Many voters made up their minds and cast ballots early this year, but time remains for the rest to decide on candidates. These are the newspapers’ recommendations on federal, state and local candidates for election-day consideration.
President, Joseph R. Biden, D: The former vice president is decent, smart and experienced—all qualities lacking in the incumbent. The nation has had a rough ride with incompetence and cruelty emanating from an Oval Office that has failed to fight a global pandemic in which more than 225,000 Americans have died. Biden’s record as a U.S. senator was in harnessing American energies—not hampering them—to fend off threats. His stated goal is to enlist science to fight COVID-19 coronavirus and climate change and to prevent them from engulfing the population. His honesty and empathy would be a welcome replacement for the 20,000 false or misleading statements that The Washington Post reported the incumbent racked up during 42 months in office. Americans need a president more concerned about good jobs, family incomes and a healthy environment than outsized returns on investment for Wall Street. Biden is that man.
U.S. senator, Paulette Jordan, D: This former Idaho legislator and one-time candidate for governor would be a fresh breeze in the stagnant air of the Senate. She would replace two-term incumbent Sen. Jim Risch, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Trump apologist. Jordan supports the Affordable Care Act, under which 89,000 Idahoans buy health insurance. Risch wants to kill it. Like him, Jordan supports immigration reform and border security. However, Risch voted to divert tax money from the U.S. military and spend it on a Mexican border wall. In a clear disconnect with Idahoans, he also voted against permanent funding for the critical Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports projects all over the state. This office needs a change in occupant.
U.S. representative, C. Aaron Swisher, D: This energetic economist and family man takes issue with the incumbent, who has undermined ordinary Idahoans’ ability to get ahead by opposing an increase in the minimum wage and supporting policies that have left 1 percent of Americans with more wealth than the entire middle class. Swisher supports the Affordable Care Act, which made health insurance more affordable, while Congressman Mike Simpson has long tried to kill it. The congressman parrots failed administration policies including opposition to mask mandates that even now could save tens of thousands of lives in the pandemic. A once-thoughtful congressman who engineered the White Clouds Wilderness bill, Simpson has become the personification of a hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil political culture that prizes self-preservation over representation. It’s time for him to go.
Legislative District 26 state senator, Michelle Stennett, D: As senator for 10 years, she has knowledgably represented the district and championed better education funding, workforce training, road and highway improvement, a clean environment and local farm and recreation economies. She is one of the best-informed and thoughtful elected officials in Idaho. As part of the legislative minority, she has been influential in keeping red-state Idaho’s lawmaking train on the tracks when it has threatened to veer radically rightward and derail. This important role has helped the district achieve its own goals in spite of a Legislature that likes top-down government except when it comes to itself.
Legislative District 26 representative Position B, Sally Toone, D: Seeking a second term, this incumbent understands the district’s challenges in the agriculture and recreation industries that dominate it. As a former teacher and third-generation family farmer, she has done her homework. She’s a strong advocate for education funding and local control, children’s safety and expanding access to health services in rural areas. She supports requiring firearms training as a matter of public safety. A budget moderate, she sits on the important Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. She is an asset that voters should not squander.
Blaine County commissioner Second District, Jacob Greenberg, D: This incumbent has led the county surely and ably. His strong record, skill in navigating thorny issues and low-key manner argue for his re-election. He wasted no time in calling for and implementing a local lockdown when the COVID-19 coronavirus erupted here. He continues to support a mask mandate. He strongly backed the county’s successful legal defense of public access to the Big Wood River. He supports a voter advisory on financial alternatives for undergrounding a second ugly overhead power line between Hailey and Ketchum. He helped shepherd to approval the county’s first successful affordable housing development for seniors. He checks all the boxes for trustworthy representation.
Constitutional Amendment HJR4: Yes. The Idaho Constitution now allows the state to have between 30 and 35 legislative districts. The amendment would freeze the number of senators and legislative districts at 35. Approved by supermajorities in the Legislature, it anticipates that growing areas in the state would be better served by more districts and more senators, not fewer. If anything, the state will need more districts in the future. The amendment doesn’t rock the boat and may keep the state’s upcoming reapportionment process from taking on water.
Bellevue aldermen, Doug Brown, Gregory Cappel, Tammy E. Davis: There’s not a lot of daylight between these three incumbents. A single opponent did not launch a serious challenge. All have wrestled with the city’s perennially limited finances and its need to build new roads, repair key pieces of its water and sewer systems and pay competitive wages for city employees. They all understand the city’s challenges. Voters should return them to office to keep them wrestling with finding ways to improve their city.
By: Editorial Board