanders beat Bainbridge Island attorney Charlie Wiggins in a three-way primary election. As the top two vote-getters, both candidates advanced to the Nov. 2 general election because Sanders failed to capture more than 50 percent of the vote in the race, which eliminated Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chushcoff.
Wiggins has attacked Sanders, a self-described libertarian, both in his judicial decisions and his actions. In 2008, Sanders yelled “tyrant” at then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey during a black-tie dinner in Washington, D.C. In 2005, the state Judicial Council gave Sanders admonishment after he toured the state’s sexual predator commitment center on McNeil Island when many of the inmates had current appeals pending.
“Justice Sanders consistently votes in favor of cutting costs for builders at the expense of city governments and taxpayers,” Wiggins wrote on his election website. “Protecting developers takes priority over environmental concerns and existing legislation for Justice Sanders.”
Sanders, who in his 15 years on the state’s highest bench, has made several decisions to open government records, said on his campaign website that he is a champion of freedom.
“We have no second class citizens,” Sanders said on his website. He also quoted the Washington Constitution, noting “governments … are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”
• Richard B. Sanders , 65
Bio: Sanders was born in Tacoma, grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He earned his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1969. He worked 26 years as an attorney before he was elected in 1995 to the Washington Supreme Court. Website: www.friendsofjustice.com
Notable: Sanders considers it a privilege to officiate weddings, including a cowboy wedding in a cow pasture on Vashon Island. “Since coming to the court I’ve married dozens of women, but they always go home with somebody else – their groom.”
• Charlie K. Wiggins , 63
Bio: The son of an Army warrant officer, Wiggins attended schools in two states and Venezuela before attending college at Princeton University. He then spent four years in the Army Military Intelligence Corps and later earned his law degree in 1976 from Duke Law School. He worked as an attorney in the Seattle area and in 1995 was appointed to the Division II Court of Appeals, but he lost his position during the next election. Website: www. charliewigginsforjustice.com
Notable: Serves on the Washington State Bar Rules Committee and the Disciplinary Board.
Several candidates, mostly incumbents, are running uncontested in Washington and Idaho this year.
State Supreme Court (nonpartisan)
Justice Jim Johnson, Pos. 1; Justice Barbara Madsen, Pos. 5.
Court of Appeals, 3rd Division (nonpartisan)
Judge Laurel Siddoway, Dist. 1, Pos. 1.
State Rep. Larry Crouse, R-Spokane Valley, 4th Legislative District, Pos. 1; state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, 4th Legislative District, Pos. 2; state Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, 6th Legislative District, Pos. 1; state Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, 7th Legislative District, Pos. 1; state Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, 7th Legislative District, Pos. 2; state Rep. Susan Fagan, R-Pullman, 9th Legislative District, Pos. 1.
County Clerk Thomas R. Fallquist, R; Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, R.
District Court (nonpartisan)
Judge Vance W. Peterson, Pos. 1; Judge Sara B. Derr, Pos. 2; Judge John O. Cooney, Pos. 3; Judge Patti Connolly Walker, Pos. 4; Judge Gregory J. Tripp, Pos. 5; Judge Donna Wilson, Pos. 7; Judge Richard B. White, Pos. 8.
Public Utility District 1 (nonpartisan)
Commissioner Wade A. Carpenter. The district serves primarily Stevens County but portions of it stretch into northern Spokane County.
Idaho Statewide offices
State Treasurer Ron Crane, R; Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, R.
State Sen. Joyce M. Broadsword, R-Sagle, Dist. 2; state Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, Dist. 3; Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, Dist. 3, Pos. A; state Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, Dist. 5; state Rep. Frank N. Henderson, R-Post Falls, Dist. 3, Pos. B.
Kootenai County Commissioner
Commissioner Dan Green, R, Dist. 3; County Treasurer Tom Malzahn, R; County Assessor Mike McDowell, R.
First Judicial District
Magistrates Robert Caldwell, Penny E. Friedlander, James D. Stow, and Barry E. Watson, all of Kootenai County.
The Idaho Legislature has approved four proposed amendments to the Idaho Constitution that will appear on the ballot in the Nov. 2 general election. Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval from each house of the Legislature plus a majority vote of the people at the next general election to pass.
