Why do you want to be governor of Idaho?
I’m an Idaho native who has been a part of our celebration of good times and our emergence from the tough times even stronger and more committed to the constitutional conservatism that has been our hallmark. As a third-generation rancher and small businessman, I’m excited about our state’s future. I want to be a citizen governor, and my passion, deep knowledge of our state and ideas and strategy will ensure an even brighter and more prosperous future for every Idahoan. Government has a role in our society, but I believe its actions must be justified. It must be the last option to achieve our goals. That approach assures government remains limited, responsive and affordable. In the final analysis, we all want an Idaho that maintains its exceptional atmosphere for raising a family and provides the kind of quality education that guarantees Idahoans the kind of first-rate job opportunities that enable them to provide for their families and plan for retirement.
What do you want Idaho voters to know about you?
I was born and raised in Emmett on a ranch my grandfather established more than a century ago. I have a deep knowledge – and love – for our state and a profound respect for our culture and traditions. My wife Teresa comes from a fifth generation ranching and farming family, myself I’m third generation. But I’m also a small businessman, and like the tens of thousands of business owners across Idaho I’m living through the dramatic changes in our economy over the last 40 years. For example, my Emmett High School classmates, some were second-generation unionized mill workers. The mill in Emmett had hundreds of workers until it closed due to federal over-regulation of the logging industry. Kids just can’t plan on working at the same place their parents did. In fact, Idaho’s kids today can expect to have six or eight career changes. This is one of the most significant challenges we must meet. Our future depends on our citizens having the skills they need to succeed in our evolving economy. My experience is extensive and broad. I’ve created jobs and met payrolls and had to adapt my operations to these evolving economic realities. I’ve been a leader throughout my life – in business as president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry for one, in agriculture as president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association for another and in government as a state senator and Republican Caucus chairman and now as lieutenant governor. But possibly most important, I know more about Washington County – than I do about Washington, D.C. And I have a personal interest in securing Idaho’s future – my granddaughter and four grandsons. We have two sons and five wonderful grandchildren who all live in Idaho.
What makes you a conservative?
I’m a product of my father and grandfather. They both believed that hard work, ethical standards, common sense and commitment to the community paved the way for success on every front. They, as I, believed there are times when government has a role to play in society but those times are limited. I start off with a libertarian view – why should government do this? I vividly remember walking door to door for Barry Goldwater in 1964 when my dad chaired his Idaho campaign. It is up to conservatives to stand up for constitutional values while realizing that free enterprise and individual liberty should propel our state’s prosperity. Idaho is a model for conservative and fiscally responsible government – keeping taxes low and never burdening workers and businesses with onerous regulations. My record in government reflects that, particularly during the Great Recession. We didn’t raise taxes and made the adjustments we needed to so we moved into the recovery in the kind of strong position that has Idaho today among the nation’s leading job creators, and the most recent wage estimates show Idaho’s average weekly wage recorded the third highest percentage increase on the country. My conservative, limited government philosophy can guarantee continued prosperity for our state.