Meet the Candidate: Jim Bratnober (Idaho)

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5 mins read

Candidate Name: Jim Bratnober

Photo provided by the candidate.

What office are you running for?
Idaho State Senate, District 15

With which party are you running for office?
Democratic Party

Election Date
Primary: March 10, 2020; General: November 3, 2020

Why are you running for office?
I’m running to build an Idaho that works for all of us. Because all hard-working Idahoans need to be able to earn a living wage, afford housing, and give their children a safe, world-class education. Because people shouldn’t live in fear of going bankrupt because of medical problems or losing their homes to rising taxes. We need to ensure safety and fair opportunities for women and minorities. No one should be discriminated against because of gender, race, faith, or who they love. And because Idaho’s public lands should remain ours, and not be sold off to the highest bidding special interest. I’m running so that all of us share fairly in Idaho’s success.

What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
Education. We are near the bottom or last in many categories. It prevents us from growing businesses that will pay higher wages, so we pay is way out of whack versus rising costs in our state. I would start with teacher pay, so we don’t keep losing our best to other states. Next, I would have the state shoulder its constitutionally mandated load to completely fund education and stop requiring school districts to pass bond initiatives to make up the difference. This practice is especially onerous for rural communities that don’t have the tax base to afford bonds. As a result, scholastic performance in those cities is even worse than metropolitan areas.

How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
It has to start at an individual level. We must stop viewing ourselves and others as members of competing tribes. We must view everyone as human beings deserving of equal rights and opportunities. Instead of shouting at each other, we need to start listening more. EVERYONE has a story, and we should be open to hearing it. At a state and national level, we need to elect leaders who promote a positive vision that we can all grasp, and have the courage and stamina to follow through. Those who play on fear and hate should not lead. Finally, we should focus on the issues that we can all agree need work: education, a living wage, a clean and healthy environment, and affordable healthcare.

Who is your hero?
My mother. She was widowed when I was 2 weeks old, and single-handedly raised my 5 older sisters and myself on a variety of jobs and help from Social Security. She raised 5 college graduates and all of us are productive members of society contributing to our strong economy.

What are your hobbies?
Music: bass, drums and composing; gardening, and woodworking

What is the most recent book you read?
“The Dude and the Zen Master”

Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?
2 adult children – a boy and a girl. We have a nonstop border collie and a cat who hides.

How can our readers get involved in your campaign?
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and my campaign webpage. We always need volunteers to help canvassing, doing social media, stuffing envelopes, hosting house parties, and the like. I’m astonished at the cost of campaigns, so we can always use financial contributions.

What question do you wish we’d asked, and what is your answer?
So how are you going to pay for it?
Idaho lets about $2.3 billion in sales tax exemptions go by. Many of these are right-minded, such as those for charitable organizations. But in Idaho, if you need to buy mining equipment, you pay no sales tax. Buy a loaf of bread and you pay 6%. Some of these exemptions made sense to attract key industries or companies, but they should have sunset clauses when they are not necessary. Our Legislature won’t tackle this difficult but critical task.

Candidate Social Media:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Post created from answers submitted by candidate to our Meet the Candidate survey.


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DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks, but are sustained solely on donations from grassroots supporters. Because our revenue isn’t click-driven, we don’t take in any direct revenue from the creative contributions of grassroots activists who post on the site. This sets us apart from other media sites. And we’re proud of that.

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