S.J.R. 101: This would amend the Idaho Constitution to permit tuition to be charged at the University of Idaho. The Idaho Constitution now forbids that, so students there are charged “fees” rather than tuition. The difference? “Tuition” is what pays for classroom instruction; “fees” pay for everything else. All other Idaho state colleges and universities charge both tuition and fees; that’s left the UI crimped in its flexibility as it copes with state budget cuts, patching together the funding for its various programs. S.J.R. 101 actually passed the Idaho Legislature in 2009, but this is the first general election after that for voters to weigh in. It passed the House 32-2 and the Senate 64-3. Opponents noted that the Constitution envisioned free education for students at the UI, though that’s not quite how it works today.
H.J.R. 4, 5 and 7: These would allow public hospitals, public airports and municipal electric systems, respectively, to incur debt to acquire facilities, property and equipment without the approval of two-thirds of the voters.
The amendments strictly forbid repaying the debt using property taxes. Instead, they require that improvements be paid for with revenues derived from existing or new facilities.
In the case of H.J.R. 7, the amendment also would allow any city-owned electric system to enter into agreements to purchase, exchange or transmit wholesale electricity to customers within its service area without voter approval. Any indebtedness incurred would have to be repaid with electrical system rates and charges, not with tax dollars.
A 2006 Idaho Supreme Court decision prohibited government entities from taking on multiyear debt for such projects without voter approval. David Frazier, the Boise man who brought the lawsuit resulting in that decision, said the amendments amount to nothing more than an effort to deny citizens the right to vote on public financing. He said elected officials don’t trust voters to make the right decisions.
However, supporters say giving public entities the ability to improve facilities and equipment without additional taxes helps attract investment, spurs the economy and improves service. The hospital amendment, for example, would permit public hospitals, many of which are in rural areas, to provide updated medical equipment and technology to better care for patients.
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo is seeking a third term in the U.S. Senate, after making history six years ago by running unopposed for his second term, drawing only a write-in challenger. This time, Crapo faces two longshot challengers, Democrat P. Tom Sullivan, of Tetonia, a first-time candidate, and Constitution Party candidate Randy Lynn Bergquist, of Fruitland.
Crapo, a former three-term congressman and former president pro-tem of the state Senate, is Idaho’s senior senator. Despite facing underfunded and lesser-known challengers, he had amassed $3 million in his campaign war chest by June.
U.S. senators serve six-year terms; their salary is $174,000 a year, plus health care benefits.
• Mike Crapo , 59
Bio: Two terms in U.S. Senate, three in U.S. House; eight years in Idaho Senate; Harvard-educated lawyer; Bachelor of arts, Brigham Young University; Idaho Falls resident. Married, five children and two grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “I promise to work hard for Idahoans, fight to protect our Constitution, eliminate the national debt and our culture of deficit spending, reduce federal regulations that choke our economy, cut the size, expense and control of the federal government, and always to listen to Idahoans to find common sense solutions to our problems.”
Notable: In his Owyhee Initiative, Crapo helped bring together ranchers, conservationists and more in a collaborative wilderness proposal that was signed into law. He’s also a prostate cancer survivor who’s crusaded for early detection.
• P. Tom Sullivan , 42
Bio: Owns credit card processing business in eastern Idaho; partner in a weekly newspaper; first run for office; former owner of Tubbs Cafe in Coeur d’Alene; high school equivalency degree. Married, two children.
Campaign promises: “I will work to see ‘Made in America’ again; I will support small business, fair taxes and responsible spending to avoid ever repeating the enormous deficit racked up between 2000 and 2008 and I’ll vote in the interests of the people of Idaho, not for Wall Street interests; I will work to bring new technology, jobs, training and education to make Idaho a green energy leader in 21st century.”
Notable: Sullivan, who has both federal and state tax debt after a bank failure left his business struggling with the credit crunch, has been critical of Crapo’s record on financial issues, accusing him of promoting corporate interests over small businesses.
U.S. Representative, 1st Congressional District
Freshman Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick is being challenged this year by state representative Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, and two others, in one of Idaho’s most-watched election contests.
Though Minnick vastly outstrips Labrador in fundraising and has led in polls, the district, which takes in all of North Idaho, is heavily Republican; Minnick narrowly defeated then-Rep. Bill Sali two years ago, bringing the seat back into Democratic hands for the first time since 1994.
