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PRESS ENDORSEMENTS: Voters, don't buy what ideologues are peddling

| May 2, 2021 1:00 AM

Thanks to extremists within the local Republican Party, candidates on the May 18 ballot are being vetted based on party loyalty rather than the ideals usually associated with nonpartisan elections: qualifications to serve and commitment to the community and the entity or agency they’re hoping to help guide.

With a hefty war chest, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is backing people based largely on political and social matters the candidates will never face as members of these boards.

Based on their endorsements, KCRCC emphasis is more on what the candidates believe than what they will do. Their endorsements in these races would all be newcomers to the boards, a clear indication that dramatic change is sought.

The Press is offering voters a different view, starting from the premise that both boards are run superbly and their courses should continue unabated.

We support individuals with educational and professional backgrounds that predict effective leadership on the community hospital and library network boards. Nothing does that better than experience already serving on these boards.

We are wary of candidates' political agendas. For these positions, we don’t care about their views on Donald Trump, abortion or critical race theory. We place a premium on their ability to set good policies, hire strong leaders and manage challenging budgets.

These are the attributes The Press editorial board valued most in endorsing the following candidates.

KOOTENAI HOSPITAL DISTRICT BOARD

Two incumbents are asking for your vote to retain their positions, and we support them without reservation.

Dr. Terence Neff is the board’s chair, and Katie Brodie its secretary. Neff is a retired local physician; Brodie is a former Kootenai County Commissioner and special assistant to former Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Nobody is better qualified than these two to continue the mission of keeping our community hospital fiscally strong while delivering superior health care throughout the region. In setting policy, they work well with their chief administrator, Jon Ness — an asset any hospital would love to have.

The third and final open seat is sought by another physician with deep roots in the community, Dr. Robert McFarland. A Coeur d’Alene native, Dr. McFarland has taken care of thousands of local families for over four decades. He’s served Kootenai Health in many capacities, including chief of staff, chairman of Family Practice, and as a member of the founding committee of the Kootenai Care Network.

Your community hospital is a point of local pride and deserves support during these times of rapid and often uncomfortable community growth, particularly with so many retirees moving here. The Press believes these three are the best candidates to keep Kootenai Health’s positive momentum going.

COMMUNITY LIBRARY NETWORK BOARD

One of the candidates for library trustee wrote this on the KCRCC’s questionnaire: ”I am running for the Community Library Network Board of Trustees so that I can be proactive in keeping our wonderful community red.”

Another candidate wrote: “I'm running for the library board because I attended a presentation where Beverly stressed that we need better people in these positions than those who would contribute to the destruction of America and all she is supposed to stand for…”

KCRCC endorsed them both.

Yet incumbent Bob Fish, a lifetime, distinguished Republican who has earned high praise from his fellow library trustees on both sides of the political aisle, did not win the KCRCC’s endorsement because he would not agree to censor certain books.

The other candidate, incumbent Michele Veale, declined to play the KCRCC vetting game. Instead, she stands on her strong record as the board's vice-chair and treasurer.

The Press recommends voters continue the superb library network leadership provided Bob Fish and Michele Veale.

No matter which choices you make, please be sure to vote absentee, early or on May 18.

PRESS ENDORSES TRUSTEE CANDIDATES

For Kootenai Hospital District: Dr. Terence Neff, Katie Brodie and Dr. Robert McFarland

For Community Library Network: Bob Fish and Michele Veale