The Journeys of Adam Graham
Friday, April 30, 2004
Travelled down North North Street and found a wide variety of appartment buildings. I understand why Dan Popkey wrote in 2002 that then-Rep. Hod Pomeroy (well into his 60s) didn't think the buildings were worth his while to campaign in. Going up and down three flights of stairs is a bit of strain. I had to have gone through six or seven buidlings and I felt like I had a real workout.
A lot of silence and merely taking the literature has occurred over the last few days. Meaningful conversations with voters are far more interesting and we have more of those as time goes by.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Earlier in the campaign, I forewent campaigning while having my car worked on. No such inaction today. Even though, I've been working the other side of the River recently, I campaigned near my own neighborhood (down 38th Street and Kay Street) while having my car fixed. With 26 days to go, I don't have time not to campaign.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Last night, I went to the Republican Central Committee meeting and met Tom LeClaire as well as the candidate for State Senate (Clinton Milner) and the candidates for State House District B (Graham Patterson and Jenna Kemp). I'll refrain from commenting on them at this time, but it was nice to meet them.
LeClaire is a nice gentleman. We do agree on most issues. When we went in to the Idaho Statesman to meet the editorial board the next morning, the phrase most oft-used by us was, "I agree with ---". The only real bone of disagreement between us is over taxes. He said that if in the legislature he would have supported the sales tax increase, while I would have opposed it. When pressed later in the interview by the Statesman, he said that he could foresee a budgetery circumstance where he would allow the sales tax increase to continue for another year. He said, "This wouldn't be my first option." The difference between the two of us is that if I'm elected, it would not be an option.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Today, I encountered the first people who would not accept my campaign literature due to political affiliation. One man walked away as soon as he heard I was a Republican and a woman closed her door in my face.
Most people are more open than this, because they realize that there's deep flaws in both parties. I hope that people whatever their party will seriously read my open letter with an open mind, because there's not a Democratic Sales Tax or a Republican Public Education system. We have serious problems and they are not just Republican or Democratic problems, but Idaho's problems. Voting for people who flip flop on the issues, betray their constituents, and make the people of the district look foolish should not be re-elected because they have a (D) by their name.
On Sunday, I also finally began to deal with non-voters. Of all the people who should be challenged, non-voters are near the top of the list.
Some are legitimately turned off by much of what goes in our government, many are simply apathetic or trying to avoid jury duty. Whatever the reason, it's worthwhile to challenge them and see if they will do the right thing, get up and vote.
When I knocked on his door, one barechested man told me he didn't vote. I asked him, "Do you care about your country?" He responded, "Yeah, but all the politicians are crooks." I said, "I'm not and handed him my literature." He said he'd look it over. As he closed the door, I said, "I'll see you at the polls on May 25th."
Too forward? Perhaps, but what do I have to lose?
Another lady in the trailer park on Coffey Street remarked what the use was in voting. She hadn't voted in 35 years. I didn't have an answer for her at the time. As I walked away, I realized that to win this primary and to take the battle for reform to the State House, I need 1600 people to see the use in voting for me.
Monday, April 26, 2004
I met one lady and we talked at length (probably about 20 minutes) about issues facing the state such as Education and Medicaid.
She said that she didn't think the big problem with Education was funding. I readily agreed. As a nation, America is second in the World in Educational spending. Our state's education budget is out of control, as is Medicaid, which combined make up 3/4 of the State's budget. Governor Kempthorne's worst mistake in the 2003 budget crisis was not just raising taxes. It was not taking serious action to find reforms that will reduce the State's education budget and increase the quality of education, nor has he done much to reform Medicaid.
The legislature needs to take actions to get long term reforms of education and medicaid. I pointed out that in other states, tax credits like those I proposed actually lowered the amount that public schools were burdened. We agreed that getting education reformed would not be easy with the IEA.