Minnick’s record as a conservative “blue dog” Democrat has won him support from many of the state’s business interests that traditionally back Republicans; he’s a fiscal conservative who votes less with his party than any other member of Congress, according to the Washington Post’s database of all congressional votes.
Labrador has sought to tie Minnick to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a lightning rod of Republican criticism, and promoted his own conservative record of bucking his party in Idaho to oppose taxes and spending.
Two longshot candidates are vying for votes as well: Independent Dave Olson, 58, a retired Air Force master sergeant who’s critical of corporate bailouts, and Libertarian Mike Washburn, who wants to cut government.
Congressmen serve two-year terms; their salary is $174,000 a year, plus health care benefits.
• Walt Minnick , 68
Bio: Incumbent congressman; chairman, Summerwinds Garden Centers, 1996-2008; ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate, 1996; wood products executive, 1974-1995, rising to CEO of TJ International; U.S. Army veteran; former aide in Nixon White House; law degree, Harvard Law School; MBA, Harvard Business School; bachelor’s degree, Whitman College. Married, four children, three grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “I am running to continue working hard for Idaho veterans, seniors and families. Whether it’s fighting red tape for a small business, helping a family with an adoption or standing firm for fiscal responsibility, I promise to always do what’s right for Idaho.”
Notable: A former Republican who was president of the College Republicans at Whitman College, Minnick’s shift to Democrat went public in 1996, when he challenged Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. He’s married to a former Idaho Democratic Party chief.
• Raul Labrador , 42
Bio: Two-term state representative; immigration attorney; owner/managing partner, Labrador Law Offices; law degree, University of Washington; bachelor’s degree, Brigham Young University. Married, five children.
Campaign promises: “I will bring true Idaho conservative values to Washington, D.C. I will always fight for my principles and the principles of the Republican Party: limited government, lower taxes and a commitment to creating jobs without more bailouts or adding to the national debt.”
Notable: Labrador beat a better-funded candidate, Iraq veteran Vaughn Ward, in the GOP primary in May. Labrador made his mark in the Idaho House spearheading opposition to GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s proposal for a gas tax increase.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is seeking a second term in office at a time when the state is facing historic budget cuts and high unemployment, and after he’s failed twice to push through his major legislative initiative, to increase funding for the state’s roads and bridges.
Otter is facing four challengers, led by Democrat Keith Allred, who was a nonpartisan citizen activist, professor and professional mediator before he agreed to run for governor under the Democratic Party’s banner. Allred’s been critical of Otter’s record and promises a more inclusive style of leadership, while Otter says he balanced the state budget in tough times without raising taxes.
Former moderate Republican state lawmaker Jana Kemp is running as an independent; so is organic strawberry farmer Marvin Richardson, who legally changed his name to Pro-Life and will be so listed on the ballot. Also in the race is Libertarian Ted Dunlap.
Idaho’s governor serves a four-year term; the current salary is $115,348 per year, plus health care benefits.
• Butch Otter , 68
Bio: Current governor, served three terms in Congress, representing 1st District; rancher; lieutenant governor, 1987-2000; executive, J.R. Simplot Co., 1965-1993; state representative, 1973-1976; Idaho Army National Guard veteran; bachelor’s degree, College of Idaho. Married, four children and five grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “I am committed to keep working tirelessly to grow Idaho’s economy and career opportunities for our citizens and our communities; I promise to keep protecting the people of Idaho from the additional financial burden of government excess; I promise to do even more to ensure that state government lives within the people’s means; I promise to keep protecting and improving educational opportunities for all Idahoans; I promise to promote greater liberty, wider opportunity and more economic prosperity; and I promise to keep protecting Idaho’s family and faith-based values.”
Notable: Otter is a rodeo enthusiast who still competes from time to time in team roping; he has a long tradition of entering rodeos around the state as he campaigns for office.
• Keith Allred , 46
Bio: Founder and president of The Common Interest, a nonpartisan citizen group; professional mediator; taught conflict resolution and leadership, first as a professor at Columbia University and then at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; bachelor’s degree, Stanford University; Ph.D. in organizational behavior/conflict resolution, UCLA. Married, three children.
