Two political newcomers vie to represent Caldwell in the Idaho House. Here’s our pick | Opinion

Lucas Cayler did not respond to requests by the Idaho Statesman editorial board to sit down for an endorsement interview. That made our decision in the District 11B House race easy — but it likely would have been easy regardless.

Sarah Chaney is a well-qualified candidate with good credentials who would be a thoughtful contributor to the House. Although we likely will disagree with several of her decisions and votes, we expect that she would approach problems thoughtfully and with concern for the constituents in her district.

The Editorial Board endorses Chaney for this reason.

A lifelong Idahoan who has led a campaign focused on support for police, agriculture and education, Chaney said she was motivated to run because she sees that “Idaho has been steered a different direction.”

“I want to leave to my kids the Idaho that I grew up in,” she said.

We know less about Cayler, but on his campaign website he lists endorsements from far-right Sen. Genneda Zuiderveld and a variety of political action committees with similar ideology. Combine that with the lack of transparency he displayed by refusing to speak with our board and answer questions about his policy positions — the board generally will not endorse a candidate who won’t be interviewed — and it’s clear he would be a much worse choice for District 11, which encompasses Caldwell and surrounding areas.

Residential property taxes have risen sharply there, as they have in much of the state, the consequence of the Legislature’s decision to cap the homeowners exemption. Chaney said she was open to lifting that cap and to other measures to defray property tax increases.

Chaney said her top priorities would be ensuring continued low taxes and support for safe communities. Chaney, who is adamantly against abortion rights, also said a top priority would be to help expand support for adoption and other alternatives.

We disagree with Chaney on abortion rights, but we think it’s good that she recognizes that the state has some responsibility for taking care of the fallout of the laws it passes. In a similar vein, she expressed support for clarifying Idaho’s abortion ban to ensure that doctors feel sure they can provide necessary care when a woman’s life and health are endangered by her pregnancy.

Chaney also opposes all of the recent efforts to ban books in Idaho libraries, including the bill passed this year. She pointed to a district in Utah that used similar language to ban the Bible in elementary and middle schools for sexual content and violence. A wise man once reminded us that when you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

Chaney also expressed support for the Idaho Launch program championed by Gov. Brad Little, which will help Idaho students get a start toward in-demand careers.

She said she could support some forms of funding for private or religious schooling, but only if she can be assured there will be no harm to Idaho’s public schools. She rightly recognized that preserving the public school system is the Legislature’s primary (and constitutional) obligation.

Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion of the Idaho Statesman’s editorial board. Board members are opinion editor Scott McIntosh, opinion writer Bryan Clark, editor Chadd Cripe, newsroom editors Dana Oland and Jim Keyser and community member Mary Rohlfing.