1. Taxes – I pledge to vote ‘NO’ on any proposed tax increases or new taxes during my first term. I feel the people of Idaho pay enough in taxes, and it is time for our state government to “tighten its belt” just as we do at home. It is too easy to continue to ask the people to pay more. Yes, sometimes raising taxes is necessary in the public interest, but a tax increase time-out will bring a fresh perspective to the fiscal scene. Let’s give it a try.
2. Idaho lands – The lands within the borders of our great state belong to the people of Idaho and really to all the people of America. I feel it is time for Idaho to manage and control all the land within its borders. The federal government owns over 60% of the land in the State of Idaho. And it manages almost 75% of the forest land in our state. Why?
The argument can be made this situation exists because the federal government wants to ensure Idaho’s forest resources are wisely used and available to all Americans for generations to come. But could not this objective be better achieved with our forests under the local control and management of trained, local Idaho foresters? After all, who knows Idaho’s greatest natural resource better than those who live in Idaho? Also, local control of our forests would ensure management with due regard for the state’s specific forestry related economic needs and opportunities. I know Idaho could and would manage and preserve her forests while maximizing state forest jobs and providing the maximum positive economic benefit to our state. State control of our forests makes sense for Idaho and America. After all, who best knows how to manage our lands – Idahoans or bureaucrats in Washington?
3. Health care – The Affordable Care Act is not working. The goal of providing affordable health care to everyone in America was admirable in its intent, but like many federal programs of massive scale, it failed. The Affordable Care Act has resulted in a myriad of serious health care related problems for individuals and businesses. Our country cannot afford this legislation and deserves better. A large portion of the ACA burden has fallen on the states. With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring the federal government has no constitutional authority to force states to pay for its mandatory Medicaid coverage increase, Idaho has opted to not increase its coverage. This has resulted in a ‘Medicaid Gap’ in coverage possibly affecting up to an estimated 80,000 Idahoans. These people have annual household incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid coverage, while not earning enough to qualify for the subsidized state health insurance exchanges.
I feel it is important to realizing our goal in Idaho with respect to health care coverage, to have all Idahoans gainfully employed and able to afford premiums for good health care. Our goal should be to get people OFF of welfare rather than increasing the number taken into the various subsidized insurance programs. Idaho is correct in deciding not to pay to increase the Medicaid coverage. Our state simply cannot afford the increased financial burden on the taxpayers. If the federal bureaucrats feel expanding Medicaid is vital, let them come up with the funding. Idaho should of course do what it can to enable good health care for all its citizens, but there is a limit to what the state can financially do toward this end. Increasing taxes and bolstering the number of Idahoans on any type of welfare program will in the long run damage our economy and condition people to relying on the taxpayer and the state to provide for them. We all want a financially strong and healthy Idaho. The issue of health care is complex and serious, and will demand constant assessment, revision and creativity as we hopefully move toward the repeal or major modification of the Affordable Care Act. It is quite possible our nation will find health care is better left to the private sector marketplace with minimal structuring by the federal government.
4. Education – I am often asked what I, as the next District Five State Senator, am going to do to “Fix the schools.” My answer is this: I can’t fix the schools. As a legislator I can write law that, let’s face it, deals to a large degree with how much money the schools receive. And giving more money to the schools is not, repeat NOT, going to fix the education issues with which we are faced. The troubles facing us with respect to education are multi-faceted and complex. They range from a lack of discipline in our schools to parents who fail to motivate their children to appreciate the value of education. The problems include an illegal drug presence, crowded classrooms and a faulty Core Curriculum foisted on our state by the federal government.
The problems with our education system are societal in nature, and the solutions must be local, without federal mandates, and involve parents, students, teachers, school administrators, churches, grandparents, friends and lastly the state government. We must free ourselves from the undue influence and control of the U.S. Department of Education. That arm of the federal bureaucracy should not tell us how to educate In Idaho under the compliance threat of losing federal dollars supporting our state education system. It will not be easy or rapid, but we must wean ourselves off the federal education dollar trough if we are ever to have local grassroots management and control of our children’s education in Idaho.
5. Second amendment – Every American citizen has the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. We all have the right to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. The existence of the 2nd amendment gives every man and woman the means to defend his or her life against hostile threat. The 2nd amendment supports and bolsters our God-given right to life and liberty. The citizens of Idaho are now free to fully exercise their 2nd amendment rights without the unfair need to purchase a permit. It is about time. As a life member of the National Rifle Association, I stand in full support of our 2nd amendment rights. Our Founding Fathers knew an armed citizenry would remain a free citizenry. I will oppose any attempt to erode, limit, restrain, diminish or ignore the 2nd amendment by any governmental agency or body.
6. Law enforcement – As a veteran law enforcement officer of 11 years service, I am pleased and honored by the continuing tremendous community support for our law enforcement professionals in Idaho. America is the greatest country on earth, because we have the greatest people from all walks of life. We work together, we play together and we all respect each other as human beings. Our nation does not have an endemic racism problem. Racism in America is episodic and not systemic! It is time we all stand up for our great nation and each other as United Americans and give credit where it is due. Our people are united in every way, especially by our love of freedom and equality for all. I say we have all had enough of the few who promulgate the untruth America is a racist country with racist, unprincipled police officers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Those who commit murder and profess anger at systemic racism as justification for their acts of violence directed at innocent Americans are nothing but garden variety criminals. And oh yes, they are cowards as well. Our people know the truth, and the feeble attempts of these criminals to inflict violence and tear the fabric of our society will fail, because this is America! We are strong. We will not fall. God bless us all.
7. Immigration – Legal immigration is the life-blood of America. Most of us would not be in our great country if not for legal immigration. However, unchecked illegal immigration is a threat to the very fabric of our society. Without knowledge of and control over those entering our nation, we expose ourselves to the threats of crime, disease and terrorism. Recent tragic events ranging from murder and rape to full blown terrorist attacks prove the truth of my words. The State of Idaho must resist any attempt by the federal government to import undocumented aliens/refugees onto our soil. Idaho is a sovereign state. We must guard the health, safety and general well-being of our people from any external threat. It is the duty of the state legislature to enact legislation opposing any influx of people whose presence is undocumented and in any way threatens the common good. We must have malice for none, understanding and compassion for all, but a firm legal resolve to protect our home from potential terrible threats. Idaho must hold firm and flex its State Rights.