Campaign promises: “I have two main priorities: lower taxes to help small businesses generate more jobs, and a stronger education system. We cannot build a great state without making sure we give all of our kids an equal opportunity for a great education.”
Notable: Allred is a horseman who twice competed in the National Cutting Horse Association championships, in 2003 and 2004; he still keeps horses and goes on trail rides with his family.
State Superintendent of Schools
The first non-educator to head Idaho’s public school system is running for re-election, and he’s being challenged by one of the state’s most prominent educators, the just-retired superintendent of the Boise School District, the state’s second-largest district.
The race between state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, a Republican businessman, and Stan Olson, the Democratic challenger who calls himself “apolitical,” is raising issues about what Idaho’s schools really need, from politics to professionalism. And it’s coming at a time when schools are struggling with huge and unprecedented state budget cuts.
Luna says he’s delivered on his campaign promises, from building a new student data system to launching a math initiative; he says student achievement is up. Olson decries Luna’s initiatives as “silver bullets” and says education in Idaho for the last four years has been a “rudderless ship.”
Idaho’s state superintendent serves a four-year term; the job pays $93,756, plus health care benefits.
• Tom Luna , 51
Bio: Incumbent superintendent, elected in 2006; senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, 2003 to 2005; businessman, owner of Scales Unlimited; served on Nampa, Idaho, school board, including three years as chairman; attended Ricks College and Boise State University; online bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison University in liberal arts with focus in measurement science, 2002. Married, six children, five grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “My goal is to continue to change the culture of education to a customer driven system where we make decisions based on the customers of education and not what’s best and most comfortable for the bureaucracy of education. Idaho is now recognized as a leader in student achievement, and my commitment is to continue to fight for the resources and reforms to keep student achievement moving forward.”
Notable: Doing a combination of running and walking, Luna has completed three marathons in the past year and a half.
• Stan Olson , 60
Bio: Boise School District superintendent, 2002 to retirement on June 30 of this year; education career started as teacher and coach in 1971, included administrative posts in Michigan and Wyoming before Idaho; doctoral degree in educational leadership, Western Michigan University, 1983; master’s degree in education, Eastern Michigan University, 1977; bachelor’s degree in education, Central Michigan University, 1970. Married, two children, two grandchildren
Campaign promises: “Forty years of educational experience has taught me that collaboration with parents, legislators, students, educators, and business leaders to build a strategic plan is the best way to help every student in Idaho succeed. I promise to cultivate such relationships to produce verifiable educational results, guarantee adequate funding for top priorities, ensure post-secondary readiness, and focus on educational success for all children, not on political ideology.”
Notable: Olson is a competitive speed walker and has competed in 21 marathons.
Other Idaho races
In the race for lieutenant governor, incumbent GOP Lt. Gov. Brad Little faces long-shot challenges from Democrat Eldon Wallace, a retired former Missouri state official, and Constitution Party candidate Paul Venable.
Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, a Republican who is seeking a third term, faces a challenge from Democrat Mack Sermon, debate coach at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.
Donna Jones, Idaho state controller, is seeking a second term; she’s opposed by Democrat Bruce Robinett, a management accountant for Hewlett-Packard in Boise.
State lawmakers in both legislative chambers serve two-year terms; pay is $16,116 per year, plus health benefits, retirement, and, during sessions, $122 per day for those who live more than 50 miles from Boise.
House District 2A
This district encompasses Shoshone County, traditionally among the few Democratic counties in the state and the bastion of the old-time “lunchbucket” Democrats. But in recent years this district has swung more to the GOP. Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd, D-Prichard, the last remaining Democrat representing the district, is seeking a seventh term.
She’s unlike any other Democrat in the Idaho House – often, she’s the only Democrat who votes with the Republicans in split votes. “I felt from the very beginning that I’m there to vote for my district. It doesn’t matter how I feel, it’s how they feel about a subject, and that’s why I vote the way I do,” Shepherd said.
She’s being challenged this year by Shannon McMillan, a former tax preparer who works as an assistant in her son’s law office in Wallace and is the secretary of the Silver Valley Republican Women.
• Mary Lou Shepherd , 77
Bio: First appointed to the Idaho House in 1999 to replace Larry Watson; re-elected five times since then; retired restaurant/tavern owner; attended community college. Married, seven children, 11 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “I will work hard for our mining industry and our forest industry. They’re both so important to Shoshone County as well as the other counties, and we need to get them started again, particularly the mining industry.”
