Who am I?

I grew up in a small mountain town in Northern California, not unlike many small towns in Idaho. After completion of high school, I enrolled at UC Davis majoring in physiology. Financially it was very difficult, as I put myself through school by working and receiving financial aid. During my summers while attending UC Davis, I worked in Glacier National Park in Montana and this is where I began to really appreciate the culture and lifestyle of the Northwest. Upon the completion of my studies at UC Davis, I proceeded directly into a doctoral program in pharmacology at the University of Washington in Seattle. After receiving my doctorate, I lived in Paris, France for two plus years doing medical research at a hospital. This was an important time in my life in many ways, in particular being able to experience a different culture and to see the USA from the outside looking in. Education is highly revered in France, and it is very difficult to gain acceptance into the University systems. However, once you are accepted, students essentially receive a full ride and do not pay tuition. How extraordinary it must be to graduate from college without being in significant debt as many students in the USA are today. Upon my return to the USA, I spent a year at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana doing research before moving to Orange County, CA to work in the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders on the campus of UC Irvine. It was here that I first began doing research in Alzheimer’s disease and have been doing so ever since. In 2000, I was lucky enough to be appointed a faculty position at Boise State University and over the 14 plus years I have been here, have seen the level of research increase exponentially. I am proud to have been a part of that growth and the transformation of BSU to a metropolitan research university of distinction. My wife, our two children and myself have lived in the North End of Boise since our arrival. We love the community, neighborhoods, and access to the foothills that this area provides.

I have been a public servant my entire career, as an educator, researcher, and advocate for Alzheimer's disease. Serving in public office is a privilege, not a right and I believe my experience has prepared me to fulfill the role as a legislator successfully. A sampling of this experience includes serving as a Boise School District Board Trustee, working with our current District 19 legislators, and having successfully passed a state-wide strategic plan for Alzheimer's disease through the legislature. In addition, I have continued to remain involved in my own community by serving on the North End Neighborhood Association, the leadership counsel for the Greater Idaho chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, steering committee member for Boise Neighbor-2-Neighbor Network, and steering committee member for the Idaho Alzheimer's Planning Group.

Why am I running?

Idaho has the lowest wages in the nation, and ranks 50th in per-capita income and wage increases since 2007. In addition, Idaho ranks 50th in per-pupil investment and 47th out of 50 in the percentage of high school graduates who attend college. I believe Idaho should be aiming higher and it's time to realize that a better education system is critical to fill higher-paying jobs. If elected, I will strive to make the necessary improvements in education that are needed to move our state forward.

My Goals

My top three policy goals if elected will be:

1) Education: Here are some additional concerning facts about education in Idaho:

Idaho ranks 50th out of 51 in per-pupil investment
Idaho ranks 47th out of 50 in the percentage of high school graduates who attend college
Idaho ranks 46th out of 51 in college retention rates
In 2012, only 34% of Idahoans ages 25-35 hold a degree or certificate
Idaho needs legislators who view education as an investment, not a cost

If I am elected to the House of Representatives, my first task will be implementing the 20 recommendations the education task force produced including:

Restoring funds that schools lost during the recession
Improving teacher salaries accompanied by greater accountability
Implementing wireless broadband in all Idaho schools

2) Environment
If elected I will support legislation that promotes investing in clean-energy solutions. Along these lines, specific priorities I would like to pursue if elected include the following:

Examining ways to increase the recycling of electronic waste
Invest in renewable energy including wind and solar
Protecting Idaho public lands

3) Equality for all
The Republican Party in Idaho has failed its citizens with regards to equal rights by promoting legislation on social issues that is often of a divisive or controversial nature. Examples of these "wedge" issues promoted by Idaho's GOP include the ultrasound bill that would have required a woman to have an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion. In the 2012 session, Republican senators in the Senate State Affairs Committee voted without comment against even printing a bill to outlaw discrimination in housing, jobs and education based on sexual orientation. In another example, the so called Luna Laws that were thankfully repealed, sought to further strip bargaining power from labor unions in Idaho. More recently, the Idaho legislature has brought forth legislation (HB427) that may effectively invalidate local city ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. These inequalities are not just a product of the Republican lawmakers, but extend to the Governor's office where women who work in Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s cabinet make substantially less than their male colleagues.

I believe in in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. I believe it's wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. I support marriage equality. Finally, I will support “Add the Words” legislation to add the words “sexual orientation or gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act to ban discrimination on that basis in housing and employment.

My DFA Values

I share the values that DFA espouses including community, security and liberty. As I mentioned previously, our current legislature typically passes wedge issues against women and other minority groups. I believe we should be treating all citizens equally regardless of their race, religion or sexual preference. I also believe we should be listening to our constituents when making laws, not to powerful lobby groups. A perfect example of this just happened in the Idaho legislature where a bill to allow concealed guns on our public universities breezed through our legislature and was recently signed into law by our Governor. This happened despite voracious protest from every university including the Presidents, staff, faculty and students. I currently serve on our Faculty Senate at Boise State University and we drafted a resolution opposing this bill and sent it to every member of the House and Senate State Affairs Committee. If elected, I will continue to fight for our communities and to treat everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect.

My Campaign is People Powered!

My campaign has to be driven by people because as a Democrat, we do not have PACs donating to our campaigns. To be elected, I go door to door in my district and speak to my constituents. Thus far, I have knocked on over 2,000 doors in my District and I am building a coalition of support for my campaign.

I also am heavily involved with Alzheimer's disease, having been involved in research for the past 15 years. Three years ago, I became involved in a grassroots organization called the Idaho Alzheimer's Planning Group whose goal was to make Alzheimer's disease a public policy priority in the state of Idaho. Through grassroots efforts, we worked hard for 3 years to educate our community and legislature about Alzheimer's disease. Our goal was to pass a state-wide strategic plan for Alzheimer's disease in Idaho. Through this grassroots effort, we were able to unanimously pass this plan through the Idaho legislature in the spring of 2013. We are now using that same grassroots philosophy to implement the recommendations that are found within the plan.
Finally, I was also involved in a grassroots effort to stop the development of Dynamis in my District. Dynamis was the ill-fated, controversial garbage incinerator that Ada County contracted to burn an average of 408 tons of garbage daily. Dynamis claimed that their process of waste incineration would result in zero emissions of harmful chemicals, but an independent analysis by Dr. Richard Llewellyn revealed potential emissions in dioxin and mercury. I was involved in helping generate the white paper of this report specifically with regards to the potential harmful effects of dioxin exposure to humans and wildlife. This white paper (click here to read more) was disseminated to the Mayors of Boise, Eagle, and Meridian, as well as to the press. I believe the efforts of STOP Dynamis were largely responsible for the negative public outcry that eventually led to termination of the contract between Dynamis and the Ada County Commission.

Voice support


About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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