COEUR d'ALENE - Cheryl Stransky says she "reached her tipping point" during the last legislative session.
A Democrat, Stransky is challenging Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, for his District 2 seat in the Idaho House because she says Barbieri has "strayed too far from the mainstream."
"North Idaho is sacred ground for me. This is where my two children were born and raised. This is where I had my career. This is my home," Stransky said.
A Dalton Gardens resident since 1985, Stransky said her openness to new information, organized thinking and the fact that she is "not controlled by a restrictive ideology," make her the best candidate.
Her main priorities, she said, are economics and education, and that the two are inextricably intertwined.
She said she is concerned about Idaho's low ranking among the states when it comes to per capita income, and the fact that Idaho ranks second-worst in the nation in per-student spending. Total spending for education in Idaho has fallen 10 percent over the last two years, she said.
"These facts are not a good endorsement for my opponent's policies. It is a well-known fact that the key to quality jobs is quality education. We cannot, and we must not, abandon this fact," Stransky said. "The future of Idaho's children and grandchildren depends on it."
Stransky recently retired from more than three decades working in education. She was a school counselor at Coeur d'Alene High School from 1980 to 2003 and ended her career at Woodland Middle School.
"Idaho has real problems that need real solutions. Our current representative has been spending his time proposing and supporting legislation that does not advance the interests of our hard-working citizens," Stransky said.
As an example, she points to a bill co-sponsored by Barbieri and passed into law earlier this year. The legislation reduced the top personal and corporate income tax, resulting in a $35 million tax break for the state's highest earners, roughly 17 percent of Idahoans.
"My opponent thinks this kind of tax policy helps job creators. But Idaho's real job creators are the customers who walk through the doors of our businesses with money to spend," Stransky said.
Another priority, Stransky said, is preservation of Idaho's natural resources while fostering sustainable, innovative economic development projects that create jobs.
"There are solutions to Idaho's serious economic issues, but they will not be found by proposing a gold standard or proposing a Nullification Amendment, which basically states that Idaho can pick and choose which federal laws to follow," she said.
Such issues are irrelevant and divisive, Stransky said, "We have better things to spend our money on."
Stransky said she believes in "restoring a spirit of compromise.""Solutions are found when Idahoans come forward and do what we have always done, work together to create a brighter future for all of us," she said.
Stransky encourages people to visit her website, cherylstransky.org/ or visit her campaign headquarters, in the Design Center, 9235 Orchard Ave., Hayden.