moscow.com presents:

Shirley Ringo

(candidate for 2004 Idaho State Representative, Position B)

1. Next summer, Idahoís 6% sales tax is scheduled to revert to 5% and the recent additional cigarette tax is scheduled to be eliminated. Do you support or would you rescind those scheduled tax roll-backs?
          
Revenue must be adequate to fund important programs. It can be greatly detrimental to Idaho's citizens, and costs in the future can result if programs such as education and healthcare are not given sufficient support.

In the summer of 2003, I attended meetings of a legislative committee charged with reviewing Idaho's sales tax. The purpose of the committee's deliberations was to examine exemptions and exceptions to the sales tax. Unfortunately, the committee made no recommendations.

We must continue the work begun by that committee. It is possible to eliminate some of those exemptions and exceptions, and get adequate revenue with a lower sales tax rate.

At the present time, I believe it would be detrimental to revert to the 5% rate and eliminate the additional cigarette tax. Programs would suffer irreparable harm, and we would pay in the long run. I have heard from many individuals in this district, and around the state, who favor a delay in the scheduled rollbacks.

        
2. The Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction has charged that the State Board of Education has recently expanded into areas of responsibility rightfully belonging to the Superintendentís office. Do you agree? If so, what will you do about it?
          
Yes, I do agree. Partisan politics has become the focus of the State Board of Education, as the majority of the members are determined to carry out the agenda of the Republican candidate for State Superintendent who was defeated by Marilyn Howard in 2002. Idaho is faced with important policy decisions as we deal with federal mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act, and as we implement programs associated with the Idaho Standard Achievement Test.

Dr. Marilyn Howard, the candidate selected by the people, has understanding resulting from years of training and experience. The effectiveness of her office has been diminished by partisan politics.

I proposed legislation in 2004 to require bipartisan membership of the State Board of Education. Education is fundamentally important, and decisions should not be made without thoughtful, thorough discussions. Current state code indicates that selection of state board members should be made without regard to party affiliation. That is clearly being ignored, as all members now belong to the same political party. My bill would have required three members of one party and four of the other, or three of each with one independent or other party. I will continue to pursue this legislation.

        
3. Do you think it is possible to increase state funding for the University of Idaho? Do you support an increase in state funding for the University of Idaho? If so, what specific measures will you support to fund that increase?
          
I most definitely support an increase in state funding for the University of Idaho. It will be difficult, but not impossible. I believe the support of the Governor is absolutely essential.

Many members of the finance committee recognize a need for revenue, but don' t seem willing at this time to rescind the scheduled tax rollbacks. Short term, it is difficult to make up the revenue that will be lost through the rollbacks. I will argue to delay them while a study of our taxation system and adequacy of revenue may be undertaken. For those legislators who are not inclined to support money for education, I will discuss reasons why a delay in the rollbacks may be in their best interests. I will continue to work to build a coalition of legislators who recognize the importance of higher education as the engine that drives our economy.

It is very important that citizens involve themselves in an effort to communicate the importance of this issue to the Governor and other state leaders.

        
4. Would you support a state constitutional amendment to make same-gender marriages illegal?
          
I feel strongly that there should be no discrimination based upon sexual orientation, and this includes rights associated with marriage. I am intrigued with the concept of legal civil unions for all couples regardless of sexual orientation. This could be followed by a church ceremony where desired.

I might add that it is extremely unlikely that the Idaho legislature would act favorably upon this issue.

        
5. How do you plan to use email, websites, or any other communication tools to inform district residents about state programs or to gather input from those residents?
          
Your state representatives should be readily accessible. I have a web page, which will provide information and afford the opportunity to contact me. I will post important information on Vision 2020. I will use letters to the editor, letters to constituents, and publish contact information in the local newspapers.

        
6. Please include biographical information about yourself, email, phone, or website contact information, and any other message you want to share with Moscow voters.
          
Shirley Ringo
ringoshirl@moscow.com (home)
sringo@house.state.id.us      (Statehouse)
shirleyringo.com (web page)
208-883-1005  (home phone)

Personal information:            
married, three children, two grandchildren
B.A. and M.A.T in Mathematics, W.S.U.
Mathematics teacher, 1962 - 2000

Instructor, Math for Elementary
Teachers, U of I, 2004

Leadership Experience:            
Idaho Legislature, 1999-2000; 2003-2004
Idaho Education Association, Region II President and State Membership Chair
Moscow Education Association, President and Negotiator
Delegate to state and National Democrat Conventions


League of Women Voters Program Committee
AARP local board

Honors:            
Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics
Friend of Education, Idaho Education Association
Flemming Fellowship  (one of 30 state legislators chosen in 2004
to explore effective leadership techniques)

Endorsements:             
Idaho Education Association
Idaho Firefighters
Carpenters' Union
Idaho AFL-CIO

        
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