Get to know your candidates: Primary Election Voter’s Guide

By Reader Staff

We sent a questionnaire to the various state and county candidates for public office and have dedicated the next three pages to printing their responses. The goal for this questionnaire is to familiarize you, dear readers, with the candidatesí positions on important issues facing Idaho today. The primary election will be Tuesday, May 17. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please vote and allow your voice to be heard.


Questions for Idaho State Senate and Idaho State Representative race:

1. What goals do you believe Idaho needs to prioritize as we anticipate the next legislative session?

2. What do you think are the biggest problems with the current state government, and what can we do to fix them?

3. We’re seeing signs that state government is being stymied by the rift between mainstream politicians and ideologically driven newcomers. Do you see this as a serious issue, and if so, what is the solution?

4. The Idaho Legislature saw more pressure this year than perhaps any other to expand Medicaid and provide insurance options for 78,000 Idahoans. What is your position on this?

5. The Legislature this year passed a 7.4 percent increase in public school funding, yet Idaho was just ranked 47th out of the 50 states in expenditure per pupil. Should the state increase its education funding? If you believe so, where will more funding come from? If you don’t believe it should, and with educational quality an ongoing concern, how can the state improve education?

6. The Legislature passed a new law that allows handgun owners over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon inside city limits without a permit. Do you favor or oppose?

7. In January, First District Rep. Sage Dixon and Rep. Heather Scott traveled on a fact-finding mission to the armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon carried out by a group protesting federal land policies. Was this an appropriate use of their elected positions?

8. The Legislature approved a bill to “expressly permit” using the Bible for academic study in public schools, even though state law already permits using the Bible for academic purposes. Governor Butch Otter vetoed it because he said it was in “direct contravention to the Idaho Constitution” and would result in costly litigation. Support or oppose this bill?



Steve Tanner (D)

Age: 63

Years of residence in home county: I have been a resident of Boundary County for over 50 years.

Marital status/family: wife (married for 38 years), eight children and 15 grand children. 

Education: Graduated Bonners Ferry H.S. 1971, University of Idaho B.S. in Business – 1975

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Business owner. Past—logging, construction, log home builder. Currently—manufacturer of timbers and timber and log products.

1. Justice needs to be the main priority of the Legislature both in the civil/criminal area as well as economically. The current status quo is concerned with tax and spend, while those on the receiving end of the money and benefits are constantly lobbying and conniving to get as much as they can. The U.S. Constitution prohibits the states from using anything but gold and silver coin (Article 1 Section 10). A hard currency provides just weights and balances and promotes honest industry. Eliminate the Federal Reserve, as it is not only unconstitutional but a corrupting influence on all commerce, while allowing the few to manipulate the wealth and policies of the nation. Further, the criminal justice system must be fixed, punishing those who steal by restitution in excess of what was stolen, and for those who have committed capital offences, to be executed speedily. Our prisons are full, and there should be little or no place for prisons. Warehousing people has not worked and will not work.

2. I believe the biggest problem with the state government is the same as with the federal government, just on a smaller scale. The state government in all three of its branches have forgotten their very reason for existence and thus have grown into trying to be a big brother, mother or even a deity to the people. The main priority of the current state legislature is tax and spend. There seems to be nothing outside the scope of their pretended jurisdiction. It is important that we reduce federal intrusion into the lives of the citizens; examples would be to repeal the state “Obamacare”, to reclaim the ‘federal’ forests to be the state’s lands and to start the process of those lands being converted into the hands of private citizens. Also, to repeal HB 425 that recognizes “gay marriage” on the state level, that is a violation of the Idaho State Constitution and the laws of God.

3. The two views are better described by one view that properly represents the principles of freedom, limited civil government and a responsible and armed citizenry that was promoted and encouraged by the framers of the Constitution in 1787, which I fully support. The other side being the status quo of today’s modernism (that is as old as slavery) in which the state can and must be both a big brother and mother to the people, and where freedom is eclipsed with the mirage of protection from failure by a pretended security. This not only arms the state with all power, it deifies it, all the while gradually disarming the citizens. This form of government has been well represented in history in men like Stalin, Hitler and Mao Tse-tung.

4. I am opposed to expansion of Medicaid and support the repeal of the State’s “Obamacare law.”

5. I believe the public school budget needs to be slashed. It currently consumes about 80 percent of the total state budget along with large sums of monies from the counties. The relationship between more money spent and better results in public education is a misnomer. In many ways, it is just the opposite. The NEA is one of the most powerful political lobbyist groups in the world and they have used the public schools to promote their agenda for years. The schools have become nothing more than incubators for socialism by promoting the ideology of socialism, communism, environmentalism, the “gay” agenda and almost every philosophy that is at war with our nation’s foundations and God as our Creator. The public schools have adopted the religion of humanism.

6. I favor this bill and strongly support the people’s right to bear arms. Rights come from God and supersede the state. The right to bear arms was specifically listed in the Bill of Rights; not necessarily for hunting purposes, but to counter the reign of oppressive government. I am a member of Gun Owners of America.

7. I believe that the holding of lands by the federal government is unconstitutional and I encourage and support the return of those lands to the states and to the people. From what I understand of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, it was not a reasonable or wise way to protest the “federal land holdings.” The effort of District 1 representatives to investigate and fact-find on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge is and was a reasonable mission. This is due to the fact that our area has over 80 percent federal lands, and we have seen the federal government move in mass into our area (example would be Ruby Ridge affair in Boundary County). To take time to understand both sides of the issue and how they are being handled, may be of invaluable help in the future to avoid possible abuses by both sides.

9. Our nation was founded as a Christian Nation and the Bible and prayer were used extensively to instruct and guide, not only in how people were to live (moral character), but also, how a proper government should operate, as they asked God for protection and guidance. I would support this bill and support efforts to return the Bible and prayer back into the schools, as previous to the 1960s, before it was taken out. God’s blessings and guidance was the reason for our nation’s greatness. Without departing from our current course and seeking HIM, we will fall.

Shawn Keough (R)

Shawn Keough.

Sen. Shawn Keough.

Age: 56

Years of residence in home county: 37

Marital status/family: married to Mike, two college-graduated sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law and precious grandchild with one on the way!

Education: High School graduate, 3 years of college at North Idaho College and Lewis Clark State College.  Did not finish – yet – as a career and raising a family interrupted achievement of a college degree.

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: I’ve been in business management for over 30 years. Currently I am the executive director of the Associated Logging Contractors which is a nonprofit organization providing access to workman’s comp and other business lines of insurance as well as logging and wood products hauling safe operations consulting. Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong:  North Idaho Federation of Republican Women, Idaho Women In Timber, Bonner Sportsmen, NAMI Far North, National Association of Association Executives and many others.

How can voters contact you: 208-263-1839, [email protected], PO Box 101, Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

1. Properly funding our K-12 public schools; continued efforts to support businesses to stay here and to add jobs; continued improvement of our roads; increased opportunities for higher education and vocational education and supporting expansion of high speed internet.

2. As Idaho climbs out of the historic economic downturn the state needs to support rural areas in ways that attract private sector investment to expand job opportunities that in turn will improve the economy in rural Idaho.  Idaho also needs to continue to invest in a strong public K-12 public school system and in higher education including expansion of vocational training programs for non-college bound Idahoans.