When talking about medicaid reform, I was honest that some solutions were relatively easy (like putting a co-pay on Prescription drugs), but that others would be harder. We need to get back to a society where neighbors take care of one another. I read a story on recent medicaid cuts and the Idaho legislature got rid of coverage for dental care. A lady testified before the committee and talked of how she couldn't afford to get replacement dentures and permenant damage was done to her jaw.
I thought about this and the questions that came to my mind weren't, "Where's the government?" It was, "Where's her family?" "Where's her church?" "Where's her community?"
She said that the prospect of rebuilding a society of neighbors would be harder than reforming education and she's right. Government can't make the world better, one of our founders said government is "at best a necessary evil and at worse, an intolerable one". Changes in education could be key.
Private education often emphasizes more values that will lead children to become more compassionate and caring. If we see less children being taught there's something wrong with, "Honor thy Father and Mother" and "Love thy Neighbor as thyself" than there's hope.
Still, the state of the current public education is discouraging. She told of a friend she'd talked to who came from California. Their friend read through the public school textbook (which I have yet to hear of in Idaho) and found a story of a squirrel who refused to gather nuts for Winter. When Winter came, he was in an awful mess and asked another creature what he should do. He was told to go over to Uncle So and So's tree and knock it and enough nuts would pour out to support through him the Winter. This tactic worked.
The parent promptly pulled his some from public school and put him in a private school. Apparently that parent didn't want his children living off of the nuts in Uncle Sam's tree for the rest of their lives.
After a good long talk, I left. While I appreciate every voter I meet, I most enjoy people who are truly up on the issues and am more than happy to hear their voices.
On Sunday, I thought I may have picked a bad neighborhood to campaign in when I went onto N. Coffey Street. As I drove up and down the street, I found no real homes and was going to go on to Mountain View Drive. On my way up the hill, I found a mobile home park that was off the beating path and more than 20 trailers.
Some political leaders might stay away from trailer parks, but I don't. It doesn't make sense on a political level, because people in trailer parks can vote just like anyone else. In addition, just because someone lives in a trailer park doesn't mean that they don't have something to say.
One man told me how he viewed everything as too regulated and too much red tape. I agreed with him. I read somewhere that half the price of goods we purchased were the result of regulations. There's a lot of voices just waiting to be heard.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
On Friday, while campaigning on Millstream Way, I met a lady and began to tell her about our state's fiscal conditition and how it was necessary to reform Medicaid (where costs are increasing at an alarming rate) as we've doubled the number of Medicaid recipients in the past decade.
She then asked what we were going to do for all those people who had no coverage at all. I pointed out several private sector solutions.
We need to Encourage the growth of urgent care centers. Urgent care places generally provide quality, convenient health care for most minor issues that people go to the doctors over such as back pain, bronchitis, etc. Back in Montana, urgent care providers were the main physicians I visited and costs were a lot less.
An example is that in October, I had severe back pain and visited the Minor Emergency Center in Boise. They charged me $60 for the visit and gave me two prescriptions that were a total of $30 in price (this was before my insurance kicked in at my job). All told the cost of the visit ran around $90.
My wife, earlier this year needed to go to the doctor for something simple that we would have gone to Urgent Care, if it would have counted to our deductible. The total cost of the doctor's visit was $140. The prescriptions they issued had non-Insurance prices of more than $100 (thankfully the insurance covered all but $30 in copay). So, the total cost of going to a doctor as opposed to urgent care for us would have been more than $200.
Urgent care saves a lot of money and the fact is that we need more of them. This will also help on Medicaid expenses as it's a lot cheaper for people on Medicaid to visit Urgent Care rather than the Emergency room.
A second private sector solution is to encourage legitimate businesses to start up who offer people low cost, healt care discount cards. Such a program was in effect back in Montana and it helped Poor people save 25-35% on the costs of Health Care services.
The lady insisted we needed a Canadian style health care system because there are some people who can't even afford this. The fact is that a national health care system would ruin our economy and destroy opportunity. She left because of a phone call before I could seriously address her concern, but there's something very important most people miss.
