Richard Kohles is a Democratic candidate for Idaho House of Representatives Position 2B.
Occupation: Real Estate agent and Associate Broker Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty 31 years
Married to Jean Kohles: We celebrated 50 wonderful years together on December 18th 2015. We moved to North Idaho in June of 1973, and Idaho has been our home ever since.
I am currently the "Neighborhood Watch" coordinator for Loch haven Hills Homeowners Association. What I am learning from this experience is the safest neighborhoods are those where the people know each other and come together occasionally to share some time with community clean-up, garage sales, or a quiet party.
In the past I served for 6 years on the Post Falls School Board, for 8 years on the Hospice of North Idaho Board of Directors, one year on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees, 8 years on the Board of Transitional Employment Services for the Handicapped (TESH), 6 years on the Women's Center Board of Directors, one year as President of the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors, one year as President of the Multiple Listing Service, and one year on the local Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity.
Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Patrick's College in Menlo Park, California with 36 semester credit hours from St. Patrick's in Theology. In addition I have 90 graduate quarter hours from California State University in Hayward, California toward a Master's Degree in Counseling. In addition, I have taken numerous Real Estate Classes over the past 31 years.
Priorities: education; unity; non-violence; how we treat each other and the earth.
- 1. Unity: A major problem for our country is the division that exists in our country, politically, religiously, and economically. The deep chasms that have developed over the past 20 years in those institutions have divided us and made us weak as a state and a nation. Division prevents us from coming together to accomplish our critical goals. Like the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, we no longer speak the language of cooperation. We seem unable to bridge the gap of ideas and convictions, sometimes seeing those who disagree as the enemy. So one of my criteria for legislation will be how it unites us as a community and as a state. Together we can accomplish great things.
- 2. Non-violence: During my life our country has fought many wars with each war setting the stage for the next one. We continue as a country and a state to believe that violence solves problems. History demonstrates that such a view is simply not accurate. Whether it's on the road, at our job, in our family, dealing with crime, violence has to be an absolute last resort. Just look at our growing prison population to see some of our failure on this level.
- 3. How we treat each other and how that leads to how we treat the earth: We live in a culture that believes that "Time is money". So we speed up, always pushed to move faster. Consequently, we make mistakes; we eat too fast and too much: we have limited time for sharing with our neighbor, and we mistake accomplishment for happiness. Sadly also, we live like money is our primary value, and that belief leads many of us to become insensitive to the impact our actions have on others as well as the earth. As a country and a state, we have been careless with our water, our air and our land. Life will be unsustainable unless we change our attitude and behavior. Like every drug for sale in our economy, every action we take in life has "side effects". We have to wisely weigh the impact of what we are doing against those side effects. If we start with the attitude that life is a gift, we have a chance of changing our priorities. If we recognize that service creates happiness, we can begin to lose our anger and smile again.
- 4. Education: I hear a lot of talk about what we are leaving our children economically. We certainly want them to have some of the chances we have had throughout their lives. However, ignorance is the greatest longterm problem we face. Our children deserve a truly world class education. They have to be smarter, wiser, and more knowledgeable than we have been. The problems brewing in Idaho and our country for the forseeable future are far greater than the ones we have faced. Our children need to be prepared with knowledge as well as reasoning skills to deal with those problems effectively.
I will weigh any proposed legislation against these priorities and encourage my fellow legislators to do the same.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
– Preamble to the United States Constitution
We, the Idaho Democratic Party, believe in working together to build communities that serve the needs of all Idahoans. This platform serves as a statement of the values of the Idaho Democratic Party.
Idaho Democrats promise to uphold the protections granted to us by our state and national Constitutions. We firmly oppose any attempt to compromise those rights and liberties. Where those rights and liberties are not fully realized, we pledge to help everyone within our borders to attain them.
Government at all levels must be more responsive, accountable, and transparent for a civil society. We stand for respect, compassion, empathy, and liberty.
