The lineup for 2016 local and state elections is starting to shape up.
Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce President Kate McAlister declared her candidacy for the Idaho House of Representatives Wednesday. Should McAlister win the Democratic nomination, she’ll likely face Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, in the general election.
McAlister is the latest in a string of regional candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring. Dan McDonald is seeking the District 3 seat on the Bonner County Board of Commissioners. And Glenn Rohrer has declared his intent to challenge Shawn Keough in the Republican primary for the District 1 Senate seat.
A resident of 22 years, McAlister aims to focus her campaign on economic development, education and the preservation of essential Idaho amenities. She is running on the record she’s established at the Chamber of Commerce, as well as her membership in groups like Angels Over Sandpoint, the International Selkirk Loop Board of Directors, the Forrest Bird Charter School Board of Directors, the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency and the City of Sandpoint Human Rights Commission.
“I believe my life experiences, professional expertise, abilities, skills, political philosophy and understanding of the issues uniquely qualify me to represent the people of District 1A,” McAlister said in her announcement.
McAlister has lined up a campaign team that includes Karl Dye as treasurer and Char Godec as campaign manager. She’s surrounding herself with a diverse array of backgrounds and perspectives to better represent District 1’s interests, she said.
“At this time, myself and many others I have engaged in conversation with feel we can do better,” she said. “We need to stand up and create some common sense solutions–together. To help move towards achieving these goals I have decided to run for state representative.”
McAlister joins a handful of locals who have announced a bid for public office. Last month, Dan McDonald declared his candidacy for the District 3 seat on the Bonner County Board of Commissioners. A 20-year Bonner County resident, McDonald said his experience in business management and creative problem-solving will be an asset on the Board of Commissioners. His emphasis is on promoting economic development through business-friendly policies.
“With Bonner County’s unemployment level far higher than the average unemployment level for the state of Idaho I feel it’s important to look for ways to create job growth and employment opportunities for Bonner County residents,” McDonald said. “Expanding business opportunities and smart development will also go a long way in reducing the tax burden on county residents by expanding the base.”
“Additionally, I will focus on transparency and look forward to creating opportunities for regular open meetings that will be the vehicle for citizens to help guide the direction of County government to be a true government of the people, by the people and for the people,” he continued.
Finally, Glenn Rohrer is campaigning against Keough for the District 1 Senate seat, a candidacy he’s pursued since last year. A former Air National Guard engineer and retired industrial engineer, Rohrer advocates for conservative policies like tax reduction and the reduction of regulations. In January, Danielle Ahrens also announced a run for the Senate seat, but later withdrew her candidacy to avoid splitting the conservative vote.
There’s still plenty of time for candidates to fill out 2016 ballots. According to county and state officials, filing for candidacy begins Feb. 29.
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