Jana Jones will challenge Luna

Idaho’s superintendent narrowly defeated the former educator in the 2006 election.


Democrat Jana Jones wants to go head to head with Tom Luna — again — for the state’s top education job.

Though Luna has publicly stated he wants to run again, he has not officially announced his re-election bid.

Jones lost to Luna in 2006 by 2 percentage points, about 11,000 votes out of 443,000 cast.

“I know public education is the key to making a difference when it comes to turning around the economy, and it’s the key to making Idaho a more prosperous state,” she said Tuesday.

Jones served as chief deputy to two-term Democratic Superintendent Marilyn Howard. Howard was the last Democrat to beat a Republican for the statewide position when she ran against Luna in 2002.

After the failure of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, often dubbed the Luna Laws, Jones said more can be done to advocate for education in Idaho. When ideas such as the importance of technology and local control are explained properly to the public, she said, voters are much more likely to support those issues.

“There wasn’t a process (with the propositions),” she said. “There was this feeling like it was just dumped on the public … It was a surprise, and you can’t have that kind of surprise when you’re dealing with (laws) that will have such a large impact on our kids.”

Jones serves as the vice president of MAXIMUS, an educational services practice for a national consulting firm with U.S. headquarters in Reston, Va.

Jones has education-related degrees from Utah State University and Idaho State University. She is a fourth- generation Idahoan and lives in Idaho Falls with her husband, Ross. They have three grown daughters and three grandchildren.

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