Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, will face Rep. Scott Syme, R-Caldwell, in the May 17 primaries, vying to represent District 9 in the Idaho Legislature. Due to recent redistricting, which occurs every 10 years following the U.S. census, this will be the first time the incumbents have faced each other.
The race will determine the outcome of the general election since there is no Democrat running. If reelected, Boyle would enter her eighth term and Syme his second term.
Both candidates have histories on the House Education Committee.
Rep. Scott Syme
After graduating from The College of Idaho with a business administration degree in 1976, Syme worked in the lumber industry before returning to Idaho and enlisting in the Army, where he served for 32 years. Syme deployed to Iraq twice and earned a Bronze Star Medal, an award given for heroic or meritorious service or achievement in a combat zone. In 2014, he retired from the Army as a colonel.
Since his retirement, Syme has continued running several businesses with his wife, including Syme Real Estate, based in downtown Caldwell, and their 43-acre farm.
After his election in 2016, Syme served in the House representing District 11. During his first term, he served on the House Education Committee, Commerce and Human Resources Committee and Transportation Defense Committee.
“My service on the Education Committee was very fulfilling as I learned so much about the education system,” Syme said. “I am a huge proponent of our education system and especially our universities and colleges.”
Syme also believes his experience on the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) is critical to his campaign.
“My last two terms I have served on JFAC, where I helped set the budgets for all the state agencies,” said Syme. “In order to be an effective legislator, I believe you need the experience serving on JFAC to understand the Idaho State budgeting process.”
If reelected, Syme says he would prioritize education funding, both for K-12 schools and higher education institutions.
“I believe we get a huge return on our investment from our K-12 teachers for what we are able to pay them,” said Syme. “In small towns, the school becomes the identity of the community, so they need to be funded properly and supported.”
Syme, an Idaho college graduate, added his concerns about the state’s colleges and universities.
“Not funding our universities and colleges properly will lead to higher tuition costs for our Idaho students … we have world class higher education in Idaho and without the proper funding, we will lose that status causing our Idaho students to go elsewhere.”
Rep. Judy Boyle
Prior to running for the House, Boyle worked as the natural resource director for former U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth and as a legislative lobbyist for the Idaho Farm Bureau. From 2001-2002, Boyle served as a long-term substitute in the Idaho Senate after being appointed to replace former Sen. Ric Branch.
In 2008, Boyle was elected to represent District 9 in the Idaho House, where she has remained for the past 14 years. In the last session, she was chairwoman of the House Agricultural Affairs Committee, and sat on the House Education and Resources and Conservation committees.
If reelected, Boyle says she would continue working on education issues, after successfully passing several bills this year.
“Last session I sponsored and passed a bill giving teachers the tools they need to identify and teach reading to students with dyslexia, which is about 20 percent of children,” Boyle said. “I also sponsored and passed a bill requiring school boards to review curriculum and to form curriculum review committees including at least 50 percent parents.”
Boyle is referring to HB650, which was signed by Gov. Brad Little on March 28. The bill gives parents a louder voice in dictating what schools do and do not teach as a response to allegations that school curricula include critical race theory and other topics deemed by some to be “indoctrination.” Syme also voted in favor of this bill.
Boyle added, “hopefully that [bill] will facilitate a growing cooperation between schools and parents. Parental rights and involvement and the numerous Idaho school choices are vital to provide students what they really need.”