Top 5 Challenges Facing Idaho

Feb 24, 2024

As Idaho takes its place as one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, it faces a myriad of challenges that require strong conservative solutions. Idahoans are proud of their state’s heritage, and they rightly expect their elected representatives to protect the values that make the Gem State not just unique but exceptional. Maintaining our state’s character and holding to our values will require vigilance and work in the face of those who would seek to weaken or undermine them. To that end, these are some of the top challenges we face in keeping Idaho Idaho. 

1. Spending

Nothing in Idaho, whether it’s potatoes or hops, grows as fast as the state’s budget. In just four years, Idaho’s spending has increased by 54%. The current appropriations for the next fiscal year are at $13.8 Billion, and 40% of that money is from the federal government, an addiction we must end. At the same time general government spending increases by double digits, Idahoans’ paychecks are under assault by Bidenflation.

On the legislative side, there is some good news on the budget front, with a major reform in the budgeting process. Previous budgets have come to the legislature for approval in lump sums for each department or agency, with proposed increases buried amidst operational line items. With some 140 separate areas to fund, and the submission of these budgets at the end of the legislative session, the chances for making real cuts have been slim and none as there was little time to delve into the details. This year, however, budgets are split into two parts: the maintenance budget – what’s needed to keep  the lights on –  and requests for new items, i.e., the “asks.” It will give us a much better chance of keeping spending under control, if not to actually make cuts in spending. This new process was fought tooth and nail by establishment groups, but conservatives held fast and made it happen. It’s only one victory, but a very important one.

2. Election Integrity

The electoral process is a cornerstone in the foundation of our republic. The ability to select our representatives to propose and enact laws, to ensure public safety, and to be a guardian of the people’s purse protects our God-given freedoms. Yet we are under assault to corrupt our elections, as can be seen by reading the stories of election malfeasance from across the country. Mail-in ballots, ballot harvesting, electronic vote counting, open primaries, and now, ranked choice voting, if adopted, will all contribute to Idaho’s transitioning to a purple, and then blue, state. It’s been done before, most recently in Colorado, and we’re now in the crosshairs – the next target. 

Open primaries (notice the language, open: such a positive word) allow for anyone to vote in any party’s primary. Imagine letting the other team pick your quarterback. Ranked choice voting violates the one person one vote rule, asking voters to go down the list of candidates and rank them from best to worst. In areas where this has been implemented, candidates who are at the bottom in the initial vote have won races after the reordering of the votes. The legislature made ranked choice voting illegal last year, but it’s now back as a ballot initiative, along with open primaries. A double dose of destruction.

3. Education Reform

Out of Idaho’s General Fund appropriations, 64% of the money goes to education. Education is one-third of total spending (including federal dollars and dedicated funds), yet student test results show no significant increase in scores. Clearly, what we are doing isn’t working, and it’s time for a new approach. That new approach – at least, new to Idaho, though proven elsewhere – is to implement a system in which parents are given the option to place their children in non-governmental schools, without the burden of double-taxation, or to home-school them. A bill making its way through the Senate would allow parents to use tax credits to pay for their child’s education. Take note: the bill would take no money from the ever-growing education budget, as has been claimed, so it would not affect public school funding. It’s a good idea worth trying.

4. The Border

America is being invaded. What we are witnessing on the southern border is not a problem isolated to the state of Texas. Thousands of border crossings every day, many of them by single military-aged men, pose an existential threat to the existence of our country. To put this in perspective, in December, 2023, over 300,000 people crossed the border. In World War II, during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, on June 6, 1944, 160,000 troops landed on the French coast. In other words: almost twice that number that crossed our border in one month.

We’re told that 8 to 10 million people have illegally breached our border in three years, though most believe that number is far higher. None of them have gone through even a minimal security check – yet you cannot even fly across the state to visit your children without going through a TSA check. The security issue, along with the strain on services as we dispense billions of taxpayer dollars, is an unprecedented calamity, and threatens our very existence as a country. This month I authored HR006, a resolution supporting Texas’ actions defending its border, and several other measures addressing various aspects of this issue are also making their way through the legislative process. 

5. Assault on Families and Traditional Values

From pornographic books in the children’s section of the library to drag queen shows, human trafficking, and AI generated child exploitation, traditional American values and our families are under assault on a daily basis. The cultural war continues, with the battles fought on many fronts. America’s greatness stemmed from the traditional Judeo-Christian structure of family, and the strong moral ethic that underpinned that structure. The dissolution of the family is a primary objective of our enemies. I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of HCR020, Traditional Family Values Month, along with Sen. Ben Toewes, (R-District 4). The resolution would set aside a month to celebrate, support, and educate Idahoans on the importance of the family. The celebration would start on Mother’s Day and on Father’s Day. It’s about time we celebrated the good and positive values rooted in the traditional family.

As I focus on another campaign to be your representative, I believe it is crucial for the Idaho House of Representatives to take decisive action on these issues, promoting policies that align with the principles cherished by the people of Idaho. By focusing first on reining in government spending, protecting election integrity, reforming our public education system, supporting a strong national border, and preserving the traditional family, the great state of Idaho can make significant strides in securing a prosperous future for its residents while preserving the unique character that makes Idaho the gem of the West.

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