May 2018 Treasure Valley Voters Guide

Welcome to our Voter Guide for the May primaries, presented by the Idaho Statesman and the League of Women Voters of Idaho. Compare candidates' views on the issues side by side and create your own ballot, which you can then print or email.

Important Dates:

Looking for more coverage? Visit for previews, voting information and other things to know before you vote.

...Please note: The guide will display candidates from multiple parties in one group. At the polls, you will be asked to choose a Republican, Democratic or nonpartisan ballot. Idaho's Republican primary is closed, while the Democratic primary is open to voters affiliated with any party. There are no primaries this year for the Constitution or Libertarian parties. Candidates' responses have not been edited.

Ada Commissioner District 3

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  • Candidate picture

    Dave Case

  • Candidate picture

    Kendra Kenyon

  • Tom Morgan

  • Candidate picture

    Sharon Ullman

Biographical Information

What education and experience do you have to prepare you to be a county commissioner?

What would you like to accomplish as a county commissioner?

What challenges does the Treasure Valley's current growth pose to your office? How will you solve those?

Both the federal and state governments have passed tax cuts in recent months. Amid the valley's growth, are you considering any sort of property tax relief for residents of your county?

Lawmakers this year passed new limitations on local building codes. What does this mean to your county going forward?

What is the most effective way to bolster public defense services in your county?

With an end to horse racing at the Idaho Expo, what is the best use of the large county complex in Garden City?

Age 56
Education Bachelor of Arts, Boise State University
Prior political experience Ada County Commissioner, Commissioner ACHD, Kuna School Board Trustee, Kuna Planning and Zoning Commissioner
Civic involvement Kuna Youth Football Coach and Board of Directors, Kuna Youth Boys and Girls Basketball Coach. Republican Party Precinct Committeeman, Republican Party Central Committee Treasurer.
Years living in Idaho 56
Family Wife-Lynette, son, daughter in law and granddaughter Zach, Brittany, and Kennedy, daughter and future son in law, Mikyla and Austin.
Facebook Dave a Case for Ada County Commissioner
I have a Bachelor Degree from Boise State University in Criminal Justice Administration. I am the current Ada County Commissioner District 3 and have been for the last 6 years. I have been in public service for my 30+ years as my career serving the citizens of Ada County, Idaho. I have developed great cooperation and collaboration amongst the elected officials who serve our County and State.
My goals are to continue to protect the Quality of Life that we all enjoy in Ada County. I will also continue to protect our private property rights from people who want to take those rights away from us.
I see growth as inevitable that needs to be managed responsibly. The main issues facing the County with growth is to be able to provide the services that are mandated by the Legislature and our State Constitution. Proper money management is essential to keep up with the demand for services.
Property tax relief is always on my mind. The function of County Government is mainly funded by two sources. Those sources are property taxes and fees for services. When the County is consistently mandated by the State Government to provide additional services without any financial means, it makes it extremely difficult to provide property tax relief. Essentially the State shifts the burden to the County. This isn't relief, it is a Tax Shift that places the burden on the Counties. The only way to provide tax relief is to cut services. I am always willing to listen to the public for suggestions on where those services should be cut to provide the property tax relief.
The County is required to follow the laws and Constitution. We will adhere to the direction and work with the individuals that are affected by these changes to continue to provide quality service.
Ada County has a superior program within our public defenders office. We have smart, educated, and quality Attorneys who serve our citizens very well. We will continue to provide continuing educate and all the tools needed to support our Public Defenders.
This question is somewhat misleading. Horse racing has not ended yet as there is currently a petition being circulated to place a referendum on the General Election Ballot dealing with the potential to continue Horse Racing. Given that, The Facilities at Expo Idaho has a lease that is under contract and until the Horse Group either decides to voluntarily give up the lease or until it expires there will be no change. Should that happen then the County will look at next steps. My opinion is the Fair Grounds are not moving and any changes should continue to be used for the public benefit.
Age 61
Education Ph.D., Leadership, Adult Education, University of ID. Masters, Psychological Counseling, Idaho State University. B.A., Communications, Boise State University. Certificate, International Peacebuilding, Intercollege of Cyprus.
Prior political experience President, Idaho Council of Governments serving ten counties in Southwest Idaho. Board members included commissioners, mayors, council members, legislators and private business leaders. Programs included: Area Agency on Aging, Economic Development District, Brownfields Environmental Program, EDA/USDA Small Business Loans, and Idaho Hunger Task Force. Lobbyist for the Idaho Conservation Officers.
Civic involvement Leadership Boise, Rotary and International Ambassadorial Scholar.
Years living in Idaho 48
Family My son, Shad is a high school teacher, basketball coach, and professional river guide. My daughter Cyprus is an university student, animal shelter volunteer, member of Kiwanis.
Facebook kenyon4ada
Twitter @kenyon4ada
Other social media Instagram- kenyon4ada
As president of the Idaho Council of Governments for ten counties, my role was to facilitate collaboration between the counties, cities and local communities, and provide supervision to the following agencies: Area Agency on Aging, Idaho Hunger Task Force, Economic Development District, Woody Biomass Project, EPA environmental cleanup fund, and two small business loan funds.