Notable: Shepherd is known for voting as her constituents tell her through their calls, letters and e-mails.
• Shannon McMillan , 49
Bio: Works as assistant in law office of son James McMillan; worked as a tax preparer from 1997 to 2004; attended community college; former secretary of Shoshone County Republican Central Committee. Married, one son.
Campaign promises: “My top priorities are promoting and re-invigorating natural resource-based industries, and addressing concerns and issues which relate to my district specifically, and North Idaho generally.”
Notable: McMillan is active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which does medieval re-enactments.
House District 2B
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, is among the Legislature’s most conservative voices, pushing legislation to tell the federal government to “back off” and to assert that the federal government can’t regulate in-state gun sales.
As he seeks a sixth term, Harwood’s sticking to that line and says it’s resonating in his North Idaho district, but his Democratic challenger, Jon Ruggles, says he’s hearing a different message.
“It’s jobs, the level of instability, is my son or daughter going to be able to stay in Idaho? What am I going to do if I lose my job?” said Ruggles, chairman of the East Shoshone Hospital District board and prominent Wallace resident who’s known for his work on trails and city projects.
“Really, I’m not hearing ‘Let’s go out and sue the federal government,’ which is what Harwood and all those guys want,” Ruggles said. “Let’s spend our money on classes, not courtrooms. When I tell people that, they all nod their heads.”
But Harwood says, “I just feel like it’s my duty to fight back from some of the stuff that the federal government’s been doing to the state and to the people.”
• Dick Harwood , 62
Bio: Five-term state representative from St. Maries; retired owner of H&H Cleaning and Quality Concrete; former millwright/welder, logger, truck driver and Cat operator; attended community college. Married, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Campaign promises: “I’ll push back from the federal government’s encroachment on our states’ rights.”
Notable: Harwood has often clashed with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, whose reservation is in his district. In 2009, he said in House debate that the United States is really a confederacy.
• Jon Ruggles , 56
Bio: Carpenter and owner of a construction company; elected chairman of East Shoshone Hospital District board; founding member/past president, Friends of Coeur d’Alene Trails; founder, Wallace Farmers Market; bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University in San Bernardino; former adjunct instructor in political science at North Idaho College. Married, one child.
Campaign promises: “I want to ratchet down the tone of rhetoric that’s flowing.” Backs flat tax, increased school funding.
Notable: A cancer survivor, Ruggles has been cancer-free for seven years, but his recovery left him with a speech impairment. Though that makes him harder to understand, he said, “They tend to listen, strangely enough, more diligently.”
House District 3B
Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, was unopposed in his bid for a fourth term until Hayden businessman Howard Griffiths, angered by Hart’s continuing tax problems, filed to run against him as a write-in.
Hart, a former Constitution Party member who defeated the late GOP moderate Rep. Wayne Meyer in 2004, is an outspoken conservative and longtime tax protester who continued his personal fight against back federal and state income taxes while serving on the House tax committee. This year, he introduced legislation to eliminate Idaho’s state income tax on all earned income while bumping up the sales tax, though the bill didn’t advance.
Public records show Hart owes more than $500,000 in state and federal taxes, penalties and interest; he’s in the midst of fighting a state order to pay $53,000. This summer, a special House Ethics Committee cleared him of two ethics charges related to his tax issues, but unanimously recommended he be removed from the tax committee.
“We all pay our taxes, and my feeling is what he did was wrong,” Griffiths said.
• Phil Hart , 54
Bio: Structural engineer and owner of Alpine Engineering; three-term state representative; previously ran unsuccessfully as a Constitution Party candidate; bachelor’s degree, University of Utah; MBA, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; author of “Constitutional Income: Do you have any?” Divorced, one daughter.
Campaign promises: “I’m not trying to spend money if we don’t have money to spend. My focus is more to try to defend the rights and privacy of people.”
Notable: Hart introduced a dozen bills this year, most having to do with constitutional rights or privacy, though few passed. One that did: A resolution congratulating Olympic cyclist Kristin Armstrong; Hart is a former bike racer himself.