3. Yes, I do see this as a serious issue. Most citizens expect some basic system of governance that is accountable and transparent. Most citizens believe that there is a proper role of government and expect that elected officials participate in logical, rational, productive debate that is solution oriented as opposed to simply voting ‘No’.  The solution is the ballot box.  If these things listed here really are, as I believe they are, supported by a vast majority, then the answer is voter participation.  Not voting makes the problem worse.

4. Not providing some sort of access to health care for Idahoans that make too much for Medicaid or federal subsidies to help buy insurance but don’t make enough to afford insurance costs every tax payer.  We pick up the tab when people put off health care and then have to access it in emergency rooms and places where it is the most expensive.  We pay for it through higher insurance rates, higher hospital and doctor visits rates, and higher property taxes when the bill for those not covered goes to the counties.  We could be saving millions in tax dollars plus being humane to our fellow citizens by coming up with an Idaho solution to assist the working poor to access health care.  I support finding this solution and implementing it – it’s the fiscally conservative thing to do and the right approach to health care for the working poor.

5. I don’t think the ranking of per pupil spending is the only metric by which to judge our system. Yes, I believe the state should fulfil its Constitutional obligation to provide a system of free public schools. Every dollar sent to the local school district is one less dollar that the local school board feels the need to ask the local property tax payer to pay. As Idaho’s economy grows, the resulting rise in state income and sales tax will help provide increased funding. Helping Idaho’s businesses grow by making sure state government is not in the way is one way to achieve this goal.  Improving the educational quality of our system is an ongoing process that takes a commitment not only from the state legislature, but from all citizens and parents. Involvement is key.

6. I supported the law.  Carrying a concealed weapon outside of city limits without a permit has been allowed virtually since statehood. It didn’t seem logical to have a patchwork of regulations that might inadvertently catch a law abiding citizen.

7. I would not have made the trip and do not feel it would have been appropriate for me to do so. Each elected official makes their own decisions, and should they run for re-election the voters who participate in the election process will show their approval or disapproval of individual actions and overall representation.

8. I voted for the bill as it replaced the law that actually requires the Bible to be read every day in Idaho schools. The bill listed not only the Bible but all religious texts that would be allowed for reference for subjects such as history. Understanding our religious foundations be it Christianity or Buddhism is key to understanding the world we live in today.


Glenn Rohrer (R)

Glenn Rohrer.

Glenn Rohrer.

Age: 67

Years of residence in home county: 23

Marital status/family: Married w/ 5 children

Education: Chaffey College graduate with 2 years engineering studies at California Polytechnic University

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 32 years of business management and leadership experience, retired plant manager and military officer.

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Priest Lake Chamber of Commerce, Bird Aviation and Invention Center, Priest River Regatta, Priest Lake Search and Rescue, Bonner County Republican Women inc.

How can voters contact you:    (208) 448-2096 (office) and [email protected]

1. We need to become fiscally responsible and protect Idaho from being negatively impacted by deficit federal spending. This means we need to look long, and hard at every state department function and stop accepting padded agency budgets based on last years spending without any zero baseline or efficiency analysis.

2. Our state is plagued with the same problems found in every bureaucracy—namely elected representatives seem to always become “part of the system”.  I intend to vote my conscience with an open mind toward evaluating each issue on its own merits and not by being influenced by huge contributions and lobbyists.  This is why my campaign will not accept any contribution (or gifts) from any business, corporation, special interest group, PAC or lobbyist.

3. New people always bring new ideas and this does not “stymie” anything. It does sometimes create change, which is what I intend to be part of when I reach Boise. If anything it is the entrenched, long-term politicians who see this as their job for life that stymie things.

4. Expanding Medicaid is only a Band-Aid solution and does nothing to offer hope to those in need of better jobs. We need to remove government regulations that encumber business entrepreneurs, build better infrastructure (roads and communications), stop the state from competing with private businesses and encourage free enterprise to flourish.

5. This question ignores studies in national education trends showing that states that spend the most do not have the highest test scores or the highest graduation rates. To improve education, we need to stop allowing our children to be guinea pigs for Washington bureaucrats and get rid of Common Core. Our professional teaching staff must be allowed to create and administer the curriculum with input from the community and parents.

6. I strongly support this bill and will work hard to protect our second amendment rights.

7. All elected representatives are obligated to investigate issues which might affect Idaho, and federal government overreach is a concern throughout all states.

8. Since our State Constitution states under article IX, sec 6, that “No books…of a…denominational character shall be used in any schools…”, I would need legal definition from our Attorney General as to whether the Bible falls in this category before determining how to vote. However, my preference is to find a solution to this issue, which would allow the Bible to be used in schools as reference material.



Ken Meyers (D)

Ken Meyers.

Ken Meyers.

Age: 73

Years of residence in home county: 11

Marital status/family: Married.  Four children and seven grandchildren.

Education: B.S., Oregon State University, Ph.D College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 

Washington State University, 35 years in the College of Veterinary Medicine – Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong:

Retired member of the American Physiology Society, the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The International Society for Thrombosis and Hemostasis, and Member and Challis Bearer St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sandpoint. Democratic Gamlin Lake  Captain for Gamlin Lake and I am Chairman of the Bonner County Democrats.

How can voters contact you:    Phone 265-7251, [email protected] 

Vote Ken Meyers, P.O. Box 2324, Sandpoint, ID 83864, or view

1. A—Increased funding for education. B—Expanding Medicaid coverage to the working poor. C—Work with stakeholders on managing our natural resources.

2. Idaho’s economy is not recovering as quickly from the great recession of 2007/2008 as other states have.  This is especially evident in rural areas like District 7.  The Idaho Legislature should focus on moving Idahoans into a 21st century economy. This recovery would require that Idaho supplies a workforce capable of filling these new jobs. To have more employees, you need more employers. We need an educated workforce to entice new businesses into the area and to support and help our existing small business owners.

3. This is a major issue. Instead of spending time trying to make Idaho better, some legislators waste time and taxpayer money promoting their ideology and not addressing issues that will help the citizens of Idaho. We are in a rapid and changing economy. To do nothing is a prescription for our economy to fall farther behind. This is not acceptable. The solution is for these legislators to either change and work for making Idaho better, or for voters to replace them.

4. Closing the Medicaid gap for the working poor is a win-win, and I support it.  Financially, it makes sense for Idaho taxpayers. We could close the Medicaid gap for the working poor by accepting federal funds which have already been designated for this purpose.  If Idaho does not close the gap, those funds just go to other states.  In addition, access to proper medical care for the working poor would mean that counties are not burdened with the cost of maintaining their indigent care fund.  This taxpayer burden in some district 7 counties is close to a quarter of a million dollars each year.

5. Improving education in Idaho is the main reason I am running for this office.  Currently Idaho has about 24,000 children attending school only four days a week. Too many of our school districts can’t afford to operate their facilities. This occurs mostly in rural districts, like mine. Increased funding for education can be achieved, in part, by closing the Medicaid gap.  We could use federal dollars—not county tax funds—and provide better health care for the working poor. We also should not be funding the Constitutional Defense Fund. In 2015 that alone would have meant $730,000 went to education rather than plaintiffs and Boise lawyers. This is part of the solution. We need to consider how school districts are organized and administered, how the private sector can become more involved in training students, how to work with the federal government to continue funding the Secure Rural School program, and by examining ways to best provide a quality education for rural students. Supporting quality low-cost education after high school is also important, when our goal is to educate and train students for a 21st century economy.

