Make no mistake. Local elections matter. And this local election is about representation and how we’ve been represented here in District 33.

Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit

Some would have you believe it’s about party. It’s not. We’re all Idahoans here. Rather than getting hung up on party designations, it’s vital to consider the policies espoused by the candidates and then decide whom you more closely align with.

It can be difficult to weigh the options when you’re looking at a race where there is no incumbent. However, there some races where you can look at a voting record.

If you value education and believe that the community colleges and universities that make up higher education in Idaho are important to supply a skilled workforce to some of our best employers, you might be concerned at the thought of someone voting three times against basic higher education funding.

Further, you might be flabbergasted if such a person then went on to declare that higher education spending is out of control. Well, spending on prisons increased by 207% in the last 25 years. Higher education spending? Increased 39%. When looking at those numbers, it doesn’t look as if higher education spending is out of control at all. It appears that our prison spending might be more of a concern. We say we value education and our colleges, but our legislators, while paying lip service to education, don’t put our taxpayer dollars where our priorities are.

The same is true of property taxes, which are a major priority for many people here in District 33. Even though bipartisan ideas were put forward, they were largely ignored in favor of bad bills (authored by out-of-state groups) that are now costing us money — our taxpayer dollars — in court.

What about vaping? I’m on the CUSP subcommittee looking at health. Vaping among minors is a huge issue. Our “representative” talks about the health of our children but voted against regulating vaping for those younger than 18. She sided with a vape-shop-owning legislator from north Idaho instead of the kids right here in our hometown.

We should be looking at the legislative record and holding our representatives accountable for the way they, well, represent us. Rather than arguing about party, we should be talking about policy and what’s good for the district.

Rep. Neil Anderson, R-Blackfoot, said it best earlier this week, “Our goal here is not to perpetuate a party but a state and its attendant rights and privileges.”

Review the record. Consider your values. Then make a choice that fits you. I’m hoping, of course, your choice will include voting for me. If I am elected, I will represent you, the people of Bonneville County. Your concerns are my concern.

Miranda Marquit is a nationally recognized financial expert, speaker and author. She is the state committeewoman for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.