I read an article in the Statesman about a lady who lost medicaid Dental Insurance and because of this, she couldn't get her dentures replaces and her current ones did damage to her jaw that's irrepairable. When I read that article, I didn't think, "How dare these politicians stop funding her dentures!" I thought, "Where's her family?Where's her community? Where's her church?"
Some people are under the impression that nothing good can happen unless government does it, but the best things happen when good people do good things for others. For too long, we've thought everything is an issue that some level of government has to solve and it's not. I think of the group which brought this woman to the Capitol when her gums had been damaged, but did nothing for her when the damage could have been prevented.
The government doesn't have the solution to every problem. When government gets involved in something, that's when waste, inefficiency, and fraud come into the picture.
I say that it's time that in the face of rising Medicaid costs, we reject leaders who think the worst thing on Earth is that the words, "Honor thy Father and thy Mother" might be posted somewhere and stand firm for private solutions to our most pressing needs.
Friday, April 23, 2004
On Thursday, I met another gentleman who asked me to promote Garden City. He recounted a story of how his wife at a recent visit to the County DMV was told to put "Boise" instead of Garden City when she in fact lived in Garden City.
Garden City is not well promoted and there needs to be a change of image, most definitely. One thing I find fascinating is that of the 11 candidates filed for District 16's legislatiove seats, I'm the only one who lists his home in Garden City. I know for certain that geographically most, if not all of them are in their but either 1) they're ashamed of the Garden City label or 2) they don't know there is a Garden City.
If the first is the case, shame on them. If the second is the case, shame on the mayor and City Council. Regardless, I'm proud to remain the only candidate for Garden City.
From "Questions I Wished I Answered Better". A woman asked me what my experience was and I froze up. I then mentioned my work for the Keyes campaign and my service as managing editor of a College newspaper in Montana. She closed the door.
I reflected later on how I should have answered that question. I had other experience such as founding Flathead County Teens for Life in the 1990s, and captaining my Academic Bowl Team in 1994. That's not the important thing.
The experience I have that is most relevant is that I know what it is to work a 50 hour week. I've stayed up until 3:30 a.m. in the morning closing a fast food restraunt. I've taken jobs that nobody else wanted working for Arby's, Taco Bell, and McDonalds. I know what it is to be out of work for weeks and to feel like you're never going to find a job. I know what it is to live from paycheck to paycheck and to struggle to get ahead and pay the bills while a greedy government takes it's taxes. In short my primary experience is that I have lived the life of a common man.
On Thursday, I knocked on a woman's door and she asked me who I was. I told her I was a Candidate for State House.
She said, "Conservative or Liberal?"
I replied, "Conservative."
She said, "Are you a real Conservative or a fake one?"
I answered that I was real and ciuted my support for Alan Keyes' 2000 Presidential Campaign. She took my literature to read over it. It got me thinking. We have a lot of "fake" Conservatives in the legislature. Many people who ran as Conservatives voted to raise taxes and opposed banning same sex marriage.
I hope to join the Real Conservatives like Henry Kulcyzk and Gary Sweet in the legislature. We need more people who understand that we need limited government and that we've got to fix our State's Education and Entitlement programs. It takes real conservatives who'll walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Pat Tillman's death today haunted me throughout my campaigning, as I campaigned I thought of his heroic sacrifice, giving up a multi-million dollar contract to defend his country. As I walked from door to door, the words to Billy Ray Cyrus song, "Some Gave All" repeated in my head.
All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all
May God bless his family and our country at this time of loss.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Going down Apache Way I meant a fascinating lady. She was a feisty lady with a lot to say.
Government in general had failed her quite a bit. When I told her that I favored repealing the Henbest-Kempthorne Sales Tax increase, she asked me if I seriously thought taxes could ever be cut, as it had never been done before. I pointed out that the top federal income tax bracket used to be 70%. Taxes can be cut, it just requires the political will to do it.
