Kathryn Larson launches House campaign in county

Kathryn Larson at Trifekta Tattoo
Kathryn Larson at Trifekta Tattoo

By Clarice McKenney

Stephen Howlett and Kathryn Larson
Stephen Howlett and Kathryn Larson

Sagle resident Kathryn Larson engaged with Boundary County residents in downtown Bonners Ferry in her bid for the Idaho House of Representatives on April 16. Larson, the Democratic candidate for Seat 1B, introduced herself to merchants and shoppers, asking what issues are most important to them.

In the local Trifekta Tattoo parlor on Kootenai Street, owner Henry Huff said he wanted to run a bar, “but I can’t get a liquor license because they’re filled up.”

Larson responded, “This is the second time I’ve heard that in the last two weeks.” Then she added, ” We aren’t free if we can’t open a business that we and the community want.”

She explained to Huff and others she met on Tuesday the “three lenses” she says she sees through when deciding which issues to support in the legislature.

“First, does it affect our quality of life locally? Second, does it impinge on or enhance our freedom – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Does it make the economy work better for all of us? We have a local ecosystem of family-run, small, and mid-sized businesses. We need to invigorate the economy for us and reward hard-working people, not the corporations and ultra wealthy.”

Local residents Mark Kitchen and Sam Skinner also were in Huff’s shop, and Skinner said his biggest concern is public schools. “Have you been to Valley View?” he asked her, explaining that his child is enrolled in the local elementary school, which badly needs renovation, and his mother and wife work there.

Larson’s handout lists funding and supporting public schools as a major goal. She told him that while the legislature is boasting about funding the schools for $1.5 billion over the next ten years, at the same time the tax cuts and other economic changes the legislature has made are “draining school funding faster than it’s filling up.” She said the losses to schools are even worse in rural communities like ours.

Huff and Skinner expressed anger and frustration at the lack of transparency of today’s politicians. Larson said that’s one of the reasons she is running for the legislature, to increase transparency in government. She told them that the Idaho Freedom Foundation has an ap on every Republican’s phone telling them how to vote. If they don’t vote with the IFF, they’re isolated and primaried by candidates who will do what the IFF demands.

Volunteering to help Larson Tuesday was local retired contractor Stephen Howlett, who previously ran for office himself. Howlett shared some of his experiences with her at Georgia Mae Plaza between conversations with passers by.