I bring over 20 years experience owning a management consulting firm that provided leadership training, organizational development, continuous quality improvement and change management processes for government agencies, universities, healthcare organizations and business. I have worked with top CEO’s and executives helping them to create cultures of excellence. I would bring those same CEO skills to the position of commissioner.

My formal education has prepared me to understand large complex organizational structures, and to provide the training and motivation needed to create a high performing culture. Ada County needs effective and experienced leadership in order to accomplish this.
1. The most important task would be to improve communication between the county, and the cities and local communities. The current relationships are strained. I would facilitate open dialogue and improve collaboration to create efficient and effective processes. 2. Developing a comprehensive plan that will ensure smart growth, affordable housing, viable public transportation options, and maintain our clean and safe environment is paramount. Our current comprehensive plan does not take into account the tremendous growth we are experiencing, and does not incorporate the various city plans. 3. I would foster a favorable environment for business by creating incentives for new and existing companies. I would support businesses that are environmentally sound, sustainable and that incorporate practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 4. As your commissioner I promise to be open and transparent, to always encourage the most effective use of resources, and discourage overspending by using zero based budgeting. My goal is to save taxpayers money while continuously improving services.
Manage Growth Effectively: A survey administered by BSU showed 55% of residents say the area is growing too fast. As a result, affordable homes are more difficult to find and transportation is already challenging. As commissioner, I would facilitate developing a comprehensive and inclusive plan incorporating smart growth principles with input from the cities and the rural communities.

Improve Transportation: Residents want local government to spend tax dollars on improving transportation. An analysis of public transportation services compared to current and future needs would provide a viable footprint and would include looking into rail service from Canyon to Ada County, and adjusting bus schedules and routes.

Promote Community Health: We are faced with an opioid crisis and high rates of homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty. I would work closely with community leaders and healthcare professionals to create a long-term plan to improve rehabilitation services.

Protect Our Environment: Our Boise River is under attack from a mining company repeatedly dumping arsenic into it. As your commissioner, I would stop this assault, and protect our open spaces and public lands.
Ada County residents deserve leadership that will commit to zero-based budgeting in order to keep taxes at the lowest possible rates while still providing excellent services. Analyzing needs and costs at the end of every fiscal year so that all expenses are justified would be a priority. I would examine all aspects of the equation, and provide an assessment of current and future service needs and anticipated growth rates. After careful analysis of various tax relief models and their financial implications, I would then make recommendations for tax relief.
I believe the House committee that passed this legislation forbidding counties from adopting more stringent or up-to-date residential building codes has placed the residents of Ada County in potentially dangerous situations. We all remember what the winter of 2017 brought in terms of unprecedented snow and extreme weather conditions. Rooftops caved and homes were damaged. Local government knows what is best for their local communities. The Association of Idaho Counties has a strong voice at the Statehouse that could be used to challenge this legislation next session. The current commissioners voted to opt out of being a member of this strong county collaborative much to the dismay of many county government officials and local residents. I would rejoin Ada County to the association and work with them to reverse this decision. My experience working with the Association will help expedite this process.
The most effective way to bolster public defense services is by addressing the root causes of violent crimes like domestic violence, elder and child abuse, and sexual assault. My experience working in mental health facilities, serving on the Ada County crisis management team and managing adult protective services for the council of governments has afforded me insight and skills necessary in solving the crisis we face. Unlike Commissioner Case who threatened to revoke funding for the Allumbaugh House, I would increase support for this crisis center as well as FACES of Hope. My philosophy is we would need fewer defense services if we provided better preventative services.

Our public defenders are overloaded and mental health issues are most likely represented in many of the cases. We need to provide ongoing training, support, and state of the art technology to provide proper indigent defense. I would work hard to secure additional state funding from the Idaho Public Defense Commission, an oversight board seeking to reform the state’s public-defense system.
The 240-acre parcel referred to as the fairgrounds is Ada County’s most underutilized asset, and is mostly a blighted area that is in desperate need of revitalization. There are many parties that need to be involved in creating a vision for the property including Mayor Evans and city council members who have done a remarkable job in supporting smart development in Garden City. This property has tremendous potential. If a plan could create more usable space for public use, I believe a state of the art fairgrounds can be built at very little cost to the county as part of a larger private mixed-use development of retail, entertainment, restaurant, lodging, office and residential development. The development could update the entire current fairgrounds facilities and maintain the existing use including horse racing.

