1. What inspired you to run for elected office?
2. What unique qualifications would you bring to office that no one else could match?
3. What are the most important issues facing the community? Why?
4. How do you plan to address these issues?
5. If elected, what legacy would you hope to create? Why?
6. What do you most look forward to after you are elected?
7. What are your views on public education in Idaho and Bonner County? Do you think the state should provide more or less funding for public education?
8. What are your views on the proposed Newport silicon smelter?
9. What are your views on Proposition 1 to authorize betting on historic horse racing?
10. What are your views on Proposition 2 to expand Medicaid in Idaho?
11. Is there anything the county can do to ensure fairness in tax assessments?
12. Do you agree with the countyís handling of damaging boat wakes?
13. Do you agree with the county commissionís ongoing efforts to simplify land use codes and processes?
14. Do you support the countyís road-maintenance approach or would you like to see something different?
15. Whatís the harshest criticism you expect to face on the campaign trail and how would you respond to such criticism?
16. If you could only get one thing across to voters during your campaign, what would it be?
Name: Ellen Weissman
Office you are seeking: Idaho House of Representatives, District 1A
Education: B.S. special and elementary education, University of Maine, Farmington; M.Ed., community education and Educational Administration, University of Maine, Orono; M.Ed., curriculum development and integrating the arts in education, Lesley University.
Occupation: Executive Director of Sandpoint Area Seniors, Inc., (Sandpoint Senior and DayBreak centers), for the past 4 years.
Family: Single mother of two daughters
Website: Facebook at ellenweissmanforIdahoDistrict1A
1. I have thought about politics for a long time, but the timing never fit. After the 2016 election, I was motivated, but it was after the Florida shooting when I said ďenough is enough.Ē Iíve worked with kids most of my life and it was hard enough to see them killed, but when their experience was invalidated by adults, I was extremely upset. I decided to do something about it.
2. I have worked with humans of all ages. From pregnant women to elders of ď99 years young.Ē From pre-school to GED prep to adult education. I have great communication skills and am a good listener. I have studied conflict resolution and I look at all sides of an issue before making an opinion. I am curious about life and have a sense of humor to diffuse a tense situation.
3. Housing, jobs and funding for social services. Weíve had a large influx of people moving here in the past few years and there are not enough reasonably priced homes and/or rentals for everyone. Many are retirees and not looking for work; many jobs are not being filled because the wages are low. Some arrive without a safety net and are relying on social services to provide housing and food.
4. As executive director of Sandpoint Area Seniors, I already network with the Chamber of Commerce, the Bonner Community Housing Agency and the Selkirk Association of Realtors. We have been looking at these issues for some time and brainstorming possible solutions. Food band executive director Debbie Love and I work very closely together to help those in need.
5. I would hope to inspire young girls and women to run for office and be leaders in their chosen professions. Itís time for some new perspectives. The opportunities for winning an election in a state where the total population is less than two million are many. Iím also a mother and I think we need more mothers in politics.
6. Some sleep. Ha. Seriously, I look forward to working with the amazing women Iíve met who will be the next governor of Idaho, Paulette Jordan; next lieutenant governor, Kristin Collum; next secretary of state, Jill Humble; next superintendent of public instruction, Cindy Wilson; and next U.S. Congresswoman, Cristina McNeil. Also Stephen Howlett, District 1B representative. I also look forward to finding common ground with folks of differing viewpoints.
7. I support public education and will work to boost funding for education in any way possible. We must increase teacher pay and hire more teachers so that we can have smaller classrooms. We need to update curriculum and old buildings. We absolutely must have more school counselors to help troubled kids and deal with bullying.
8. I am opposed to the smelter. It will poison our air and water for many generations and provide little benefit to Bonner and Boundary county citizens. As a state legislator, I would call Gov. Inslee and demand a full scale environmental impact statement including a door-to-door survey of everyone in the Inland Northwest. Also an investigation into how this project came into being and who approved it.
9. From my understanding of it at the present time, Iím opposed to it.
10. I support the Medicaid expansion in Idaho. We are already paying taxes to the feds that are helping people in other states. Letís help our own Idahoans who are falling through the cracks. Many of these folks are working two or three jobs to make ends meet and might end up relying on the county indigent fund paying for hospital bills. Letís take preventative action.
11. Isnít it the county commissionersí job to ensure fairness in all parts of the county business?
12. We have a huge lake. Boaters need to be considerate of each other and of homeowners on the shore. As our population increases, everyone needs to understand water safety laws; educating the public is helpful if the boaters follow the rules. The county should increase fines and enforce a no-wake on the river policy. Thereís still plenty of room on the lake for the wake boats.
13. Generally speaking, anything that can be simplified is usually a good thing. I would like to learn more about this issue, since it is a question that affects Bonner County residents; however, I donít think it currently applies to the position Iím running for and I am unfamiliar with the codes at the present time.
14. Thereís always room for improvement, especially in the winter with snow removal.
15. That Iím anti-Second Amendment. I am not opposed to using guns safely for hunting and in self-defense. But I do think we have a serious problem with people who have mental health issues and access to guns. We need common-sense legislation for gun safety.
16. Go vote. Be involved. ďEvery vote countsĒ is not just a clichť. If you do not vote, you are also influencing history.