Primary Preview: Familiar Candidate But a New District


Steve Berch is one candidate that couldn’t be happier with the results of Idaho's recent redistricting process.

Berch is a 31-year resident of West Boise, and in that time, he has been in Legislative District 15, then District 14 and now back to 15. In the 2010 election, he ran in District 14, which included areas of Star and Meridian. He lost that one to Republican Rep. Reed DeMourdaunt, but now that his residence has landed in District 15, he said he feels at home in what he calls a “pure West Boise district.”

“In those 31 years, I have lived in three different places [all within the district]," said Berch. "But this time, the lines have moved, not me.”

In the late 1990s, Berch was a part of the West Valley Neighborhood Association, where he said he was one of the forces behind preventing Highway 55 being rerouted down Five Mile Road.

“[Within the district] there were at least 40 different bus stops,” said Berch. "The group didn’t feel it was right to increase traffic to the area, for the sake of their families and children."

Berch is the lone Democrat in the May 15 primary for House Seat 15B. Curtis Ellis and Mark Patterson will be running against each other in the Republican primary, and the winner will compete against Berch in November.

Ellis is a realtor who works for Silvercreek Realty Group in Boise. A native of Las Vegas, Ellis attended University of Nevada in Reno. His family moved to Coeur d’Alene 20 years ago, and to Boise eight years ago.

“The reason we picked West Boise is because it was close to everything," said Ellis. "Five minutes from Eagle, five minutes from Meridian. No matter which way you need to go, it’s just a great location.”

Ellis said education, managing taxation and commerce were his campaign's main platforms.

“I am for the changes that we are attempting to make in education, bringing education into the 21st century,” said Ellis. “At work, I am at 100 percent paperless, everything I do is online. I use an iPad, I have a laptop. All the communication is done electronically. We need to make sure the students are prepared for a 21st century economy. Blackboard and chalk just doesn’t cut it.”

Mark Patterson is self-employed, running a bicycle lube company called Rock N Roll Lubrication. He moved to West Boise eight years ago and loves the location.

“It’s the most convenient place to live in all of Boise,” Patterson said. “I knew when I wanted to buy a house, this is where I wanted to live.”

Patterson said limited government leads to greater job creation.

“What Idaho needs is a manufacturing base that brings money in from outside our borders. We need blue collar jobs in Idaho,” Patterson said. “My biggest fear is one day my daughter will marry a really cool guy and they will tell me they have to move away because there are no jobs in Idaho for them. So we need to change our taxing and regulatory process to help manufacturing companies move in here.”