Democratic Rep. Wendy Jacquet of Hailey is already working on her to-do list for when the Idaho Legislature meets next year. Jaquet has posted her legislative priorities on her website. She isn’t overlooking this November’s election—she’s one of two Democrats that in the Legislature that has no Republican challenger.
Jacquet’s priorities include finding more funding for public schools, supporting alternative energy production, and boosting funding for roads through increased fuel taxes and registration fees, as well as expanding local option taxing authority for highway districts. Jaquet backed Gov. Butch Otter's plan in 2009 to increase revenue for transportation.
“I have some pretty bad roads in my district,” Jaquet said. “I have a lot of dairies, and my highway districts really need some revenue.” She said the poor quality of Idaho’s roads became clear to her on a recent bike trip in east Idaho and Montana, where Idaho’s roads didn’t measure up.
Local option taxing, where localities put projects up to a vote of citizens, has been successful in the Sun Valley area, Jaquet said. “I do think that people should be able to vote on whether they’d like to put the money toward roads or public transportation.”
On alternative energy, Jaquet backs wind, solar, and biomass on her website, but has mixed feelings on nuclear power. She said there are still some unresolved issues with storing nuclear waste, but could back the next generation of nuclear power plants if they produce less waste.
Jaquet said her priorities for the next legislative session are similar to her goals for the completed 2010 session. Other goals include creating jobs, supporting government transparency, and lowering health care costs through savings, efficiencies, and prevention efforts. Jaquet said she would like to serve on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC), which sets the state budget, again next year. She used to be the House minority leader.
Current House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, is the only other Democrat running unopposed in November. More than 40 Republicans in the 105-member Legislature face no opposition in the general election.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.