Casiano mad and running for state senate

Friday, May 16, 2008

G. Rustyn Casiano is running on the Democratic ticket for state senator from District 22 "because I got mad," she said.

"This is supposed to be about fiscal responsibility," she said, but she's not seeing it from the Idaho Legislature.

"There's a lot of people on minimum wage with no health benefits, and they're seeing gas prices, power bills and their taxes going up.

"Last year, there was a projected shortfall of $120 million, and then (Gov. Butch) Otter wanted to give a corporate tax break of $120 million."

She "likes the idea" of a balanced budget. "If we don't have it, don't spend it."

And, she said, "things just aren't getting done" at the legislative level.

For example, she said, "ranchers, farmers and environmentalists spend the last five years work out an agreement (on water rights), and then the legislature just set it aside."

And she's concerned about the funding for education, which she thinks is often misdirected. "Look at all the spending they're doing on alternative programs, and they're still fighting over who is responsible for infrastructure.

"On a $2.25 billion budget, I'd like to know where the money went," she said, adding that she wants a complete review of public school funding and alternative programs, including "vouchers, charter schools, virtual schools, etc."

She also has problems with the legislative process itself. "I'd like to see some open meetings. I think the public should see what's going on before they pass the laws.

"It's all about access and taxes. I don't think people know what's going on."

Casiano also said she was concerned about the nuclear plant being proposed in the area, and felt that two of the main issues the legislature will face in the coming session will be taxes and utilities.

She believes in "honest," and "access for my constituents."

She is a strong proponent of a balanced budget and wants to see a review of the tax code.

She advocates revocation of the grocery tax, thereby making the grocery tax rebate unnecessary.

If elected she will push for a "review of infrastructure, maintenance, replacement, etc."

A resident of Mountain Home, she was born in South Carolina and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where she served as a medical corpsman.

She has worked at the Lutheran Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, at the Boise VA, and at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center, as will as the Idaho Correctional Facility.

She has been married to her husband, Fred (who also is retired USAF), for 45 years, and the couple has four children and 12 grandchildren.

She said in her spare time she "reads a lot" to study the issues.

She can be reached by e-mail at

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