She talked about her family. They'd never had a mortgage on their house. Her father had bought the house for $1 and moved it to the land which they acquired for next to nothing as it was viewed as "throw away" land in the 1950s.
Of course, that's not the case today. Apache Way is located near the new Wal-Mart and, so when Wal-Mart went in, her property taxes went up. She was furiously upset with Wal-Mart for destroying "mom and pop businesses" with their big box store.
Having spent much of my youth somewhere where economic growth was scarce, I've always been very much pro-capitalism and have disagreed with many critics of Wal-Mart who attack the chain as the source of all evil in the universe, as I wrote in this commentary.
However, I see this resident's point. Wal-Mart coming into her community more than doubled her property tax. That's more than a fault of a greedy local government than Wal-Mart, but she certainly has her reasons to be upset.
I told her as I was leaving that her neighborhood is really nice. She commented that it was before Wal-Mart came in. I didn't understand until I walked around her neighborhood a little bit. To my right was Wal-Mart which was omnipresent in the sky anywhere you looked. In a neighborhood that was quiet with livestock, horses, and beautiful trees. Wal-Mart was an eyesore. They'd built a wall between Wal-Mart and the neighborhood to hide the neighborhood from Wal-Mart partrons, but that wall was a little too short to hide Wal-Mart from the neighborhood.
While I don't disagree with a Wal-Mart in Garden City. There had to have been a better location. I mean who wants to see this everyday they're out in their yard?:
Even though I don't totally agree with her on Wal-Mart, my visit to Apache Way gave me a whole new understanding of legitimate beefs people have with Wal-Mart.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
A couple more notes on that conversation on Aspen Glen. I told the gentleman my response to the teacher's union in which I basically refused to promise them the state budget. I told them that I would look at the budget and if there were funds for some of those items, I'd consider them.
The man pointed out that the general political rule is to tell organizations what you need to in order to get elected and then do what you want when you get in. He pointed out I wouldn't get the teacher's union's support.
He's certainly correct about the normal political modus operandi, but if you do that you end up like John Kerry who doesn't even know who he is from one day to next or Al Gore who hired someone to dress him. I'll be honest and if I lose being honest, so be it.
The other thing he mentioned was that he thought that each and every bill should have a "Family Impact Statement" in it just like the State of Utah does. I think that's actually an excellent idea. I told the man that every bill introduced into the Idaho legislature had a fiscal impact statement. He said, "That's the way it is, isn't it? Money before family." It's sad, but true.
I think people who are in government could learn a lot from their constituents if they'd only listen.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I've gone to the other end of the district. Campaigning on Aspen Glen Way is a really nice part of town and during
my time there today, I had a very productive conversation with a gentleman who lives there.
We talked about a lot of things. It was really good to talk to someone who was so informed and up on the issues.
He asked what I was willing to cut in order to keep taxes down and the answer is that everything is on the
table except for Veterans benefits. There are hard choices that must be made and a big thing we may have to do is to roll back some of the profligate spending we had in the '90s and 2000's. We can afford a little less government. In fact, the people are paying through the nose for government.
The idea that the answer to everything is to throw money at it is absurd. We have to understand that government is not the solution to every problem. As I discussed before, if educational excellence was determined by the amount poured into schools, America would have no educational problems. We have to get innovative and serious about cutting government.
We have to reach the point where government makes the tough decision individuals and families make every day. I'd like to see a simple phrase introduced into our government's vocabularly, "We can't afford." We certainly can't afford a
state where economic opportunity is so limited by high income tax rates and government spending only limited by politcians' imaginations.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Well, I'm taking a few days off from door to door. I'm going to need more fliers. (I'm almost through my first stack of 500) and I've got a couple questionaires to work on. I'll be back on the trail Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday next week.
Ever wished that you said something differently. It's an experience you have quite a bit going door to door. At one house a lady asked, "Public funding the arts, where do you stand" I responded, "I favor private funding of the arts." She said, "Boo" and the conversation ended there.
