TWIN FALLS — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paulette Jordan stopped by the Times-News office Wednesday to discuss her platform and campaign with the paper’s editorial board.
The conversation touched on issues including criminal justice reform, local option taxes and recent controversies within her own campaign.
Asked how Idaho can and should alleviate the crowding caused by its growing prison population, Jordan named support for mental health resources and the decriminalization of marijuana as two solutions.
“It’s going to come down really to supporting people in the local arenas,” Jordan said, citing as an example crisis centers around the state, such as the center in Twin Falls.
Jordan said she would like to see Idaho first decriminalize marijuana, then legalize medical cannabis. By decriminalizing marijuana, Jordan said, the state would cut down on the number of people entering the prison system.
Last month, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked the Utah Legislature to legalize medical marijuana. Jordan said she sees this development as encouraging and believes support from the church could increase the chances of conservative Idaho lawmakers supporting the decriminalization of cannabis and eventual legalization of medical cannabis.
Local option taxes
Jordan spoke at length about the importance of local control and the state respecting the authority of bodies such as county commissions and city councils.
She said she supports proposals to allow non-resort cities and counties to introduce local option sales taxes, which would let residents vote on whether to implement temporary taxes to fund special local projects.
There are only a handful of cities in Idaho that are currently able to utilize these kinds of taxes, but Sen. Lee Heider of Twin Falls said recently that he is prepared to carry a bill that would let non-resort cities and counties implement them.
Jordan also addressed some recent controversies around her campaign, saying she stood by her criticisms of an Idaho Statesman article last month about sudden staff resignations and the campaign’s ties to a super PAC.
“I’m not holding a grudge,” Jordan said, adding that she would like the paper to retract the article but did not expect a retraction. “The Statesman has great people, but they got this one wrong.”
Jordan said there were “multiple contradictions” within the article and maintained that the paper did not ask her campaign for its side of the story. (The Statesman has said in an editorial since the article’s publication that it made “extensive efforts” to speak to Jordan and her campaign staff and that the campaign helped verify the authenticity of emails cited in the article.)
When asked whether she disagreed with the basis of the article or certain facts within it, Jordan said: “Everything.”
“We’ve been nothing but transparent and straightforward about everything,” she said. “And yet I’m held to a higher standard.”