• Howard Griffiths , 62
Bio: Retired businessman; sold Clean Check Inc., in which he was a partner, three years ago; Kootenai County marine deputy, summer 2003; public works director, city of Rathdrum, 1989 to 1994; Navy veteran. Married, three children and two grandchildren.
Campaign promises: “To listen to the constituents and what the majority wants or doesn’t want. That’s the primary thing, I think, is representing people.”
Notable: Griffiths and his business partners patented an extendable backwater valve for sewer systems that was sold by Clean Check.
Senate, District 4
Coeur d’Alene Sen. John Goedde is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and in his bid this year for a fourth term in the Senate, the Republican has drawn no Democratic challenger, but does face an independent and a Constitution Party candidate on the November ballot.
“Both of these gentlemen ran against me in 2006, and the independent ran against me in 2008 as well. So I know them,” Goedde said.
• John Goedde , 62
Bio: Fifth-term state senator, chairman of the Senate Education Committee; insurance agent; former Coeur d’Alene School Board member; past chairman Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce; bachelor’s degree from Washington State University. Married, one child.
Campaign promises: “I’ll do what I can to stimulate the economy to create jobs, which will then create revenue for the state.”
Notable: As the newly named co-chair of the National Council of State Legislatures education committee, Goedde said he’ll be able to “represent the conservative voice of states at a national level.”
• Jeremy Boggess , 39
Bio: Third run for state Senate as an independent; home health care giver; bachelor’s degree, Lewis-Clark State College Coeur d’Alene center. Single.
Campaign promises: Tougher prosecution of sex offenses and violent crimes; encourage alternative energy development; create education and/or training opportunities to create future self-reliance.
Notable: Boggess is North Idaho coordinator for the Pickens Plan, businessman T. Boone Pickens’ proposal to wean America from dependence on foreign oil.
• Ray Writz , 59
Bio: Previously ran against Goedde in 2006; has operated Writz Enterprises janitorial service in Kootenai County for 25 years; worked in janitorial service for Fred Meyer; worked in phone sales; attended technical school. Married, two children
Campaign promises: Reduce overall taxes by eliminating local property tax and state income taxes, and switching to sales tax, with food and medicine exempt; oppose U.N. mandates; support school choice.
Notable: Active in local tea party movement and meet-up groups including Rally Right and Ron Paul supporters.
House District 4A
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.
House District 4B
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.
Idaho House District 5A
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
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.
One race for Kootenai County commissioner took an unexpected twist when current Commissioner Elmer “Rick” Currie, who was defeated in a three-way Republican primary, announced his write-in candidacy for the general election. Currie said none of the candidates in the primary – Currie, Chris Fillios or winner Jai Nelson – had received at least 40 percent of the vote so he did not feel the results were a mandate.
Nelson, however, said the citizens made a clear choice to move ahead in a new direction and “leave the status quo behind.” Two-thirds of the voters told Currie to “move on,” she said. “The voters deserve to be recognized and their choice respected.”
The position pays $71,080 a year, plus health care benefits.
• Jai Nelson , 48
Bio: Self-employed as an interior designer and registered nurse; University of Idaho, 1984, interior design; North Idaho College, 2005, associate of science in nursing; board member at Lutheran Academy of the Master, member of the Nursing Practice Council at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, past volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Single, one son.
Campaign promises: Put the county expenditures online available for viewing by taxpayers. Propose a two-year freeze on property-tax-based budget increases. Organize a countywide joint venture for economic development. Take politics out of land-use planning by contracting with an outside hearing examiner. Finish the comprehensive plan.
• Elmer “Rick” Currie , 63
Bio: Incumbent three-term county commissioner; North Idaho College, associate degree in business administration, 1971; previous employment in building materials and car sales; chairman of the board of Panhandle Area Council, vice chairman of Coeur d’Alene Basin Commission; board member of Lake City Senior Center and Jobs Plus economic development agency. Wife, Vicki, five children between them; three grandchildren.
Campaign promises: Finish the comprehensive plan. Maintain a fiscally conservative budget. Ensure adequate emergency services.
The recent lawsuit that challenged the City of Coeur d’Alene November 2009 election is at the forefront of the race for Kootenai County clerk.