If I had it to do over again, I would probably have said, "I favor giving you a tax cut so you can fund and develop your own art." This is one of the perils of gooing door to door.
Campaigning through the district, I met a young man from California who said he was ready to go bo back, complaining about the situation in Idaho. He said there were huge problems in the state. On that we definitely agree. He said he'd vote for me, and hopefully he and a lot of other people will give Idaho a second chance.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Sometimes there's not much you can do on some issues. One lady I talked to while campainging on West Plum Street was upset about Idaho's Medicaid law not allowing both her and her husband to have medicaid cards and her husband is in need of suprger. She wants to go work part time, but will lose her medicaid if she does.
While I listened politiely and empathized with her plight, it is simply not something that can be addressed in the context of the current size of government.
The greatest challenge for Conservatism and perhaps it's a greater challenge for libertarianism is how to deal with
people who are trapped in a system of government dependency in a compassionate way. While I may be able to work with state agencies as a member of the Legislature, the answer is going to be private, community action. We need to get back to a country of neighbors rather than the country Phil Gramm described in his 1996 presidential campaign where some people were in the wagon and the rest were pulling it. Such a wagon isn't good for America and can only engender resentment.
Things didn't get any easier at Tuesday's meeting of the Boise City Council where the City Council promised a public
hearing on the Fred Phelps monument. Those of us who'd stood firmly for 70 days while the city refused to hear us.
At last, we had our chance for the public hearing, to make our voice heard to the City Council. I came prepared with comments and took time off from work to come. I arrived at the Council and it quickly moved to the business at hand.
Mayor Dave Bieter announced the council would take no hearing and wasn't even required to hear Fred Phelps'
appeal on the anti-homosexual monument. It summarily dismissed the appeal and left dozens of Boise citizens out in
When we talk about the lack of people's participation in government, I can't help but think of the Boise City Council All
the hoopla and battle over the monument that's occurred the past two months could have been greatly restricted, if
they had only granted a public hearing where people could have their say.
The message of the Imperial Council of Boise is that the people of Boise don't matter and I will remember that when
they come asking for my vote.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
This was one of the most difficult days, I'd had on the campaign. All of my door to door campaigning had so far been in Precinct 26. North Tamarack Drive goes through both 26 and 33. The first house in the Precinct 33 portion of Tamarack should have given me a clue. While most houses have a "Welcome" mat, this one had a mat that said "Go Away".
At house after house, I was met with a decidedly negative tone. People hid in their houses and if they answered the door didn't care who I was and just wanted me to leave. I took a dim view of this, as this appeared to be the least friendly neighborhood I'd seen.
While walking down the other side of Tamarack, a police car approached. The officer asked me what I was doing. I explained. He did start to read my campaign literature and explained that people didn't know what I was doing. He
said that people in this neighborhood were used to people who would knock on their doors and if the occupants
weren't home, they'd break in and steal their stuff.
This is such a sad commentary on current events, it breaks my heart. People are so afraid of the criminals who
terrorize our communities that they won't even take part in meeting candidates for office, for fair that it's a scam.
Meanwhile, the ACLU believes the greatest threat to society is that schools, courthouses, and parks have
monuments or markers that say, "Thou Shalt Not Steal." If we want safe communities, we have to get back to
the idea of inalienable rights from God and reverence for God in our nation.
The police officer joked that it had been "hard" to find me because the descriptions indicated I was wearing a red kilt.
He said there's not many people like that around. He read through my literature, check my ID, radioed in that I was
distributing campaign literature, and sent me about my business. I continued down the road and was sure to
announce myself if I didn't get a response after two knocks. This way, I made contact with two other voters who at last came out of hiding.
I finished this day's campaigning with a greater understanding and compassion for the people of Tamarack Drive.
Sunday, April 04, 2004
How did Idaho end up in a fiscal crisis in the first place? I got a big clue when I received my candidate questionaire
from the Idaho Education Association.
