Jim Woodward, 50
• Profession: Small Business Owner / Excavation and Marine Construction
• Party affiliation: Republican
• Educational background: BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Idaho
• How many years as a Bonner County resident: 26 years in Bonner County / 11 years in Boundary County
• Marital status: Married…happily!
• Family: Two children and lots of cousins, aunts, and uncles here in the area
• Hobbies: Skiing, motorcycles in the mountains, and enjoying Lake Pend Oreille
• Website: jimwoodwardforsenate.org
- I will continue to focus on the business of state government. To me, that means tending to the tasks which are the appropriate role of state government. Our property tax system needs change to help the homeowner. We must continue to improve our transportation system to accommodate the extra people in Idaho. I would like to keep shifting K12 education funding from the local property taxes to the state budget. With four years in the Senate, I have the knowledge and relationships to push these changes forward.
- Growth is the largest issue which forces housing prices up resulting in unaffordability for new buyers and high residential property taxes for current owners. Growth is also congesting our roadways and inflating the price of goods and services. 50,000 people are moving to Idaho every year right now. We can figure out how to manage that growth or we can watch our quality of life diminish.
- From the state government perspective, education is key to providing opportunities for young folks to learn and develop skills so that they can earn a competitive wage in the modern workplace. I will continue to support our public school system and other education programs so that our younger Idahoans can remain Idahoans.
The low-hanging fruit in property tax policy is to average residential assessed value over five years or more. Averaging takes the highs and lows out, providing a more stable assessed value and therefore a more stable property tax. I am advocating for this change to our residential assessment method.
- Growth should pay for growth. Current residents pay to maintain and improve the infrastructure systems they are utilizing but shouldn’t have to pay to build a system for someone else. I believe impact fees for new development are appropriate when administered properly by local government. Decisions made closest to home are the best decisions.
- Idaho is in a great position as the least regulated state in the nation with a balanced budget and a part-time citizen legislature. The fact that we balance our budget every year and that legislators who write laws for three months of the year then live and work under those laws for the remaining nine months is key to our success in Idaho. Idaho is in a stable financial position with sufficient rainy-day funds to weather poorer economic times. Our legislature is a representative cross-section of our Idaho population. However, I would like us to focus more on policy and the needs of Idaho residents versus politics.
- The most critical issue in my race seems to be the amount of false information provided that does not reflect my voting record or my beliefs. Actions speak louder than words. When people take the time to dig in and see how I conduct myself and how I have voted, I believe they will come away pleased.
- The successes of the past four years, and in particular this past year. We, the people of Idaho, are making record investments in transportation, education, and infrastructure including broadband and sewer and water systems. At the same time, we cut the income tax rate going forward and provided a tax rebate this year. We also put more money in our rainy-day funds, getting us back to our pre-2008 status. The approach we took this year is the Idaho way… conservative, balanced, and mindful of the taxpayers’ dollars.
- There is criticism from those who haven’t met me and there is a question mark for some who have been around me when they hear the claims being made about my actions during the last four years in Boise. I will not shy away from a conversation to explain the details of a piece of legislation that I’ve voted on. Details matter. We oftentimes have multiple versions of bills, all intending to do the same thing. If I vote against one, knowing a better version is coming, that does not mean I oppose the idea. It means I want the best possible policy in Idaho state law and I’m willing to take the time to get it right.
- Will you represent the entire community, whether you share viewpoints or not? My answer is yes.
- I have a lifetime of experiences that provide the perspective to represent Bonner and Boundary counties. As a small-business owner, I get what it takes to earn a living here and how to provide service to a variety of people. My time in the Navy taught me governmental systems and let me experience the world. An engineering degree from the University of Idaho is still valuable for the problem-solving mindset and the technical knowledge. I have lived in Idaho the majority of my life. My great-grandfather arrived in Elk River, Idaho to help build the mill there in 1908. Idaho is a part of me and I am a part of Idaho. I care about our communities. That is why I am again offering to serve as state senator, taking our concerns and needs to the Capital.