6. I am for the second constitutional amendment. I grew up on a Montana wheat farm and have guns in my home. I am also for gun safety. Allowing a 21 year-old to carry a concealed gun, without a permit certifying he or she is capable of safely handling the gun does not qualify as gun safety.  I am opposed to this legislation, and think legislators need to be working on issues of greater importance to the Idaho economy.

7. No. State Representatives from District 1 are our representatives and what they do reflects on us, the people who elected them. Based on the reasons they gave for going to Malheur, I am still not clear what our legislators intended to accomplish. The people who took over Malheur broke numerous laws, behaved poorly and aggressively. Having our representatives go to Malheur confused the issue. Their presence could be construed as support for the people who violated state and federal laws.  Again, our legislators’ time would be better spent working on improving education and the economy of Idaho.

8. I do not support this bill.  This is another example of some legislators focusing their time, effort and our money on meaningless legislation.  They should have been spending their time and effort on solving the economic, educational and natural resources problems that affect the lives of all Idahoans.


Carl G. Crabtree (R)

Carl Crabtree.

Carl Crabtree.

Age: 63

Years of residence in home county: 63

Marital status/family: Married 42 years, three grown children

Education: B.S Agriculture

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Self-employed, rancher, Agricultural Extension agent, 4-H Program manager, Weed supervisor

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: President, Idaho Cattle Assn., Chairman, Idaho Beef Council, Chaired two national committees on National Cattlemans Beef Boad, President Idaho Weed Control Assn.

How can voters contact you: 208-983-2176, email  [email protected].

1. I see myself, as senator from District 7, representing the district above the state . So, I have not spent time traveling statewide to get a feel for what issues and priorities are for the state. I have focused on District 7 needs.

2. It appears there are many problems with state government. Too many regulations, too much money spent, no accountability, too much posturing. Electing competent legislators with proven track records for skilfull leadership would be a big step. The people make the program.

3. It is a very difficult situation. I believe it starts with respect for each other’s opinion, and includes finding common ground from which to build.

4. To me the problem has to be solved. Leaving town without a solution for people is the wrong thing to do.

5. First, we have to have an agreed upon outcome. Is expenditure per pupil the measurement? Absolutely not. The measurement has to be something directly related to student performance. That, in my view is the goal. First we have to agree on fair performance standards. Then, measure the educational effort based on those results.

6. I don’t think the law made a significant change, in terms of practicality, from existing laws. I would have supported it.

7. I do not know their goals, so I can’t pass judgement on that. However I have worked with both the BLM and the Forest Service. I like to do that work where the decisions are made, not in the field.

8. It was an election year, so few wanted to be seen as opposed to the Bible. Also, it is my understanding that it would have made little change in what is actually happening in Idaho schools. My concern with this is that a significant amount of time and effort was put into the bill, that could have been spent on something that ended up helping District 7. It ended up with nothing being accomplished for Idaho’s taxpayer.


Sheryl L. Nuxoll (R)

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll.

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll.

Age: 65

Years of residence in home county: Idaho County 65 years

Marital status/family:  Husband/Felix of 41 years, six children

Education:  BBA from Gonzaga University

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Farmer/Rancher for 41 years, Senator for 6 years

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Idaho County Cattlemen’s Association and Idaho County Farm Bureau

How can voters contact you: [email protected] or 

1. Idaho needs to priortize state sovereignty over federal government overreach against private property rights, gun rights, right to life, and religious freedom. The federal government has caused us to lose our rights in our state and we must stand up for them.

2. The biggest problems are 1.  Ownership of lands, education and taxes.  1. Support transfer of federal lands to the state ownership so that we can pay for our schools, road infrastructure and create jobs.  2.  Provide school choice and eliminate Common Core by letting Idaho educators create our own state standards and tests.  3.  Support the elimination of sales tax on groceries.

3. Many of the newcomers see the priorities and represent the majority of Idahoans and are more likely to vote against state government waste.  All we need is legislators to have the courage to stand up for the Constitution even against the federal government or the unconstitutional decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

4. If Idahoans are truly seeking employment and cannot support themselves, we are bound to help them through our local churches and nonprofits.  A free clinic in Caldwell for healthcare was started by a Bible study group operating one night a week, serving people who have no insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid—people served by the county indigent program. It saved county taxpayers $500,000 on a $2.5 million county indigent budget. It was so successful that the program added another night per week. Other options are:  1. faith-based ministries like Samaritan, Medishare or Health Care Sharing Ministries which are much cheaper than insurance. 2. Direct primary care which is paying the doc a monthly fee for health preservation.  One of those docs said that they can charge $7 for a prescription that would cost $180 with insurance.  3. Health Savings Accounts or Individual Savings Account set up with non-profits .  4. Provide for a free market health insurance instead of the state health exchange for competition, for example, by allowing insurance across state lines.

5. The state could use discretion on when and how to fund education.  But if the federal lands were transferred back to state ownership, there would be no issue for funding for education since we would have the revenue back from the 65 percent of our land that is owned by the feds. Other solutions for money for schools: 1.Many agencies in our state government could be private, such as public TV. 2. Give raises only to those state employees under $100,000 wages. 3. Go back to zero based budgeting which reduces waste in agencies.

6. I favor this law because of our second amendment rights.  I was a cosponsor of the bill.

7. I admire them for following through with their convictions with courage to help our fellow citizens in need against federal takeover of private land.

8. There is no state law permitting the use of the Bible for academic purposes. That was the reason for the bill.   For protection for our teachers and students, we either needed this Bible bill in statute or code. Constitutional attorneys validated the constitutionality of this bill in our state. Those of us who realize the value of Christian history in American society are disappointed Gov. Otter vetoed SB 1342. This bill validated appropriate use of the Bible as a reference in public schools. Although 81 percent of Idaho’s legislators supported the bill, and a resolution affirming its content passed the GOP convention with a near-unanimous vote, Gov. Otter chose to say “no” anyway.




Kate McAlister (D)

Kate McAlister.

Kate McAlister.

Age:  56

Years of residence in home county: 22

Marital status/family: Married, four children, eight grandchildren 

Education: Education in Corporate Social Responsibility from Boston College, Center for Corporate Citizenship, Carol College School of Management

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: President/CEO Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce – 6 years     Community Investment Program Manager – Itron, Inc, Spokane Valley, WA – 14 years 

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Angels Over Sandpoint – Since 2002, SURA (Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency) Commissioner since 2013; City of Sandpoint Human Relations Commission – since 2012; Panida Board of Directors 2011-2014; Forrest Bird Charter School Board of Directors – Vice Chair, Since 2014; International Selkirk Loop– Chairman of the Board –since 2011;  Bonner General Health Advisory Committee – Since 2015; Sandpoint Airport Planning Board, Advisory Committee – Since 2013; Sandpoint City Streets Steering Committee; Bonner and Boundary County Economic Summit Steering Committee; Initiated and led team to create Sister City Relationship with Nelson B.C.