I've got to walk a fine line because even though I don't expect the IEA's endorsement, I do appreciate the
questionaire. I've enjoyed filling out each of the questionaire's I've received from Gun Owners of America,
Idaho Chooses Life, National Right to Work, the Gun Owner of America, and the IEA.
Having said that, most questions included the words "do you support state funding for?" While many of their goals,
seemed laudable, I answered most with a "Disagree" response as I would not pledge taxpayers money without
taking a look at our fiscal situation while drafting to the 2005 budget.
Some were honestly quite selfish. One asked if I'd support making starting teacher's salaries $35,000 (the
national average is less than $30,000). Another question asked if I supported bringing teacher salary to
the national average. I responded that I'd consider it when everyone in Idaho earned at the National
Folks, education's greatest problem is not that it's underfunded. The average starting pay for teachers in the US is
7th Highest in the World, and for teachers who've been teaching for 15 years, it's the sixth highest. Note that the
countries that are higher on the list have larger socialist government and therefore higher costs of living, so what
our teachers earn is comparable to the rest of the world.
In terms of per pupil funding, the US is second behind Denmark in the average amount of money spent on primary
education ($7,074 v. $6,995) and second behind Switzerland in what's spent on Secondary Education
($9,780 v. $8,995). Our kids are not having problems because of a lack of funding. If funding was the answer,
we'd have no problems in our public schools, but we're still being beaten in educational performance by Japan who
spends 22% less on primary education and 30% on secondary education.
We need school choice and accoutability which are two other things the IEA doesn't want. They believe
public funds should be used only for public schools and oppose tests which show whether they've been doing
their job or not. I was a tutor back in Montana and I remember a 12th grader who could barely read at a 5th grade
After the Summer was over. I saw him at the grocery store and said hi. He said he'd graduated from high school.
He struggled through, "The Watcher" and "Harry Potter" yet he got his High School diploma. There are kids who
are on this path in Idaho after years of government schooling they are on their way to the same fate. Yet, the
Idaho Education Assocation doesn't want us to know which schools are failing and it's an outrage.
I digress, however. It's pretty easy to see how we get a budget crisis. Legislators read of these wonderful programs
and declare their support for the agenda of the bi-partisan teacher's union (remember what I said about
bi-partisanship earlier) and others. When they get up to Boise they find themselves in a huge budget
crunch and they wonder why.
The final question asked me involved me explaining my entire campaign strategy and what they could do to help me
if they endorsed me. I decided against answer the first part and informed them respectfully that while I welcomed
the support of individual IEA members, I understood the chances of them endorsing me were as good as that of
Dirk Kempthorne endorsing Ralph Nader.
Today, I went all the way up 39th St, Tamarack Drive to Taft Street, and half the way up Hawthorne to Taft Street. The response was generally positive. The most negative reaction I had was from dogs in the neighborhood.
I had several people who said they'd vote for me for certain. Most others said they'd read over my material, but the impact of just coming door to door and meeting people can't be underestimated. One lady I met on Hawthorne said, "You're one of only two candidates to come to this house to introduce yourself." The other was now State Rep. David
Langhorst (D- Boise). She said she voted for Langhorst and that she would vote for me as well.
I met another lady on 39th Street who is concerned about the fact that the Coroners are elected officials who need only be a registered voter. She said our incumbent Margaret Henbest (D-Boise) has been looking into for her. Right off,
I think there may be a serious problem with the way our coroners are chosen, as it is a medical position. In order
to have informed judgments on causes of death, we need someone with the proper medical background.
I'll certainly take a look at it when I'm elected.
One thing I want to be clear on in the course of this campaign is that while I have a lot of ideas and plan to carry
several bills if elected: School Choice, Choose Life License Plate, Declaration of Independence in Schools,
Grocery Tax Credit Increase, and Flat Income Tax. My door will be open to constituent concerns. If you have a
good idea that will make our state work better, I'll be more than happy to talk to you. I'm especially open to
suggestions of laws that are ineffective and should be repealed. My door will be open to everyone and I'll do
my best to help whenever I can.
