What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
Education is key to pursuing happiness and good health in the 21st Century. Quality education leads to a quality workforce and enhanced social structures. Investment in education now avoids the later high costs associated with mental health, substance abuse, and poverty. I hope to emphasize fiscally responsible innovation in K-12 schools.
What experience has prepared you for this office?
My college degree is in education. My profession, a musician. I taught physics to seniors in a private school in Pennsylvania. I then taught middle school science at a public school in North Carolina. In between tours with my band, I was a long-term substitute for a North Carolina magnet school for the arts. Each of these experiences gave me valuable perspectives in education.
What changes, if any, would you support related to state funding of public education?
Over 7,000 science, technology, engineering, and math jobs went unfulfilled in Idaho last year. These vacant high pay positions would generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenues. Yet there is a lack of qualified candidates in Idaho. Businesses are forced to recruit from outside the state. These new residents put a greater burden on our infrastructure and education systems. At a local level, I support impact fees on those new residents. I also support increasing the corporate income tax rate. A quality education means a better workforce. We must fill those STEM jobs from within.
What do you see as Idaho’s prison system’s most important needs and and how would you address those?
In the long term, supporting a quality and well-funded public education system pays dividends down the road. I believe our investment in childhood education now means a lower prison population later. Within the prison system, I support job training and apprenticeships. Probation and parole programs focusing on community mentorship as well as drug treatment programs help lower recidivism.
What do you see as Idaho’s most important healthcare system needs and how would you address those?
I spoke with dozens of health professionals. Though all serve different roles in the system, each breathed the same long sigh when asked about addressing our healthcare needs. I believe quality affordable healthcare is a right yet I don’t know if there’s one system or one-size-fits-all that will work for Idaho. Focusing on preventative healthcare is fiscally responsible not just for us as individuals but also within the system itself. There is a great deal of inefficiency and waste. I hope to work with providers to reduce preventable ER visits and get the savings passed on to the consumer.
What changes to income, sales and property tax policies would you support?
Though I support property tax in general, I do not support its over reliance. I support tax policies that reflect use. I support an increase in the corporate income tax rate to pay for a quality education which fosters a competitive workforce. New neighborhoods, houses, children, and cars need new schools, police, fire engines, teachers and roads. I believe the burden of these costs should be shared among corporate business leaders, developers, new and long-term residents of Idaho. I support local impact fees. I also support an increase in the state gas tax to help pay for infrastructure.
What measures do you support in updating Idaho’s voting processes?
Over the past two years, I worked as an election clerk for several elections. It’s exciting to have voters use same day registration, vote for the first time, and hear people applaud. This year was the first time Canyon County used electronic screens. There were some hiccups on Election Day but for those that prefer in-person voting, this new system will save Canyon County a lot of time and money in the future. For those that prefer mail-in ballots, I support its expansion.
What are the biggest transportation priorities in Idaho for the next 20 years, and how should the state prepare now to fund those projects?
In the Treasure Valley, traffic is already an issue and becomes seemingly worse daily. Proper planning now will alleviate frustration in the future. Effective public transportation should be emphasized now and should include consideration for bicycle and pedestrian paths. High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-84 can provide commuter relief. Planning and implementation costs money and I support tax policies that reflect use. I support a temporary increase in the gas tax as well as a policy for gas efficient vehicles.
Do you support local option sales tax authority for all cities and counties?
I am a proponent of local control. Voters in every city and county have the power to encourage or dissuade use based on their needs.