How can voters contact you:Website: Email:  [email protected]. Facebook: Kate McAlister 

1. Creating a better Economy – Idaho’s economy is limited by the number of qualified candidates that current businesses need to grow and expand. Increasing the number of Idaho students who successfully get industry-recognized credentials, certificates and degrees will lead to higher incomes for the students and a growing Idaho economy. Currently there are too many working poor earning more than the poverty level, but earning less than the basic cost of living in the county. With more educational opportunities in place I feel we can move everyone forward.  I believe that a rising tide floats all boats.

Making Education a Priority – This is the foundation for our future and generations to come.  Post-secondary education is the key to growing our economy and qualifying the workforce for better-paying jobs.

Access to Health Care  – 78,000 Idahoans are without access to affordable medical insurance and this is unacceptable.

2. Choosing ideologies over real issues affecting Idahoans. Too much time, in my opinion, is spent on what we disagree on and not what we can make happen together. Most Idahoans, specifically in North Idaho feel they are not being represented or heard. We fix this by getting out and voting in the primary and in the general election on November 8. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

3. Yes, this is a serious issue. Northern Idaho needs a representative focused on the job here in Idaho, not in Washington D.C.  Idahoans need to be the priority. I believe we need leadership based on common-sense solutions, not partisan or ideological convictions to bring balance to our political process.

As stated above, we can fix this by getting out and voting in the primary and in the general election on November 8.  YOUR VOTE COUNTS!

4. Idaho residents currently pay into their local County Indigent Fund through property taxes and the state’s Catastrophic Fund through income taxes. These two funds are available to reimburse local hospitals who treat catastrophically sick individuals. I believe in eliminating these programs, which would reduce the tax burden on Idahoans by creating a new program that would allow working people in Idaho to afford healthcare before they are catastrophically sick. We can do this by accepting federal Medicaid to cover the 78,000 Idahoans currently at risk. The interim legislative committee has found that this would save lives and lower taxes while getting a return on our federal taxes that we are forced to pay and other states currently receive our benefit.

5. Yes, the state should increase spending on education. The state has run budget surpluses the last couple of years. The state income derived from income tax and sales tax is projected every year based on the health of the economy. As the state continues to come out of the recession and revenues increase, the state has replenished “rainy day” accounts that were used when the recession started to buffer cuts to education and other state programs. As these accounts are filled up there will be more revenue available without taking away from other state programs that would allow a greater focus on education.

6. Oppose.  I have talked to current and retired police officers and all have told me they felt it was a bad idea.  If those who protect us locally are not in favor I am curious as to why the law was passed.  I support our second amendment rights; my husband hunted when he was younger, I have a child who is a veteran and a child in law enforcement. I just want to make sure we are safe.

7. No. As previously stated, we need representatives focused on the job here in Idaho, not at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Idahoans need to be the priority. The second visit was when the legislature was in session and votes were missed. This is not how our tax dollars should be spent.

8. Oppose. It should not have even come up as it is clearly in opposition of our Idaho State Constitution. If the law suits were filed and won, the citizens of Idaho would have paid with our tax dollars.


Heather Scott (R)

Rep. Heather Scott.

Rep. Heather Scott.

Age: 46

Years of residence in home county: 18

Marital status/family: Married

Education: B.S. Biological Science

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Aquatic Biologist

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Board of Directors local Thrift Store

How can voters contact you:  Telephone

1. Securing our state sovereignty and weaning ourselves from federal dollars.

2. Career politicians addicted to federal monies and self interests. Replace them.

3. While you provide no definition of “ideologically driven newcomers”,   I see the change as refreshing. The career establishment has been running the show for way too long.

4. I am against taking federal monies to expand this program just to see it disappear in a few years.  States that have expanded this are dealing with the unpleasant consequences now. These efforts trend us towards socialized healthcare, which hasn’t worked out well for other countries.

5. Spending doesn’t equate to intelligence or pupil success.  I believe that more money should be directed towards retaining teachers and helping students instead of administrative expansions and perks.

6. Favor and co-sponsored.

7. Yes, this land issue is much more relevant to western citizens than the recent travel by state legislators to the country of Turkey.

8. I voted in favor of this bill-What’s so scary about the Bible?




Bob Vickaryous (D)
(Did not respond to questionnaire.)


Sage Dixon (R)

Rep. Sage Dixon.

Rep. Sage Dixon.

Age: 46

Years of residence in home county: 14

Marital status/family: Finance major.

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Business owner, current Idaho State Representative

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: No organized membership, but I personally donate my time to various local and state charitable entities. How can voters contact you:  [email protected]


1. Upholding Constitutional principles, tax reform, i.e. removal of the grocery tax and land use issues.

2. Executive branch overreach and federal encroachment are the biggest problems with state government. Reclaiming the authority of the state’s legislative branch will be an important step in restoring our political balance.

3. I am unaware of state government being stymied, and opposition is critical to a strong political process.  However, I do agree that ideological newcomers have been harmful through promotion of higher taxes, more regulations and environmentalism that has led to the decline of our traditional industries.

4. The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” is the cause of the perceived problem, and I find it unconscionable to make more people dependent upon the government.

5. There is a fallacious implication in this statistic, as our test scores are better than many other states. Therefore, we are producing more with less, which should be applauded and not maligned in order to gain more funding.  Increased funding rarely produces increased performance.  The key to better educational quality is better educational opportunity.

6. I favor the law. Please see the second amendment: “…shall not be infringed…”

7. This trip was on our own time and prior to the start of the legislative session. It was pertinent because of the involvement of our constituents, as well as other Idaho citizens.  There also was a desire to mitigate any potential similar situations in Idaho through knowledge gained on-site.

8. As I was the House floor sponsor, I support this bill for obvious reasons.  It read “..religious texts..” with the Bible being used as an example of what would be permitted.  The bill did not exclusively permit the Bible, and it was abundantly clear that no religious text was to be used for doctrinal purposes. I don’t agree with the opinion the governor’s staff gave him, which resulted in the veto.


Stephen Howlett (D)

Stephen Howlett.

Stephen Howlett.

Age: 65

Years of residence in home county: 

Reside in Bonners Ferry /Boundary County since 1978

Marital status/family: Married

Education: High School Graduate

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Self-employed building and remodeling

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong:  Boundary County Historical Society, GROW Community Garden

How can voters contact you: 208-597-6433

1. Work toward solving the insurance gap issue. Online voter registration and voting by mail. The collecting of sales tax from online sales. Expand broad band internet access to rural areas. Raising minimum wage. Funding infrastructure needs for state highway and bridges.

2. Legislative deadlock and failure to compromise. Voters need to recognize if their representatives are doing the job they were elected to do. Representatives need to be flexible to get fair laws through.

3. This is a serious issue. Voters need to recognize this problem and use their voting rights to change elected officials.

4. Idaho should adopt the federal program that includes insuring these Idahoans. This would allow for the reduction of the county indigent funding.

5. Yes, funding should be increased. State endowment lands revenue should be put into the school funds with the only deduction to be for administration costs. In the event of surplus of expected tax revenues, 3 percent should be moved to the school fund.

6. Although I don’t see the need to carry a concealed weapon, I support the new law.

7. I do not support their visit.

8. Oppose this bill. This bill was a misuse of valuable legislative time.



Jessica Chilcott (D)

Jessica Chilcott.

Jessica Chilcott.

Age: 37

Years of residence in Bonner County: I have lived in Bonner County for 8 years. 