Jim Brannon sued the city, county and incumbent Councilman Mike Kennedy after losing the race by five votes. The suit against the county was subsequently dropped, but the county’s contractual operation of the election was a focus of the six-day trial. The Elections Office is one of five county departments overseen by the clerk, who also supervises the District Court, auditor, recorder and county assistance.
Though a judge ruled in favor of the city and Kennedy, Republican challenger Cliff Hayes said the lawsuit revealed that the law was not followed during the course of the election, and he would restore trust. He said after that 22 years as police chief, and two years as interim Post Falls city administrator, he has the background and training.
English, however, said that the law absolutely was followed and the verdict proved that. He said the lawsuit did reveal things that can be improved when following complex state and federal election laws. He said his office takes advantage every year of state training in elections procedures that are regularly updated. English said, however, that running the Elections Office is just one part of the multifaceted job he has held for 15 years.
The four-year position pays $68,958 a year, plus health care benefits.
• Dan English , 59
Bio: County clerk; master’s degree in counseling psychology, Gonzaga University, 1981; bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration, San Jose State University, 1974; Idaho POST Academy (Peace Officer Standards and Training), 1974; previously served on Coeur d’Alene School Board and City Council, founder and former executive director, North Idaho Youth for Christ and Anchor House/Idaho Youth Ranch Boys Home; past president of Idaho Association of County Recorders and Clerks. Married, three children, six grandchildren.
Goals for term: Install software in the Recorder’s Office that will allow all county public documents to eventually be posted online. Transition the Elections Office to conduct elections for every county taxing district, beginning in 2011, as dictated by state law. Find creative, money-saving solutions in the county assistance department, which provides help to the indigent.
Notable: English is immediate past chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a 110-member National Standards Board.
• Cliff Hayes , 59
Bio: Retired police chief of Post Falls, Idaho POST Academy, 1985; two years, Long Beach (Calif.) City College, no degree; FBI National Academy, 1997; buyer for Kroger Co., buying for the Market Basket supermarket chain, seven years; acting city administrator of Post Falls three separate times for more than two years total, member of Post Falls Community Volunteers, American Legion, Post Falls Historical Society and Officers without Law Enforcement Status. Married, five children, two grandchildren.
Goals for term: Follow the law. Train elections workers in the law. Review voter records to ensure voters register at their home and not their business. Create a website that shows every check the county writes, what it’s for, and who spent it.
Notable: Hayes said he would serve only one term if elected.
The race for a four-year term as county coroner pits the 26-year chief deputy coroner against a six-year deputy coroner, who has worked on a contract basis.
Jody DeLuca Hissong has worked for the coroner’s office for 28 years, first as a deputy coroner, then as chief deputy beginning in 1984. Debbie Wilkey has served as a deputy since 2004, going to death scenes when the coroner or chief deputy is not available.
Wilkey, a registered nurse, also has worked in law enforcement and has a master’s degree in forensic anthropology. She has picked up the endorsement of current coroner, Dr. Robert West, whose retirement has opened the position.
DeLuca Hissong has been endorsed by the Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department Association, and the coroners from Bonner, Boundary, Benewah, Shoshone and Ada counties. She said experience is what matters to make fiscally responsible decisions regarding which deaths require autopsies.
The position pays $61,535 a year, plus health care benefits.
• Jody DeLuca Hissong , 67
Bio: Chief deputy coroner for 26 years, Idaho State University, nursing, 1963; licensed practical nurse; 18 years as office nurse for former coroner, Dr. William Wood; attended more than 20 death investigation seminars and courses, including an FBI course and the Masters Conference in St. Louis; member of the National Association of Medical Examiners and Coroners. Married, four children, two stepchildren, 12 grandchildren, one great-grandchild.
Campaign promises: Maintain the ethical, respected and professional office that exists. Be a voice for the deceased and an advocate for the families of the deceased, using knowledge and experience to save county tax dollars.
Notable: DeLuca Hissong has signed about 1,000 death certificates in the past five years.
• Debbie Wilkey , 56
Bio: Deputy coroner for six years; bachelor’s degree in science, Lewis-Clark State College, 1998; master’s degree, University of Montana, forensic anthropology, 2008; associate degree in nursing, North Idaho College, 1989; completed police academy at Idaho State University in 1973; worked 21 years as a nurse and eight years as a police officer. Single, two grown children.
