Representative Shirley Ringo is running for her third term in the Idaho house, District 5. We asked her about why she keeps running.

What inspired you to run for office? What inspired you to run again?

As a result of my work in the Moscow and Idaho Education Associations, I occasionally traveled to Boise to lobby in favor of issues important to educators. I was disappointed to find strong support for education lacking among many legislators. I also believed that progressive views were drastically underrepresented. I am running again because I believe we will prevail in defeating the Luna initiatives. I believe I have a depth of understanding on education issues that is not commonly found in the Idaho Legislature, and I hope to influence the debate about how we move ahead.

Tell us a bit about your teaching experience.

I have taught at every level except elementary. I taught junior high school for eight years in Seattle, twenty-five years at Moscow High School, and more briefly at Edmonds Community College and Washington State University. My discipline is mathematics. I think teaching is an art–we nurture students to develop curiosity and a desire for more learning. The need to teach to a test inhibits the art of teaching.

In what ways does your teaching experience make you a better legislator?

Teaching involves taking an interest in the individual–understanding what motivates the person and understanding the issues that he/she faces. That requires listening and sensitivity. These skills are needed for an individual who represents a constituency in the legislature. I also have benefited from various political training sessions offered by the Idaho Education Association.

What legislative issues are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about providing for the needs of children, individuals, and families. Accessible, excellent education programs are important. People should be well nourished and have access to appropriate medical care. I am very concerned about the well-being of individuals with disabilities and their families. I am committed to freedom from discrimination, and promotion of peaceful resolution to conflict.

What do you do when you’re not campaigning or at the legislature?

I have three adult children and a granddaughter. My life centers around them. I enjoy reading, and listening to good music. Camping (tent camping is real camping) and hiking are great fun. Sitting by a mountain stream, reading, and listening to music is one of the best things to do.