Steve Elgar

Steve Elgar
Legislative District 1 - Representative, Position A

Age: 55

City of residence: Sandpoint

Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: Seven years in Bonner County, moved to Idaho about 35 years ago

Marital status/family: Married to Britt; 4 children, Ulysses, Suni, Sean and Tai; 1 grandson, Park

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Recent or pertinent employment history

Public offices held:

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Nonprofit groups or service organizations to which candidate belongs

Why are you running for public office?

I have been a community volunteer and leader for all my life. I love to help, and I enjoy working for people, especially when I can help solve difficult problems.

I have knocked on more than 6,000 doors between March and September 2006, and more than 10,000 doors since 2004. The people of north Idaho are strong, smart, and tenacious. I enjoy listening to their views, and I strongly want to work for them and bring their values to the Legislature in Boise. After all those doors, I know what north Idahoans want, and I will be able to represent them well. Besides having healthy kids and a happy wife, nothing would please me more than to be the strong voice all of us in north Idaho want and deserve.

If you are elected, how much time will you spend each week in the office?

As much as it takes. Probably, I'll spend too much time as a legislator (I have a job, too!), but I love doing this. I have gone door-to-door almost every day since the beginning of March, and have enjoyed every minute. So, I imagine I will continue to put constituents first (well, after my family), and if that takes 40 or 60 hours per week, that's what I'll give.

Describe the top three to five issues you believe are most important, why you consider them most important, and your position on these issues.

Based on over 6,000 doors (not everyone is home) in 2006, I'll describe the issues that people say are the most important. As their representative, my job is to fight for the issues the people think are important.

  1. Property taxes: We need real tax relief. I believe the best solution is to freeze values at the purchase price (small increases for inflation are ok). I am not pleased that the incumbent, lame duck legislature was pushed by a temporary governor and special interests to raise our sales taxes by 20% so that out-of-state vacation-home owners and big businesses in Boise can get a tax break. Our taxes are high enough, and I do not want to vote to raise them.
  2. Health care: More than half the working families in Bonner and Boundary counties do not have health care. I am on a local task force investigating solutions that work. Specifically, I will work to help businesses (small and large) provide affordable health care to their employees so that all working people in north Idaho can go to the doctor, not wait until it is an emergency. Seniors need more affordable health care (as well as other services), too.
  3. Education: People in north Idaho want their kids to continue to obtain the best education possible, and to have decent, uncrowded schools. Schools must be held accountable to those who pay the bills, but the State must also do its share and provide for good schools.
  4. Wages: Although some say the economy is booming in north Idaho, many jobs do not pay a decent wage. The minimum wage should be raised. Efforts should be focused on rural economic development so that small and large businesses in north Idaho are treated as well as those in Boise, and so that north Idahoans can earn a decent living.
  5. Access to our lands: Our access to water and lands is decreasing (gated roads, private beaches, restrictive rules), and worse, our lands are under threat of being sold to the highest bidder. I will fight vigorously to prevent out-of-state interests from harming our hunting, fishing, and recreational lands so they can make big profits and leave us with the mess to clean up. I will fight for keep easy access to our forests and waterways so our kids and our grandkids can enjoy them just as we have.

What differentiates you from other candidates? Why should people vote for you?

I work hard. I have listened to thousands of voters at their door steps and in their living rooms, and I know what north Idahoans want and what they value. I will work every minute of every day (except when I am with my family) to be the strong voice for our values in Boise. I've been a sheepherder, school-bus driver, ranch hand, farm worker, engineer, and water resources specialist. All four of my kids graduated from Idaho public schools. At their doors, people in north Idaho know I am one of them, and that I will represent them in the Legislature, and that I will not be bought by special interests and Boise lobbyists.

Unlike my opponent, I would not have raised the sales tax (although I would have fought for property tax relief for Idaho homeowners), I would not have allowed phone bills to rise without regulation, I would help our kids get loans so they can attend Idaho colleges (and not just voted to raise the costs), I would not give the biggest company in Idaho more than $10 million/year in property tax relief, I would not let felons become police officers, I'd fine the oil companies if they gouged us for gasoline prices, I'd give regular workers higher pay before I gave judges a big raise, I would not reduce unemployment benefits, I would not ease the rules for sewer system inspections, I'd fine drivers for refusing to take a breathalizer test, I'd help police officers obtain training, and I'd oppose letting out-of-state companies pollute our water with arsenic.

The incumbents are not getting the job done. Our taxes are increasing, yet our roads are poor, are schools are overcrowded, the minimum wage has not changed for years, housing is expensive, wages are low, too many people do not have any health care, and we're pouring chemicals into our drinking water without considering alternatives. What we have is not working. It is time for a change.