Marital status/family:

Education: Masters Social Work – Boise State University, Bachelors Social Work – Lewis Clark State College, Bachelors of Science, Psychology, University of Idaho

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: I am a social worker. I have spent 8 years in Sandpoint working primarily as a case manager. Currently, I am working as a therapist and I supervise a program that provides developmental therapy services. I currently sit on the board of directors for NAMI Far North, Bonner County Human Rights Task Force Board of Directors, as well as the Board of the Northwest Coalition for Human Rights. I am a current member of the National Association of Social Workers as well as the American Association of University Women. I am also a volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps. 

How can voters contact you: I am available by cell (208) 304-2906, email- [email protected]. I also have a Facebook page: I also have a website that is still largely under construction:     

1. We need to improve education investment. We need to focus on improving the economy to support economic diversity and resiliency. This includes investments in infrastructure.

2. There is a lack of balance in government that has created a situation where good ideas are sidelined not based on their merits but because of where they originate. This does not best serve the citizens of Idaho and it is possible to do better.

3. I believe that the Legislature needs to focus on the job of good governance through civil discourse and collaborative decision making. We saw some good examples of this such as the coalition that worked together to establish the guidelines for testing rape kits in Idaho. We have the ability to work together for all of our Citizens and we should do so.

4. Medicaid expansion makes sense. Two bills were proposed that would ensure care for those in the gap during the 2016 Legislative session. Both would have saved the state money. Expanding Medicaid would eliminate the need for the Catastrophic Health Care Fund as well as the need for the County Indigent Care program. Beyond the cost savings to the state and the counties we can prevent the needless deaths of hundreds of Idahoans a year. It is unconscionable that we live in a so called first world nation and we have people dying of asthma and diabetes because they cannot afford access to care.

5. The Idaho Constitution requires that the Legislature ensure a “general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” That is not what we have. Some Idaho communities are incredibly fortunate that they are able to continue to pass levies to make up for some of the funding gaps left by the Legislature. Other communities are not as fortunate. While the Legislature restored education to 2009 levels we are now living in 2016. We cannot expect our students and teachers to continue doing more with less. As the economy improves we need to continue to invest in the education of Idaho’s students.

6. There continue to be some limits on where an individual can carry concealed after the law takes effect. My concerns are related to what I understand to be a lack of training and oversight. There is a possibility that individuals who would not be able to obtain a permit as currently outlined will now be able to carry concealed and I find that concerning. In general I am opposed.

7. I understand that they considered their first trip to be a fact-finding venture. I would be interested to know the outcome of any conversation they had with the individuals involved in the land use collaborative that is, as I understand it, very active in that area. There are several models of collaborative land use planning inside of and outside of Idaho that can help us as we navigate public land conversations and policy making.

8. Oppose, this bill was unnecessary. Gov. Otter was right to veto this bill.


Priscilla Giddings (R)

Priscilla Giddings.

Priscilla Giddings.

Age: 32

Years of residence in Idaho County: Graduated from Riggins High School in 2001

Marital status/family: Single, four siblings, 14 nieces/nephews and one great-niece

Education: B.S. Biology, US Air Force Academy; M.S. Physiology, California University of Pennsylvania

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Corporate Pilot, Major in Air Force Reserves  

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: NRA, Angel Flight West, Idaho President of Air Force Academy AOG, World Powerlifting Congress judge 

How can voters contact you:  [email protected]

1. A. Improve District 7 unemployment rate because it is currently the worst in the state.

B. Clean up the excessive fuel on the forest floors to provide employment, protect the wildlife, property, and homes in rural communities, and reduce expenditures on wild fires (Idahoans spent $54.5 million in 2015 on fires).

C. Deregulation of industry through legislative authority to review and reject regulations that strangle employment (Constitutional amendment regarding legislative oversight this will be on November ballot).

2. Even though we have a balanced budget requirement in our state constitution, Idahoans should know that the state is $3.6 billion in debt and the federal government provides more than 30 percent of our annual expenditures.  That kind of dependence makes fighting for limited government more challenging. We need to vote for legislators who understand and support fiscal responsibility.

3. Healthy debate is the strength of our constitutional republic. It is a good thing that more people are engaging in the discussion and that neither faction is allowed to walk away with uncontested power. It is a natural part of our governing structure that the status quo be challenged.

4. During the legislative hearings on this important issue, one of the glaring complaints on Medicaid expansion was the failure of contracted companies to fulfill their duties in helping. I believe accountability is the first step toward helping Idahoans in medical need and the legislature needs to address these contracting oversight problems.

5. Although Idaho is at the bottom in expenditure per pupil, we are ranked at the top of states for the taxpayer burden to finance our school.  We need to transfer the burden to other revenue sources.  Most other states use their profits from natural resources which Idaho has been denied access. If the federal government is not going to provide the promised PILT payments, then the state needs to be able to manage its own resources to use the profits for education and other needs.

6. I support constitutional carry.

7. I believe the federal government is far too aggressive in situations like what happened at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. However, as a state legislator, I represent the citizens of District 7. As far as I know, none of the stand-off participants were from their home district. My interest in this case would have been only for the purpose of preventative measures should a situation arise in the state of Idaho.

8. Based on my understanding of our current statutes and state constitution, I do not think this legislation served any useful purpose. I fully support the Bible as a part of our history, our culture and our founding documents.  I expect professional public school teachers to use the texts and tools needed to provide our children with the best quality education, which is appropriately under local control.


Shannon McMillan (R)
(Did not respond to questionnaire.)



Kris Steneck (R)

Kris Steneck.

Kris Steneck.

Age: 60

Years of residence: 45 years in Idaho/6 in Idaho county

Education: Associate of Arts, General University of Alaska Anchorage

Bachelors of Science, Social Science Boise State University. Addiction Studies-Graduate Certificate Boise State University

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor 

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations:  Prior Memberships— Treasure Valley Drug and Alcohol Coalition (Boise, Idaho), Boise State Women’s Center, Mentor program (Boise, Idaho) Governors Juvenile Justice and Family Services Committee (Anchorage, Alaska)

Alaska Council on the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Anchorage, Alaska) American Legion Women’s Auxiliary (Elk City, Idaho).

How can voters contact you: Facebook Kris L. Steneck and Kris L. Steneck for Idaho District 7B. 


1. A) Limited government. B) Individual rights. C) Unlawful federal monetary mandates and regulations controlling and obligating state policy and lawmaking; all of which influence, and damage our free enterprise system.

2. The problems are too many lobbyists, and not enough oversight or accountability. All of which help build the tentacles of more government intrusion into our lives. The answer is in plain sight.

3. The issue I see here is not about ideology, but a lack of knowledge.  Many lawmakers have no foundational understanding of sovereignty, states rights or nullification. Therefore no common ground exists to work from. How do you solve this? Start by requiring that all legislators take a written test on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Idaho State Constitution before they can be seated to their position.

