I am proud to have earned both my BA and my MA locally at Boise State University, reflecting local values. In tandem with that education, I’ve had the privilege of becoming deeply involved in numerous Idaho issues such as conservation, hunger, poverty and the fight for health care for low income Idahoans. I am uniquely qualified to better represent the hard-working citizens of my district and their interests.
I believe that Idaho can do better at fully funding education. Utilizing the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion program will benefit Idaho citizens by saving lives and money. I believe we must protect Idaho’s public lands from attempts to wrestle control from the federal government. However, my most important goal is return the power of government to Idaho’s people by providing regular opportunities to hear from constituents, something that many Idahoans feels is currently lacking.
Idaho does not adequately fund education. Refusing to fund education at appropriate levels means that our children, the future of Idaho, are being short-changed. This is reflected in the job market; it is currently estimated that 7,000 high paying STEM jobs a year go unfilled due to lack of qualified local applicants. The need for STEM education must be properly addressed. Idaho's future depends on the quality of its future citizens, now merely children in our care.
The consistent refusal of the Idaho legislature to address the health care gap is frustrating. Having worked to address this issue year after year for the 78,000 Idahoan’s in the Medicaid gap it is disappointing but no longer surprising. I am proud to have been a volunteer working closely with multiple organizations to correct this legislative oversight. If the legislature will not act, then the people must. I fully support Proposition 2 on the November ballot.
Bipartisan collaboration requires two things—an ability to listen and a willingness to compromise. The goal of a legislative body is to pass legislation that benefits the state and its citizens; becoming so firmly entrenched in beliefs that no compromise is possible serves no one. Collaboration requires active participation from two or more collaborators. This cannot happen in a state consistently dominated by one party. Balance and simple, decent respect must return to our statehouse.
The three largest concerns facing the legislature should be closing the healthcare gap, properly funding education, and recognizing that the tax cuts enacted last year will mean even less revenue to work with in the coming years. Once again, Idaho will have to make do with less. Doing more with less sounds good but in reality it is our children, our disabled and chronically ill, and our infrastructure that will suffer. Addressing this revenue shortage should be a top priority.
I have no stand on this particular issue, as my main focus is towards health care, poverty, and education.
Absolutely. Without adequate health care, people cannot work. When people cannot work, they can become a drain on society, not contributors to it. It is in our mutual best interest to provide health care to all Idahoans. The demand from citizens has not been met by our elected representatives for years. Citizens were forced to place the issue on the ballot by the very people who were elected to solve problems. If our legislature cannot do its job, they need to be replaced by those who will.
Take a good, hard look at the entire paradigm of prison rather than rehabilitation, and the laws behind it.
My parents taught me good values. I worked during school and college to help support myself and my family. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business, a Minor in Spanish and a Juris Doctorate Degree. I started as a Prosecutor for Canyon County. I served as a County Commissioner from 1999 to 2004. I am a small business owner and retired military. I have served as a Senator for 3 terms. My wife Jan and I have been married for 32 years. We have 5 children and 3 grandchildren.
My top priorities will continue to be Idaho’s economy, education and transportation. As the economy is successful people and businesses can thrive. Incentivizing good job growth has helped our economy. Government should generally seek to regulate and tax less. Keeping good teachers and funding an accountable education system provides people with the opportunity to ultimately achieve their goals and help themselves. We need to maintain and expand our transportation infrastructure.
Overfunding - Taxpayer funds used in the SNAP (food stamp) program can be used to purchase junk food. Those funds should be used to provide for the basics to feed a family. Changing this requires cooperation from the federal government. Underfunding - transportation and education. Maintaining and enhancing our roads is important for safety and our economy. We have made good progress on education funding and accountability but there is still more to do. I don't have any new spending plans.
The legislature should have given the opportunity to the voters to strengthen the rights of crime victims in Idaho’s constitution. The necessary resolution to put it on the ballot passed unanimously two years ago in the Senate. The House made progress this year but still fell short. I anticipate we will work on the language in the resolution and build more support so the people of Idaho can have an opportunity to vote on this important issue.
I do support and engage in bipartisan collaboration. In the Senate, legislators from both sides serve on joint committees and communicate on legislation. Republicans and Democrats disagree philosophically and on issues but there are also opportunities to find common ground and work together. The ability to work together is something that comes as you develop relationships of trust and professionalism. I have good relationships with my counterparts and have worked with them on legislation.
My three largest concerns are the same as my three priorities – A strong Idaho economy, Education and Transportation. See answer number 2.
Idaho’s Constitution is the foundation for what I do as a legislator. Article III Section 20 of our Constitution prohibits slot machines or any casino gambling device that imitates slot machines. I played the machines that were installed. They look and play like slot machines. The experts and proponents of the machines stated that they imitate slot machines. Using those same machines violates the Idaho Constitution. I remain willing to work with proponents on a constitutional solution.
I do not support expansion of the existing dysfunctional Medicaid system. It promotes utilization of costlier medical treatment without sufficient personal accountability. Obamacare continues to result in increased costs and taxes and it created the problem. I supported the Senate's action requesting a waiver to create an Idaho solution to cover those in the gap. If my constituents vote to expand Medicaid then I will support that directive because I am elected to represent them.
We incarcerate the most serious offenders and are working to improve the system. We have down classified certain criminal offenses. Supporting youth programs to help give kids good direction is important. Recidivism is a problem. We have funded more positions and training for Parole Officers so they can help those they supervise to avoid re-offending. We also need to provide more work and training training opportunities for offenders to help them obtain employment after release.