Todd Lakey is a legislative newcomer in name only. The former Canyon County commissioner and deputy prosecutor is qualified and prepared to step into the state Senate.
Amid a disappointingly lackluster field in Nampas two legislative districts, Lakey stands out. He gets our strong endorsement for District 12 Senate.
On tax issues that are likely to resurface in the Legislature in 2013, Lakeys instincts are solid.
As a small-business owner and attorney, Lakey is among many legislators and candidates clamoring to repeal the personal property tax, a cumbersome tax that businesses must pay on furnishings and equipment. But as a former county official, he readily recognizes that repeal is not a one-faceted issue, since the tax revenue is a key component in some counties budgets.
Lakey also is open to more aggressively pursuing taxes on Internet sales, in an effort to help Idaho businesses compete with online retailers.
The years centerpiece issue, Propositions 1, 2 and 3, is a wash. Lakey supports all three education laws as does his opponent, Melissa Sue Robinson, who broke with Democratic ranks to voice support for the laws in the Statesmans online voter guide.
Lakey has proved his political mettle, defeating 28-year House veteran Robert Schaefer in the May GOP primary. Facing Robinson, a repeat candidate who did not meet with our editorial board, Lakey is an easy pick.
ROBERT ANDERST, DISTRICT 12 HOUSE SEAT A
Anderst earned our endorsement in the GOP primary. A tax and fiscal conservative, he doesnt come across as an ideologue; for example, he voices reservations to a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion. Anderst has a Democratic opponent on the ballot, Tracy Volpi, but she is no longer running.
DISTRICT 12 HOUSE SEAT B
No endorsement in this open race. Republican nominee Rick Youngblood did not respond to a request to meet with the editorial board. Democrat F. Lawrence Dawson did meet with the board but his answers were shallow and flippant. An excerpt, from our voter guide: Having watched the Legislature in session on TV for three years now, I am convinced that I can do no worse.
Witty? Yes. Convincing? No.
DISTRICT 13 SENATE
No endorsement here either.
Curtis McKenzie, a 10-year Senate veteran, holds clout. Hes chairman of the powerful State Affairs Committee. As a longtime incumbent, hes a known quantity.
Thats not altogether good. We have serious reservations from McKenzies fifth term.
As State Affairs chairman, he headed a shameful hearing on an anti-gay discrimination bill in February, tabling the proposal without accepting any testimony from some 300 people in attendance.
In 2011, the news broke that McKenzie collected a larger taxpayer-funded per diem during the legislative session while he slept on a couch at his Boise law office instead of commuting from Nampa. On top of that, he voted against a bill to remove expenses from the equation used to calculate retirement benefits for legislators.
Democratic opponent Matthew Greene makes no case for himself. He did not fill out the Statesman voter guide, and like McKenzie, did not respond to a request to meet with the editorial board.
BRENT CRANE, DISTRICT 13 HOUSE SEAT A
This is a lukewarm endorsement at best. We disagreed with Cranes co-sponsorship of a two-year moratorium on wind development. On most key issues, such as the Students Come First education overhaul, he has voted with GOP leadership.
Wed like to see him show more of an independent streak. We saw a glimpse in his editorial board interview, when he said Proposition 3, the Students Come First technology law, may need changes even if voters approve it. Specifically, he questions the need for the student laptop purchase that is the centerpiece of Prop 3.
Clayton Trehal, an online charter school teacher and staunch Students Come First opponent, deserves credit for running a credible campaign and giving Crane his first general election challenge in six years. However, he doesnt quite make the case to replace the incumbent.
Our View is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesmans editorial board.