The project would take creativity, collaboration, and hard work, but would be well worth the effort. Everyone would benefit from the development of the land. Financially, it is a smart move that would add significant revenues to the county by putting the property back on the tax rolls. This project could be a win-win for everyone.
Education Master's Of Public Administration
Prior political experience Secretary of State Corporations and Charities Support
Civic involvement Education - Teaching - Emergency Preparedness - Youth Sports Coaching - General Helpfulness - BSA Scouting -Volunteerism
Years living in Idaho most of my life
Family Wonderful, strong family values.
Tom Morgan has a Bachelor's in Business Economics and an Executive Master's in Public Administration.
If you elect me, Tom Morgan as New Commissioner, I recognize that today's public service challenges have rudimentary resolves that are built on strong values and good leadership.
Tom Morgan understands that growth has a natural proclivity to produce a strain on resources if not met with advance preparation. So the answer, where possible, is to plan according to the demands of growth and to be temperate and prudent with all resources for the public benefit. I'm happy and grateful to have this opportunity to serve.
Although changes and new laws make things different now and then, one fundamental aspect to remember is that public service needs to always remain service oriented. It should always be helpful and that is what my administration will be. Tom Morgan approves this message.
Open collaboration at all stages of public service, in both duties and projects, helps define public service as success.
Candidate response is not yet available.
Age 55
Education BA, University of California at Berkeley
Prior political experience Please see for more information. As a commissioner, from January 2001-03, I: • Triggered a $6 million property tax REBATE after I took office and learned the county had a $20 million surplus. • Saved taxpayers $7 million by questioning a costly proposal to purchase a new emergency radio system, leading to a new, lower cost option. • Saved Ada County property taxpayers $412,000 annually (more with inflation) when I learned the state was obligated to fund the pre-sentence investigator program. As a commissioner, from January 2009-13, I, in collaboration with my colleagues: • Left $81 million in property taxpayers’ pockets. • Saved $750,000 on the Republic Services trash hauling contract for ratepayers. • Transferred the poorly-managed Misdemeanor Probation program out of the hands of a private contractor and it is now under county control. • In a foreclosure sale, for a fraction of its market value, purchased the land linking the Ridge-to-Rivers and Avimor trail systems for the enjoyment of county residents. • Spearheaded a collaborative program using ISU students to provide health screenings for low-income residents, stressing personal responsibility and prevention.
Civic involvement For more than 20 years, I have worked on behalf of taxpayers on issues such as: public utilities, water and sewer rates, schools, emergency preparedness, public records access and open meetings, bringing the citizen perspective to these issues. I attended meetings of the Ada County Commission for many years before I was elected to serve on it and have testified at countless county budget hearings and legislative committee hearings, advocating for taxpayers’ interests. As a commissioner, I served as the Chair of the Ada County Hazard Mitigation Committee and received a Health Care Heroes Award as a “Health Care Innovator” from the Idaho Business Review. I served as a Board Member of the national Platelet Disorder Support Association, as the Chair of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Region 4 Infant and Toddler Committee, as the Chair of the Booth Home Advisory Council, and as a Director on the Board of Directors of the Idaho Newspaper Foundation. In the 1990’s, I served as a citizen representative on five school district committees. In 1998, I received an Idaho Press Club Award, and in 1999, received the Max Dalton Open Government Award from the Idaho Newspaper Foundation.
Years living in Idaho 24+
Family I am the proud mother of six children and two stepchildren. My husband, Joe Coones, is a Chemical Engineer who has been with the Micron family for more than 20 years.
Twitter @SharonUllmanID
Other social media
In addition to my bachelor’s degree and 20+ years of public advocacy, I demonstrated my ability to get the job done for Ada County’s taxpayers during my six years as an elected commissioner. Ada County was in excellent financial shape when I left office, despite our commitment to lower taxes. The county:

• Carried forward $25 million from FY 2013 into the following year’s budget, to continue to operate on a cash basis;

• Had over $30 million saved to pay off courthouse bonds;

• Bills were paid, and all our legal obligations were fulfilled.

While in my second term as a commissioner, we left $81 million in the pockets of taxpayers. In four years, the tax portion of the Ada County budget increased a total of $3.1 million – just 3.7 percent, the amount generated by new construction. In the five years since I have been off the Board, the tax portion of the Ada County budget has ballooned by a whopping $35.5 million – more than 41 percent!