4. The most important thing here is to know that these are not just single issues with simple answers.  First, the federal government has no lawful authority to mandate the purchase of health insurance. In Justice John Robert’s written opinion upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare, he stated, “The states are separate and independent sovereigns, sometimes they have to act like it.” I believe that he was telling the legislatures of the various states that they have the sovereign authority to nullify unconstitutional mandates from an out-of-control federal government. I consider Obamacare another example of a long train of abuses, where the federal government is attempting to exercise unlawful powers. Again the principle of state nullification applies. Secondly, the discussion of the healthcare market must begin with addressing insurance. Insurance companies are a farce. They rarely compensate for loss or defer liability. They have contributed significantly to increasing costs in every area that they have touched. Because of this they exacerbate the problems that they purport to alleviate and damage the free market by obscuring competition. Making any insurance mandatory is tyrannical, smacks of cronyism, and destroys free market choice.

5. Contrary to popular opinion, the amount of money spent on education does not positively correlate to quality of education; in fact it has been shown to be the reverse. For instance, home schoolers spend the least and produce the finest academics. Most private schools spend less than their public counterparts and still best them for academic achievement. For the most part, Idaho education is adequately funded if the money is spent wisely.

6. Requiring permission to carry concealed or otherwise, is plainly an infringement on the people’s right to bear arms. I oppose all restrictions on gun models, magazine capacities, ammunition types, barrel length, power, caliber etc. If are we to remain capable of maintaining the security of a free state then we must not be limited to 19th century technology. It should also be an option for teachers and staff to carry with the caveat that teacher training/qualification would include proper firearm use, safety and especially security.

7. Federal lands cover a third of the nation’s total land area.  Idaho is a piece of that pie.  The issues revolving around the Malheur refuge and surrounding ranches and communities are alive and well in our own state.  Why not a fact finding mission? So whether you agree or disagree with the issue itself, the presence of these elected officials most likely helped divert what could have become a horrific outcome for other Idahoans.

8. The duty of the legislature is to “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” Article IX, section 6 appears to prohibit the availability of religious and even political books. This denies people access to foundational material like early political treatises; stifling student’s ability to research and discuss. I would support legislation to allow these kinds of books to at least be available for study since students are inundated with a continuous barrage of socialist’s attitudes and issues throughout their school careers. I agree with the recent passage of SB 1342 that allows use of the Bible in public schools to be codified in law thus reaffirming a practice already in use.


Questions for Bonner County Commissioner race:

1. What do you see as the most pressing issues facing Bonner County today?

2. The shake-ups in the Bonner County Planning Department have been ongoing news for more than six months. What do you think about the firing of department employees and the effort to reduce regulations? Are you concerned about the lawsuits that have sprung up in its wake?

3. The Clagstone Meadows easement was another recent controversy, with some calling it crony capitalism enriching Stimson Lumber and others saying the federal funding was appropriate compensation for the company giving up development rights. What do you think?

4. What personal qualities do you bring that you think would add to the Board of Commissioners?

5. What do you think are Bonner County’s strongest assets, and what would you do to protect them?

6. The decision by the county commissioners to pass a resolution in support of Gov. Butch Otter’s call to halt Syrian refugee settlement kicked off a large controversy, although there is no proposal to settle refugees here. What is your opinion on this issue?

7. Do you favor or oppose wilderness designation for the Scotchman Peaks roadless area? Do you favor or oppose the Rock Creek Mine proposed to be sited 25 miles upstream of Lake Pend Oreille.

8. Roads are a big part of the county budget. How’s the county doing with its responsibility for roads?   



Todd Sudick (R)
(Did not respond to questionnaire.)

Jeff Connolly (R)

Jeff Connolly.

Jeff Connolly.

Age: 57

Years of residence in Bonner County: 57

Marital status/family: Wife, Kris; children, Keith and Brittany; four grandchildren

Education: High School diploma, Loggers Education to Advance Professionalism certification

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 

Priest River City Council

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Priest Community Forest Connection, Panhandle Forest Collaborative, 

How can voters contact you:

Cell: 208-755-1440

Email: [email protected]


1. A lack of transparency and inclusion for the general public. Protecting jobs and bringing more job opportunities to Bonner County. Bringing common sense to the inner workings of the county to improve morale and efficiency. Finding a sensible pathway forward for the Planning and Zoning Department that will benefit the citizens of Bonner County.

2. Good employees are and have been in place in the county and it is a travesty that some have been treated with a total lack of respect. There is a policy and procedures manual that has not been followed in some of these cases. Intimidation has seriously lowered the morale of many of the county employees and that is disenabling them to do their jobs properly.

The Comprehensive Plan should be reviewed regularly, and that is one of the missions of the Planning Department, which has also been somewhat dismantled. If changes need to be made, it should be a public process with input from the property owners of Bonner County.

I am concerned about the lawsuits that seem to be piling up. It has been stated that they have not lost a lawsuit? Well, that would be because they either settle out of court or they keep the lawsuit moving up the chain. It is not because the lawsuits are viable. I believe many of these lawsuits could be avoided through good communication and problem solving and following proper procedures.

3. Clagstone Meadows is just one example of what direction we want our property rights to go. This is private property, and that property owner has the right to do what they want with their property as long as it follows the zoning regulations. General public opinion has followed that line of thinking.

As far as funding: Clagstone Meadows was put into a conservation easement through the Forest Legacy Program (FLP). This program protects private and important forestlands that are threatened to be converted into non-forest uses.  FLP grant funds are NOT taxpayer dollars, but consist of royalties paid by energy companies drilling on public lands and the outer continental shelf.

4. My people skills are one of my greatest assets and have aided in bringing progressive transformations to Priest River and other areas. I treat others with respect and appreciate their points of view even if it doesn’t match mine. I have 57 years of experience living in this county, and I know the rigors of raising a family here, working here and preserving a very unique quality of life. I will use that experience to help all residents of Bonner County.

5. Our assets include our quality of life, our amazing resiliency and our desire to move forward. We have good employees in place and they need to be encouraged and respected in order to continue the work they are asked to do. We also have a strong roads and bridges program and we have made a lot of progress with infrastructure. Solid budget plans and support for our county employees will help keep this county moving in the right direction.

6. I would put forth the idea that we halt all immigration until it is possible to determine the credentials of all immigrants coming into the US.

7. I do favor wilderness designation for the Scotchman’s Peak.  I have worked with a number of the proponents of this designation and according to the IPNF forest plan it is a proper designation that is beneficial to this county.

The Rock Creek Mine seems to be going through the proper permitting process, as it should. That process should be played out and should guarantee no detrimental effects on our waterways or the environment.  This is a great opportunity to continue to collaborate so the parties can find a solution that satisfies the majority of concerns.

8. The roads and bridges program is the best I have seen in many years.  The infrastructure in this county is super important for our economy, for our visitors and for our residents.


Dan McDonald (R)

Dan McDonald.

Dan McDonald.

Age: 56

Years of residence in Bonner County: Full Time 20+

Marital status/family: Married for 33 years this year, three children, four grandchildren

Education: Some college, additional business management and technical training

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: Currently working for The Garland Company operating a local franchise as a commercial roof consultant. I manage between $12 and $15 million dollars worth of commercial roofing and waterproofing projects each year. I’ve been with Garland for 20-plus years. Prior to that I was vice president and general manager of a commercial roofing company that I grew from $1.5 million a year in business to $15 million in just 5 years and managed over 100 employees. I also co-host Face to Face on 1400 KSPT AM radio here in Sandpoint.

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Kiwanis, Big Boy Ballet Company, Bearly There in Sandpoint, Former President of the Panida Theater. Professional organizations: CSI, AIA, LEEDS. I’m also involved with sustainable design solutions which include green roof technology and photovoltaic design.

