In the past months, I have logged thousands of miles on my purple RV campaigning to become Lt. Governor. Traveling between Idaho’s borders, I’ve met thousands of Idahoans. I marveled at the varied circumstances and the beauty of Idaho’s diverse geography. It has been eye-opening to meet with people on their turf, and learn about their lives. I came to realize how important it is to connect with Idaho’s citizens.
It excites me to know that what matters most to me, matters to Idahoan’s everywhere. As I met with communities throughout the state, three issues kept coming up. These issues impact everyone and can have a great impact on the state if addressed correctly.
My Priorities for Idaho
If elected as Idaho’s next Lieutenant Governor, I would welcome the opportunity to work on the following issues:
1. Increase Effectiveness & Efficiencies in our State Departments & Agencies.
During my past 5 years as a legislator, I have had the opportunity to get to know many agency directors and department heads. I value these relationships. Through these relationships, we can work together to maximize our State’s resources.
By trimming excesses and empowering employees, we will improve services and save money. Departments such as the ITD have gained national recognition for their innovative efforts. I plan to model their work in other agencies and work with their directors and staffs to benefit Idaho. Working together we can create government efficiency in unprecedented ways.
2. Economic Development with Focus on Improved Education Pathways.
Idaho, like many other states, is suffering a skilled worker shortage. We need to foster creative ways to develop the needed workforce. I will make time to brainstorm with both our K-12 & higher education leaders on how to best meet these needs.
We will develop a plan to educate students about job opportunities. An important component of my plan is better management of our dual-credit programs and skills-based training opportunities. Creating stronger partnerships between education institutions will keep student and taxpayer costs down.
I will work with government, education, and business to create a clear strategy for individuals to get the needed skills to meet Idaho’s job demands, so that our children can find their future here, in our great State. Idaho is primed and ready for economic growth. It is time to take advantage of all of the assets of our state.
3. More thoughtful and professional approach to major issues facing our State.
Every year, we discuss the same issues during our legislative sessions. Yet, some of the most important topics do not get the attention and discussion that they deserve. This leads to solutions which never fully resolve the problem. By working on the process, we can improve our legislative outcomes. It is time for a more thoughtful approach to our legislative sessions.
As Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate, I will help focus the agenda and priorities of the legislative session. This focus will be on solid solutions which are ready to be debated, improved and passed.
More focused and productive time will be devoted to:
a. Healthcare. As a state leader, I feel obligated to find and develop solutions to healthcare. We need to reduce costs and create an environment relief for all healthcare costs.
b. Tax Policy. Idaho tax code is too complicated and includes too many exemptions. I will focus on and promote discussions to reduce the overall tax burden on Idahoans. I look to removing tax exemptions in favor of a flat, fair tax for everyone.
c. Infrastructure. Our economic future depends on a more proactive, conservative approach to maintaining Idaho’s roads & bridges. We cannot continue to ignore this problem or underfund our needs. We can’t continue to ignore maintenance. The cost of labor, materials and the size of the problem increases over time. We can save money in the long run by taking a more proactive approach to our maintenance.
d. Education. Idaho needs more legislative attention to ensure our education system is effectively funded. We can’t continue to improve until there is more local control with less regulation. We need to look for ways to cut costs through consolidations and efficiencies.
During the next few months, I look forward to spending more time talking and working together. I am confident that together we can share the ideas that will move Idaho toward a bright future.
Hope to see you all again soon!