If the same decision-maker is left in office, expect more costly decisions and skyrocketing taxes. For more details, please see:

For more info., see or call (208) 391-9316.
• Return the county to a zero-based budgeting system, in which every expense must be justified periodically, to stop wasteful spending and reduce property taxes

• Remove the influence of cronyism and political payoffs in Ada County government

• Prevent lawsuits such as the one that cost taxpayers $2.7 million when two current commissioners were found guilty of wrongfully firing a county whistleblower

• Defend the county against frivolous claims like the Fortistar lawsuit, that had no cause of action and no merit, rather than roll over and burden county taxpayers with a needless $2.6 million settlement

• Return integrity and openness to Ada County government

• Protect county employees, colleagues and peers around the state from bullying by commissioners

• Work to provide increased access to services for west Ada County residents for whom the county courthouse is not conveniently located

• Provide the public an insider’s view of government in Ada County through blogging, social media, radio interviews, and public appearances

• ALWAYS ask questions and know the facts before voting on issues that affect Ada County taxpayers
Although rapid growth certainly brings its challenges, our county would be worse off with a population exodus, as has happened here in the past when our young people had to leave to find jobs.

We all know the Treasure Valley is a great place to live. For better or for worse, word has gotten out and others are coming here to enjoy all that our community has to offer. Growth does bring challenges but cannot be stopped.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” a quote sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin, sums up this situation. It is necessary for the county to work closely with other local government entities, such as the Ada County Highway District, the cities, the school districts, and the affordable housing agencies, to ensure the adequacy of long-term planning and the provision of services with regularly updated information and forecasts.

It is also important to ensure compliance with the laws and plans already in place. If a project does not comply with the county’s comprehensive plan, but is approved anyway, what is the use of spending resources to create such a plan?!
Yes, property tax relief can easily be achieved by re-implementing zero-based budgeting, in which every expense must be justified periodically, to stop wasteful spending and reduce property taxes.

Inflation has only been a total of about seven percent the past five years, and does not explain the astronomical 41 percent property tax budget growth during that same timeframe. The total population growth in Ada County over the past five years, although rapid, has been less than 14 percent. There is an economy of scale in providing county services to a larger number of residents, so the budget need not increase as fast as the population.

County government in Idaho has a very narrowly defined set of responsibilities, and in Ada County does NOT include things like schools, roads and airports. The recent dramatic increase in property taxes was uncalled for and is unreasonable, particularly given that the courthouse is now paid off and the dispatch center is built. Even without these big expenditures, the Ada County budget is still grossly bloated.
The problem addressed by the legislature was real: two houses, across the street from each other, were subject to different building codes if they were in two different municipalities or if one was in the city and one in the unincorporated county. As far as the solution implemented, however, I would have certainly preferred local control.

Cities and counties generally serve a different purpose but implementing and enforcing building codes is one exception. The County Commission should be proactive by taking the lead in the effort to ensure all entities implement a building code standard that meets all needs throughout the state. Rejoining our colleagues in the Idaho Association of Counties would allow a state-wide effort, by the counties, to regain local control over building codes.
Ada County is not in the same boat as some of the smaller counties in providing public defender services. In our county, adequate resources and staff are in place.

Unlike the current commissioners did, I would not impetuously withdraw the county’s participation in the Capital Crimes Defense Fund before understanding the value this collaboration brings to Ada County. The Commission made this uninformed decision in their ongoing antagonistic approach toward the Idaho Association of Counties, the managers of the fund.

According to Spokesman Review reporter Betsy Z. Russell’s report on the situation, a few days after the commissioners withdrew from the fund, they learned Ada County would have to take the 167 cases being handled for the county by the State Appellate Public Defender. Over the past year, the county received nearly $700,000 worth of services due to participation in the fund. Although Ada County pays into this fund, the payments are much lower than the cost of the services we receive.

The commissioners did vote to undo the damage, but wouldn’t it be better to know the facts and ask the relevant questions before tumbling headlong into another impulsive costly decision?
It is premature to discuss this issue until the horsemen, who are leasing Les Bois Park, have cancelled their lease.

The horsemen are trying to get an initiative on the ballot to allow slot machines at Les Bois Park to subsidize live horse racing. Even if they are successful in this effort, casino gambling is still unconstitutional here.

It would take an amendment to the Idaho Constitution to change the legality of slot machines in Idaho. In the unlikely event that change ever occurs, why would horse racing be the only recipient of the resulting proceeds? What about vital infrastructure, like schools and roads?

I would like to see a renewed effort to move Lady Bird Park to the other side of the fairgrounds property to create a beneficial riverside community asset. The street side of the fairgrounds near Garden City’s town center, should be used for something complementary and beneficial to the interests of the citizens of Garden City.

If, and when, the Les Bois Park lease ends, the real discussion about future uses can begin, and all stakeholders including Expo Idaho neighbors, business owners, and Garden City representatives, should be invited to participate in that process.