How can voters contact you: Facebook: dan4bonnercounty; Website:; Email: [email protected]; Phone: 661-0428

1. Unemployment and the lack of good-paying jobs, the yearly loss of our youth to other areas that have jobs, increased taxation and the recent reduction in property rights. All of these can be traced back to a poorly written Comprehensive Plan and its supporting ordinances. The past commissioners failed to see the impact this plan would have on jobs and the economy in Bonner County. Our unemployment is 7.3 percent while the average of the balance of Idaho is 4.2 percent. The Comp Plan and supporting ordinances are actually more restrictive than the balance of the counties in the state have. We need to work on rewriting portions of the Comp Plan and the supporting ordinances to bring us back into line with the balance of the state to create a pathway for job growth and responsible economic prosperity.

2. I was first very concerned about the terminations after reading some of the reporting however, I noted that the majority of the reporting was coming from one side. I took it upon myself to meet with some of the commissioners to get their side. They couldn’t share confidential information. However, they did make it known that these decisions were reviewed by all three commissioners, two inside council, an independent outside council and the council from the county’s insurer. The findings were conclusive that there were grounds for termination. Additionally, with all the folks I’ve met throughout the county, the overwhelming majority have told me their stories of difficulty in dealing with the county planning department. Since county government is supposed to serve the people, it seems obvious that change was required. As far as reduced regulations, I am in favor of making the appeals process more streamlined and less costly for the citizens of the county. Again, county government is supposed to be there to help the citizens who pay for it, not to lord over them. The actions to date have brought Bonner County back into alignment with the state and other counties with regard to regulations. Again, is it a surprise that unemployment is so high here compared to the balance of the state?

3. My biggest issue is tax dollars going to a for-profit company. Imagine, if this were an oil company, the outrage we would hear. The history is important to note as originally there was an attempt at creating a housing project and two golf courses with a projected value of $12 million. Stimson seems to have found a way to recoup the loss of the development by a legal means, so good for them. However, it’s still taxpayer dollars going to a for-profit company and with conservation easements come restrictions. If taxpayer money is used, I believe we should have areas that allow motorized vehicles and multi-use. In addition, Bonner County currently has 64 percent of its land tied up via the federal government along with a number of existing conservation easements, this 12,000 acres is just more potentially developable land that will now be set aside forever.

4. I’m a logical thinker who looks for the facts on all sides of an argument prior to reaching an opinion. I have a great deal of experience working with employees and have for the most part been able to find positive outcomes in employee-related issues if they arise. I have a great deal of experience in the areas of service, labor efficiency, organization and budgeting. I believe in transparency and am in favor of more public input especially on important issues. I see the commissioners’ position as one of service to the people of the county and not to lord over those who we are there to serve.

5. The strongest assets are the people and the culture followed by the incredible beauty of our area. I see the commissioners’ job as kind of a protector of the county and all in it. I have a long track record of community service, helping those in our county during their time of need. I created a group to oppose the grotesque signs and harassment of our local anti-abortion abolitionist group. I respect their opinion and am opposed to abortion but their tactics need to change to protect women and children from their harassment. I have a track record of helping to save some of the beauty in our area. I was the president of a citizen’s organization known as the Oden Citizens for Appropriate Land Use. We fought and beat an out-of-town developer who wanted to build a 2 million gallon sewer lagoon on the shores of the lake and sprinkle the effluent on what is anaerobic soils. Every time it would rain, the lake would have been inundated with nutrient loading. This would have caused massive aquatic weed blooms in our beautiful lake.

6. First off, the city of Sandpoint and Bonner County have little if any say as this is a federal issue. I agree with the county and the governor that they would support holding off on sending refugees to Idaho until they could be properly vetted. Keep in mind, the National Security Director and the Director of the FBI both stated they could not properly vet the Syrian refugees. Additionally, we can help far more refugees if we keep them in adjacent countries. The numbers vary. However, the UN reported cost shows we can help anywhere from 12 to 20 more refugees over there for every single one we bring here. It’s a more logical and compassionate choice that helps more people.

7. I recently met with the Scotchman Peaks director and am in favor of the project. I am also however in favor of Rock Creek Mine as long as we have solid monitoring methods. Mining touches all parts of our lives every day and without it, I wouldn’t be typing on this computer. That being said, there needs to be monitoring at all points in the process and the mining waste management. Heavy metals are naturally introduced each year during rain and snow run off from the surrounding mountains. No one wants the Clark Fork and Lake Pend Oreille to see additional heavy metals introduction from the mining operation.

8. I think they are doing well, but let’s just say there is always room for improvement. I know a little about paving as my father still owns and operates a paving and excavating contracting business. Part of the problem is many of these road beds were not originally constructed properly, especially for our climate and conditions. As the budget allows, we need to continue to work toward improving and correcting some of these issues as this is a critical part of our infrastructure and can either be a positive or a negative to attracting business to our area.


Lewis Rich (R)

Lewis Rich.

Lewis Rich.

Age: 68

Years of residence in Bonner County: 36

Marital status/family: Married 49 years to my wife Karol, two children, three grandchildren 

Education: AA degree plus many other education classes to complete my SDS teaching credential requirements.

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 6 years prior Bonner County commissioner 2006-2012. Small business owner and operator for approximately 28 years in Bonner county with a lot of understanding how to survive profitably in our local economy. In my third term as a Northside Fire commissioner. Held many offices in Bonner County Search and Rescue.

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Almost 50 years cumulative volunteer service with Sandpoint Fire, Northside Fire District, Bonner County Search and Rescue, Little League coach, and many others.

How can voters contact you: Email: [email protected], local phone 208 263 8495

1. The ransacking of planning and zoning and its advisory committee. Terrible employee morale issues like I’ve never seen in Bonner County in my 36 years of history here due to re-classifying of all unelected department heads. Road and bridge issues. The counties liability exposures because of all of the lawsuits, which could leave the county uninsurable.

2. There are still four out of five wrongful termination lawsuits remaining. The first one involving Rob Wakeley was just settled in Mr. Wakeley’s favor. I have a lot of knowledge about the remaining four, and they all will prevail. There are still a few more brewing that I know of within the county and the sheriff’s office.

3. This project has been around for several years and the details are certainly not new. I do support it and believe the sources of funding to be an appropriate way for this funds to be spent.

4. I have never advocated a one-way or the highway policy in my personal or public life experiences and certainly won’t go that way now.

5. A true traditional sense of community, with diverse and independent opinions and lifestyles. I would work to protect would we have here and not try to fix and repair it to resemble the other places where people who have moved here came from. I would practice conservative fiscal policy to keep the costs to run this county in proper perspective.

6. Without a way to vet the refugees, which the federal government is not able to do, I don’t support the refugee program. It also seems that the photo evidence shows way-too-high percentage of young, able-bodied young males and not families.

7. I supported Scotchman’s Peak in the past and still do. The Rock Creek Mine, I believe, is a viable project, with proper oversight and monitoring systems to guard against potential pollution issues.

8. Keeping the paved roads paved and properly maintained is a huge financial responsibility and critically important. New pavement has to be the most expensive and takes years of tax fund allocation to allow this to happen. There’s no way to fund significant amounts of new pavement in any single year’s budget. It takes good management practices and reserve management to get large road and bridge projects funded.


