Here’s a rarity: an incumbent Democrat running for office in Canyon County. Not exactly, since Leif Skyving holds nonpartisan office. He has spent nearly five years on the Caldwell School Board.
But that experience is valuable — because the Legislature will continue debating education reform, regardless of the outcome of the Students Come First referendums. And based on that background, Skyving gets our endorsement.
Skyving opposes Students Come First, and raises a good procedural objection. He says the various proposals should have been presented individually, instead of being crammed into three far-reaching bills. We suspect his sentiment is shared by many voters who are sifting through the pros and cons of the three laws.
Skyving also makes a good point when he says there is a tension between the state and local school districts. Some of that is a function of funding, and the state’s increasing control over school budgets, but some of it reflects a tug-of-war over policymaking. In Skyving, schools would have a true advocate for local control.
Appointed on March 1 to replace Sen. John McGee, Rice voted with most Republicans on an unfunded cut in corporate and personal income taxes, a watered-down ethics rule change and a misguided bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion. He showed an independent streak in an interview — he strongly supports pursuing sales tax collections on Internet purchases, an idea opposed by some Republicans, and he maintains his opposition to the closed GOP primary. But while some within his party seem to have backed away from the controversial ultrasound bill, Rice says he would consider a better-written bill. Also troubling is his opposition to a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, a complicated proposition that could ultimately reduce state and local health care costs.
In other Canyon County races:
TRAVIS MANNING, DISTRICT 10 HOUSE SEAT A
Manning was drawn into this race because of Students Come First; he is a teacher opposed to the laws. But Manning, a Democrat, isn’t a one-issue candidate, and we were struck by one difference between Manning and Republican Brandon Hixon.
Where Hixon downplayed ethics issues, saying most of the complaints are coming from Democrats, Manning says the issue resonates with Canyon County constituents who have followed the McGee case and the saga of former prosecutor John Bujak. In this open race, Manning offers a stronger command of the issues, and gets our endorsement.
DARRELL BOLZ, DISTRICT 10 HOUSE SEAT B
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is the most important committee at the Statehouse — a group of 20 lawmakers charged with the daunting task of writing budget bills. Bolz, R-Caldwell, a JFAC vice chairman, is the Treasure Valley’s highest-ranking budget-writer — an experienced and moderate voice on spending matters.
There’s no picking against Bolz’s level-headedness and expertise — especially when his Democratic opponent, Angel Zeimantz, seems like a less-than-serious opponent. Zeimantz did not meet with the editorial board or fill out the Statesman’s voter guide.
PATTI ANNE LODGE, DISTRICT 11 SENATE
In her endorsement interview, Lodge said she hasn’t yet made up her mind on Medicaid expansion — which, at the outset, would be funded entirely by the federal government. If re-elected to a seventh term, Lodge should play a pivotal role in this debate: She sits on a gubernatorial task force studying the issue, and the Huston Republican chairs the Senate’s Health and Welfare Committee.
We endorse Lodge, in large part because she well understands the human implications of Medicaid policies. In 2011, when Gov. Butch Otter and legislative leaders opted to lowball state revenue projections, it fell to Lodge to help find Medicaid cuts that totaled $108 million in state and federal funding. Lodge needs to apply that painful experience to the next round of Medicaid decisions.
“Our View” is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board.