Campaign promises: Be ethically accountable in determination and manner of death while also being fiscally responsible. Make educated decisions about which deaths require autopsies. Stay focused on training and research, bringing protocols up-to-date with national standards.
Notable: Wilkey also teaches forensic anthropology at NIC.
North Idaho College Board of Trustees
Four people are running for two positions on the North Idaho College board of trustees. One race pits six-year incumbent and board Chairwoman Christie Wood against Robert Ketchum, who worked for the college for 20 years as work force development director until the position was eliminated last year.
Wood is running on her accomplishments, saying the board has managed to be responsible with taxpayers’ money despite increased demand on the college, including a 37 percent increase in enrollment. She said she wants to continue to share resources with other Idaho colleges to improve course and degree offerings in North Idaho.
Ketchum is running in tandem with Ron Nilson, CEO of a Post Falls company that makes mining equipment. Both are running on a platform of transparency and accountability, saying many people, including many businesses, feel disconnected from the community college. They say the community college should focus more on involving the public and on connecting students with employment opportunities.
Longtime Coeur d’Alene attorney Ken Howard is challenging Nilson for the open seat being vacated by board member Rolly Williams. With regard to NIC’s planned education corridor, Howard said “significant opportunities” will surface over the next 10 to 15 years that will help the area grow and prosper and he’d like to be part of making that happen.
Both races are for four-year, unpaid terms on the nonpartisan board.
• Ken Howard , 67
Bio: Attorney; Wayne State University, juris doctorate, 1971; Kettering Institute, mechanical engineering degree, 1967; past president, Idaho State Bar and Idaho Trial Lawyers Association; member of Idaho Supreme Court Fairness and Equality in the Courts Committee; fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers and past Idaho State Committee chairman; founding member of the Coeur d’Alene Soccer Club. Married, four children, 11 grandchildren.
Goals for term: No agenda. Be open-minded, listen to all points of view and seek out the best possible solution. Make sure opportunities are the best possible given financial limitations. Be a good leader.
Notable: Howard is best-known as the trial lawyer who worked in tandem with Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center on the landmark 2000 case that bankrupted the Aryan Nations.
• Ron Nilson , 58
Bio: CEO of Ground Force Manufacturing, which makes equipment for open pit mining; attended some community college but no degree; member of governing board of Kootenai Technical Education Center, chairman of North Idaho Manufacturing Consortium, board member of Post Falls Chamber of Commerce, sits on numerous other boards including the Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai County, Concerned Businesses of North Idaho and Kootenai Perspectives. Married; six children, including a daughter adopted in her teens; nine grandchildren.
Goals for term: Be open and transparent to the taxpayers paying for the college about the direction the college is taking. Be fiscally responsible. Be accountable for all decisions. Vote the will of the people.
Notable: Nilson was a key player in pushing for the passage of the recent KTEC levy, in which taxpayers in three school districts approved higher taxes to build a professional-technical high school on the Rathdrum Prairie.
• Robert Ketchum , 59
Bio: Chief executive of The Ketchum Group which offers customized training and work force development programs; Washington State University, 1985, doctorate in philosophy, major in vocational-technical education; Eastern Washington University, master’s degree in education, 1976; 10 years as Idaho’s representative to the American Association of Community Colleges Workforce Training State Liaison Network; served on boards of National Council for Workforce Education and Jobs Plus in Coeur d’Alene. Married; one grown son, one grown stepson.
Goals for term: Increase transparency of NIC board so taxpayers better understand how it operates; improve the college’s relationship with the community; improve the connection between students’ experiences and their ability to get jobs.
Notable: Ketchum has worked in education for 35 years and was executive director of Workforce Training at NIC for 20 years.
• Christie Wood , 49
Bio: Sergeant and public information officer with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department; Lewis-Clark State College, 2004; bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and communications; six years on NIC board of trustees; eight years on Coeur d’Alene School Board; Pacific Northwest regional representative for Association of Community College Trustees, member of Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations; writes children’s books. Married; one adult son.
Goals for term: Securing funding for a multipurpose building to be shared with other Idaho colleges as part of the education corridor; securing funding for a building for NIC’s professional-technical programs on the Rathdrum Prairie. Continuing to accommodate all students despite a tight budget and limited classroom space.
Notable: Wood has worked in law enforcement for 22 years.