1. Idaho Democrats Demand Equality And Respect For All Idahoans. Diversity is essential to the well-being of a democratic society. The freedom to make personal decisions must be respected and remain private, including medical and reproductive decisions, religious beliefs, and political views. We respect Idaho’s tribal communities. We champion fairness. All people must be treated equally regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, national origin, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or age.
2. Idaho Democrats Support An Economy That Works For All Idahoans. We support job creation through Idaho’s traditional economic drivers, including sustainable agriculture, mining, timber, and manufacturing, while expanding industries such as technology, renewable energy, and tourism. We support effective public transportation, modern telecommunications, public infrastructure, and fair and affordable housing. We support fair banking, lending, and investment practices that enhance community growth and support Idaho businesses and individuals.
3. Idaho Democrats Prioritize Public Education. We stand behind the Idaho constitutional requirement for public education: “…it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform, and thorough system of public, free common schools.”
Public education must begin during early childhood and continue through higher education. We commit to providing high quality instruction for Idaho’s students by supporting our teachers and staff –including competitive compensation. Public school curricula should prepare our students for the 21st century world. Affordable post-secondary education, including two- and four-year colleges, vocational and technical schools, and universities, that provides a pathway for students to graduate debt-free, is essential to all Idahoans, regardless of age. Investment in public schools and libraries must be appropriate, stable, and uniform throughout the state, and support infrastructure needs.
4. Idaho Democrats Commit To Ensuring Accessible and Affordable Healthcare In Every Community. Affordable, accessible, high-quality health care, including integrative medicine, mental health care, and necessary social services, is essential. No one in Idaho should die from a preventable illness or go bankrupt due to medical and pharmaceutical expenses. Idaho Democrats support grassroots, state, and federal efforts to fund and expand access to healthcare for every Idahoan.
5. Idaho Democrats Defend Participatory Democracy. Idaho’s government, for, by and of the people, should reflect Idahoans and our values. Widespread voter and civic participation are essential components of a successful State. Idahoans deserve modern methods of voter registration, opportunities to cast their ballots, and ways to verify that their votes have been counted. One person, one vote is critical to the integrity of our elections. Those we elect must represent the people and be accountable and responsive to their constituents.
6. Idaho Democrats Demand Honest And Transparent Government. The activities of our government and our officials must be open to public view with participation by individuals. We require systems that inform Idahoans about the actions of our government officials and mandate systems that correct identified problems. Our voices will not be overshadowed by wealthy special interests and dark money.
7. Idaho Democrats Support Workers And Business People. We all contribute to our common prosperity and deserve a real chance to achieve the American Dream. We commit to equal pay for equal work. We defend the right of workers to organize, to bargain collectively, and to earn livable wages: the current minimum wage is not livable. “Right to Work” is wrong. We support Idaho businesses, large and small, as they are crucial to making our economy thrive. Corporations must contribute their fair share and operate responsibly.
8. Idaho Democrats Support Military Service. We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom. –Dwight D. Eisenhower.
We encourage diplomacy before sending the people of our Armed Forces into harm’s way. We support the defense of our national security and the defense of human rights around the world. We encourage, appreciate, and support all Idahoans serving in the military and their families. We honor our veterans and support their successful and healthy reintegration into society. We will meet our guarantees to them.
9. Idaho Democrats Believe In Being Good Stewards. A clean and healthful environment, including clean water and watersheds, clean air, and wild places, is essential to Idahoans. We commit to fact- and science-based measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change. We are deeply concerned about the potential dangers of fracking in Idaho. We support the humane treatment of animals. We recognize Idaho’s wildlife enthusiasts, including our heritage of fair chase hunting and fishing open to all Idahoans. We support protection of our wildlife and access to public lands. Our public lands must remain in public ownership and be managed to protect their ecological integrity. We honor the place of sustainable family-owned agriculture in Idaho’s history. We stand with the farmers, ranchers, and workers who build the land’s natural abundance, biodiversity, and resilience.