The Morning News â€” Bob Hudson
State senate candidates Cherie Clawson and Steve Bair listen to a question during a Bingham County Farm Bureau-sponsored forum on Wednesday.
DeLoy and Lois Larsen and Bob German had specific reasons for attending Wednesday's candidate forum at the Bingham County Senior Citizens Center.
"I came because I have no idea who to vote for," said Lois.
"I hope to become somewhat informed," DeLoy added.
German said, "I'm tired of people telling me they're conservative when they're not."
They listened to state senate candidates Steve Bair and Cherie Clawson as well as state representative candidates Bob Butler, Mike Duff, Neil Anderson, Jim Marriott, Barbara Clark, Dave Moore and Julie VanOrden.
"It helped me make decisions," German said after the candidates outlined their positions and answered some questions from the floor.
"It was definitely time well spent."
Bingham County Farm Bureau sponsored the forum, which included Bair, Clawson and Clark, none of whom will be on the primary ballots because they are unopposed in their respective parties. Clawson, a Democrat, and Bair, an incumbent Republican, will face off in the general election in November. Clark, also a Democrat, will face the winner of the Republican primary on May 15, in the November election.
Gary Judge, the president of the Farm Bureau, thanked those who came to the forum. "It's real important to have you folks here to find out what's going on in the state."
One of the main issues that all the candidates addressed was education. That's because nearly 65 percent of the state's budget each year goes to public and higher education.
Clawson, a teacher at Blackfoot High School, said not enough research has been done on the introduction of $60 million worth of laptop computers into the public school system.
"I'm worried about us wasting millions," she said.
"I think technology in the classroom is beneficial," Bair said. "It will work if teachers are properly trained." He added that the Idaho Legislature apportioned $4 million for teacher training this past session.
Clawson said she's running because "we do need more balance. Good public policy is hammered out on the anvil of debate."
VanOrden and Marriott responded to a question about whether charter schools are a good thing.
Clark, who moved to Bingham County from Maryland with her husband, said she's running because "we need to have both opinions in the legislature."
Those candidates and those from prosecuting attorney will have another chance to meet the public on May 10 when they addressed the Blackfoot Association of Realtors. That no-host luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. at the senior center. The cost is $5.50 per person.