INTERVIEW: Representatives Zollinger, Ehardt talk midterm elections

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Representatives Barbara Ehardt and Bryan Zollinger

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho Representatives Bryan Zollinger and Barbara Ehardt are gearing up for the midterm elections on November 6, but it’s not just their races they’re watching.

Voters are deciding on two key issues in the elections: Medicaid expansion and the future of historic horse racing. Both voter initiatives have dominated much of the political cycle, even out fundraising some of Idaho’s top races.

But, both lawmakers say there is something to be worried about when it comes to Medicaid expansion, especially when it comes to the cost.

“As you look where it’s being pushed around the country, and if you look at Utah and Montana, they were more honest in their approach to this initiative because they have the same thing on the ballot, but they knew it was going to cost money,” Representative Barbara Ehardt told KID NewsRadio. “I’m telling you, as we speak with many of our constituents, I don’t think they truly understand the ramifications of the cost.”

Underestimating the cost could mean trouble for the people Medicaid primarily seeks to help, like the disabled and children. Ehardt said other state are currently experiencing the results of an unanticipated higher cost, and are having to cut services to those who really need it.

“Those people for whom Medicaid was originally set up, they’re hurting,” Ehardt said. “We have states like Ohio, Illinois, where they’re cutting back the services to the original people for whom it was intended. That is wrong.”

Regardless of their own personal feelings though, both Zollinger and Ehardt said they will respect the will of the people. Still, Zollinger acknowledged the initiative could pass because of more populated counties, leaving the will of more rural communities in the dust.

“We do have to pay some level of respect to the intent, the voters’ wishes,” Representative Bryan Zollinger told KID NewsRadio. “What scares me about voter initiatives, is it’s a pure democracy, and so the people in rural counties are other counties that might not want it, have no voice, and that’s not how our United States Constitution was set up and don’t believe that’s how our state constitution should be set up. That said, I think we give it proper deference and we respect the will of the voters and we have to start looking at if it passes.”

Prefer to watch? Check out the full video interview below.