Questions for Bonner County Sheriff race:

1. Please briefly describe your view of good law enforcement leadership. What makes a sheriff effective in a rural environment like Bonner County?

2. What is your vision for the sheriff’s office, and what goals would you prioritize?

3. Police shootings are lately a big news item, and not even Sandpoint has escaped the controversy, most prominently with the death of Jeanetta Riley. Do you think current law enforcement training and procedures are sufficient, or could steps be taken to minimize use of deadly force?

4. The Constitutional Sheriff movement is changing the leadership role many sheriffs choose to take in their communities. What does this movement mean to you, and do you yourself embrace it?

5. What are your thoughts on the controversy regarding former undersheriff David Hale creating a fake Terry Ford campaign website? Do you think this is an important factor voters should consider at the ballot?

6. What are the most significant law enforcement issues facing Bonner County over the next term?

7. What distinguishes you from your opponent?



Daryl Wheeler (R)

Sheriff Daryl Wheeler.

Sheriff Daryl Wheeler.

Age: 58

Years of residence in Bonner County: 18

Marital status/family: Married 35 years, four children and four grandchildren

Education: I hold an Idaho Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisory, Management and Executive POST certificates. I am also a POST certified instructor, a graduate of the 98th class of the National Sheriffs’ Institute and the FBI Command College. 

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 

30 years in Law Enforcement, over 7 years as your sheriff, 2012 President of the Idaho Sheriff’s Association, 2013 recipient of the Mills Adler Award from the Idaho Association of Counties. I currently serve as the law enforcement representative on the Region 1 Behavioral Health Board.

Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Idaho Sheriff’s Association, Western Sheriff’s Association, National Sheriff’s Association and Gun Owners of America.

How can voters contact you:   [email protected]

1. I believe that you need three things to be an effective sheriff in Bonner County. You must have an understanding of the law, the heart of the people and be dedicated to your employees.

2. I will continue to make Bonner County a safe place to live, work and play. My priority is to see an increase in salary and benefits for my employees. My employees are expected to lay down their lives on a daily basis.  Despite the excellent jobs that they perform, they are not compensated in a manner that sustains them in our community.

3. I can only speak to training and procedures at the Sheriff’s Office. All our patrol staff has attended Crisis Intervention Training. Following this tragic event, I added the beanbag round as another less lethal tool for my officers to use.  The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office utilizes scenario- based training with the use of beanbag rounds, K-9’s and tasers, which minimizes the use of deadly force.

4. I am in favor of following our nation’s bylaws. If the president signed an “executive action” closing all the newspapers, I would refuse to enforce it. Article I in the Constitution spells out the powers of Congress. Article II spells out the powers of the president. Article III spells out the judicial powers. Article VI states that all laws are to be made in pursuance of the Constitution ie. the bylaws.

5. Idaho Code 74-106 prohibits me from making comments on personnel issues.

6. Creeping crime from Kootenai County, Spokane and our nation’s borders.  I requested an additional crime analysis detective which was not funded in last year’s budget.  I will be making the same request in this year’s budget.

7. My experience, training and accomplishments distinguish me from my opponent.  Check my website:  or watch the Redoubt video clips from the 2016 forums.


Terry Ford (R)

Terry Ford.

Terry Ford.

Age: 63

Years of residence in Bonner County:30

Marital status/family: Married. 

Three daughters. One granddaughter.

Education: College of Southern Idaho.  ISP. Held Master post Certificate.

Recent or pertinent employment or professional qualifications: 25 years as Idaho State Trooper. 10 years Reserve part time Post Falls.

 Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong: Injectors Car Club.

How can voters contact you: 

Through my Facebook page on my website: or call 208-255-8460.

1. First of all the sheriff has to be honest.  He has to lead by example and treat people like they want to be treated.  He has to earn the respect of his employees and the citizens he represents. He has to be a good listener and a problem solver.

2. My goals are to bring back honesty, integrity and professionalism to the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.  I will work to make it one of the most professional departments in the state and aim for an accreditation through Idaho Chiefs of Police Association. I will have an open door policy for employees and the citizens of Bonner County and actually listen to what the people have to say, and work with them to make Bonner County a wonderful and safe place to live.

3. We can always use training on the use of deadly force. Things change so rapidly, and if we don’t keep up with the training we can fall behind. But it is still up to the deputies to make that call; they are the ones making the split-second decisions. All it would take is a split-second hesitation, and it could cost the life of a deputy   or innocent civilian.  I think all the deputies should and will be trained in the crisis intervention training program through NAMI. This training teaches the deputies what to watch for with mentally impaired people, and how to approach them. This could make a difference in a split- second decision that may cost a life.

4. I have been asked this question many times. Each time I ask what they mean by a constitutional sheriff I get a different answer.  Here is my answer.  I am a strong believer of the Constitution of the United States; it is what America was built on.  I will abide by and enforce the laws of the constitution as written. As an officer of the law I will enforce all the laws.

5. I definitely think this is something people should consider.  What made Hale think he needed to build a false website in my name? It was done with one thing in mind, and that was to undermine my campaign. And to think that Sheriff Wheeler didn’t know about it is hard to believe when it was traced back to his web site. If Sheriff Wheeler didn’t know about the fake website and Hale did this on his own then why is Hale still employed at the sheriff’s office? What are they trying to hide? This falls back to honesty, integrity and professionalism. Sheriff Wheeler did a great disservice to the citizens of Bonner County when he said he accepted Hale’s resignation, leading the citizens to believe that Hale was gone and the problem was solved, until it came out later that Hale is still employed. This is called deception by omission. If you were to testify in court like that and only tell the jury what you want them to hear and not the whole truth, you would be charged with perjury. The way I would have handled it would put to Hale on administrative leave until the charge was investigated. When I found out the truth, I would have terminated him. I would have contacted my opponent and apologized personally and publicly (which was never done).  I would have taken responsibility for the actions of my team, good, bad or indifferent, because that’s what a true leader does.

6. I think it’s the war on drugs.  First of all, most of the property crimes are directly related to the rampant drug use. Most people using hard drugs usually can’t hold a job, so they steal things to sell and support their habit. There is also a lot of domestic violence due to drug use. There are programs out there to help these people kick the drugs, but you usually have to be in the system before they can be offered. If we can get these people in the system and get them the help they need then maybe they can become productive citizens. Excessive drug use can also cause mental problems. The deputies all need to be trained in crisis intervention to be able to determine the mental stability of a person he is in contact with. I will start a drug interdiction program to try and stop the influx of these drugs coming in on our roadways. With the proper training and programs we can stop a lot of the drugs before they reach the people using them. Listen to the citizens when they try to give information on possible drug traffic in their area.  If the citizens are willing to give the information, we should take advantage and check it out.

7. Honesty and integrity, I believe in and live to this day by the Idaho Peace Officers Code of Ethics. It is on my website, or you can find it online.  Please take a look and make your own decisions.

I am not a politician. I don’t belong to a half a dozen organizations across the northwest. I will be here running the Sheriff’s Office, not traveling somewhere across the state or who knows where to attend meetings.  Yes, there are organizations I will have to be involved with, but for the most part, I will be right here working to make the sheriff’s office one of the most professional departments in the State.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.