On Friday, when I was campaigning, I met a lady who asked me if I was of Scottish descent.
I told her that I was. I relayed a story when I told someone that in addition to being Scottish,
I also had Irish heritage. He asked me, "Do you hate yourself?"
At this, the lady gave a loud laugh. In her British accent she said, "Of course not, anymore than
I hate you because I'm English. " I nodded. "That's across the Ocean."
One of the great things about America is that we can leave all of our ancestorial battles that raged for
hundreds of years on the other side of the sea. In America, we have St. Patricks Day, National Tartan Day,
and various celebrations by the Sons of Norway. What makes America a great country is we can all be
proud of our heritage, while putting all of our ethnic rivalries and hatred aside.
We must be very wary of politicians who seek to stir up these feelings again, because they threaten our
national unity and identity.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Near the end of my trip, I met a man who told me that he thought Margaret Henbest's obesity crusade was "a waste of time." He believed that there were more constructive things she could have spent her time on.
I couldn't agree more. We didn't elect Margaret Henbest as the dietician to the State Legislature. She was elected to do the people's business and to look out for their best interests. This term she has proposed raising health care
costs for nearly all Idahoans, while voting to raise the State Sales Tax. If you've read Bill O'Reilly's book
and are wondering, "Who's looking out for you?" the answer is not Margaret Henbest.
Idaho is different from Montana because of three key things:
1) Idaho has not followed Montana down the path of casino gambling as a means of stimulating the economy. In Kalispell, Montana, there's practically a casino on every street corner. Nobody but casino owners win when gambling predominates.
2) Idaho has decided to allow growth rather than fighting against it. If you go back to the 1980s, Idaho and Montana had almost identical populations and economic situations, but by allowing development, Idaho surged ahead.
3) Montana has an 11% Capital Gains tax.
I'm not knocking Idaho in this campaign. Idaho has done a lot right, but that doesn't mean that we can't make things
better. The most foolish thing to do is for a state that's grown to rest on its laurels. We need to further stimulate the
economy, so that Idaho provides even more opportunity for all of its citizens.
Second day of campaigning continued in the 26th precinct. Early on, I met a lady who despite some ideological differences is the type of voter that is very vital to America. She asked me some tough questions. Too often we let our political leaders run without facing serious questions.
Anyway, here's a summary of the questions asked and my answers, though my written answers are probably a little better than my verbal:
1) Why Are You Running?
---I believe I have a plan for the district that will encourage economic growth and that people in the 16th district need someone whose fighting for them, not special interests, and not the party leadership.
2) Wasn't the Sales Tax Increase necessary to balance the budget.
--What was necessary was fiscal restraint on behalf of our leaders, including Margaret Henbest and Governor Kempthorne. The budget could have been balanced without raising the cost of living for every Idahoan by increasing the sales tax.
3) You just moved to the area and you think you have the answers to all of our problems?
---I'm not arrogant enough to believe that I know everything. However, the Idaho Constitution and State Laws lay down the requirement for running for the State Legislature (being a qualified elector in the district for a year at the time at the General election). If that is not sufficient, the laws should be changed.
The fact is that I'm equal to every other Idahoan in the fact that I pay the same taxes and live under the same
laws passed by this legislature. In Idaho and elsewhere, I've been in politics long enough to know where people are getting cheated by their government. In Idaho and everywhere else, freedom works. As for being from out of state, My distinguished opponent, Mr. LeClaire served as a City Councilman in Moscow, in the last decade.
I may be from Montana originally (by the way Mr. LeClaire was born there while I was born in Idaho interestingly enough), but I understand the west. I understand the importance of freedom and limited government. Montana is not too different from Idaho except in a few vital ways that have made Idaho one of the fastest growing states in the Union while Montana has a sluggish service based economy.
I'll explain this in my next post.