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Right to Life
Strong families are foundational to our value system. I believe life begins at conception and that all individuals, including the unborn, have unalienable rights. I have a 100% pro-life voting record, and as a legislator, I worked to implement a “Women’s Informed Consent” law, which provides women considering abortions with valuable information and resources. I also sponsored and enacted a bill that provides a woman an opportunity to view an ultrasound image of her unborn child. I support the reconsideration and eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, sending this decision back to the states where it belongs. As your Governor, I will remain a staunch defender of the right to life.
In my campaign for Lieutenant Governor, I earned an A+ rating from the NRA and an A+ endorsement from Dick Heller, the lead plaintiff in the famous District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court case. I believe the right to keep and bear arms, which is recognized in both the Idaho and U.S. Constitutions, is amongst our most fundamental, and I strongly oppose “red flag” laws and other attempts to circumvent this right. I have consistently stood up for your right to keep and bear arms and as your Governor, I will continue to fight against any encroachment on our 2nd Amendment Right, including any infringement coming from Washington, D.C. Our state, counties, and cities should all consider carefully how they will respond to federal overreach that violates our fundamental rights.
America owes a great debt to our veterans. They put their lives on the line for our country, yet all too often their commitment and heroism is not rewarded in kind. The VA scandal under the Obama administration exposed a disturbing pattern of negligence and deceptions. Intolerable rates of homelessness and suicide among veterans continue to go largely unaddressed.
As a legislator, I sponsored H810 (2004) to provide a sales tax exemption to non-profit Veteran’s Service Organizations and I enacted H752 (2004) to exempt certain military personnel from licensure requirements while serving in active duty. In 2004, I received recognition from the Idaho Veterans Affairs Commission for my efforts. As your Governor, I will prioritize caring for our veterans and seeking opportunities to honor and reward their devotion. They deserve nothing less.
I strongly support our law enforcement and I believe we must stand in solidarity with these brave men and women who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to defend our families and communities. Support for law enforcement shouldn’t be a partisan issue in Idaho. Efforts to demonize and defund the police have no place in our state, and as your Governor, I will continue to advocate fully funding the police at all levels of government.
Over the last two years, the issues of health freedom has come to increased prominence due to the implementation of mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, and other measures taken in response to COVID-19. As a legislator and as your Lieutenant Governor, I have consistently stood for individual liberty and personal choice. I do not discourage masks or vaccines for those who choose them, but I oppose mandates that force individuals to use medical devices or undergo medical procedures they would prefer to avoid.
As your Governor, I will take whatever steps are required to make sure Idahoans are protected from government intrusion into their personal health decisions. Idaho Code already contains a provision that “the right to work shall not be subject to undue restraint or coercion.” I support this law and the principle inherent in this language. (§ 44-2001)
Masks in Schools
Just in case there was any lingering confusion about my position on this issue, I strongly oppose mask mandates in schools. Parents should be the only ones making medical decisions for their children. Local school boards should not presume to usurp this authority.
Secure the border. Enforce the law. No sanctuary cities in Idaho! Immigration may be a controversial issue in some places, but in Idaho, we strongly support the rule of law and want to see our border secured and defended. In addition to strictly enforcing the law against illegal immigration, America’s immigration policies need to prioritize the admission of workers, both permanent and temporary, based on the unfilled needs of American businesses. Immigration should not put the jobs of U.S. citizens at risk nor should it burden U.S. taxpayers. Put simply, America’s immigration policies need to focus on providing workers for unfilled jobs, while limiting “chain migration,” reducing refugee resettlement, and ending the Diversity Immigrant Visa program.
As your Governor, I will work with the legislature, our congressional delegation, and other states to advocate for conservative immigration strategies, a secure border, and the rule of law. When the federal government fails to do its duty, I will work with our border state governors to make sure they have the manpower and support they need to keep our border secure. A secure Idaho requires a secure border.
Idahoans are facing rapidly inflating real estate prices that are forcing them out of the market and causing some to leave the state or abandon their dreams of home ownership. There is no single solution to this problem just as there is no single cause, but there are steps we can take to improve the situation. One of these steps is to review local planning and zoning laws, building code restrictions, mobile home regulations, and other laws and rules that are inhibiting the free market. Another step we can take is to make sure infrastructure spending is focused on necessities such as roads, water, and sewer.
At the root of the housing affordability problem is disequilibrium in supply and demand. We must work to increase the manufacturing of building materials and to grow our skilled labor force in industries such as construction, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. As your Governor, I will work with stakeholders to promote training, development and expanded infrastructure that is compatible with Idaho’s history and values.
Property taxes in Idaho are too high. They infringe upon the right of ownership and force retirees out of their homes. As with all taxes, the real problem is government spending. Counties and cities are burdened with mandates from the state, which, combined with local spending priorities, often lead to property tax increases. We can reduce spending without cutting necessary services. Health and safety can be fully funded while still reviewing the appropriateness of taxing Idahoans to pay for fanciful public transit schemes and questionable art installations.
I believe that spending needs to be reduced at all levels of government, and as your Governor, I will work with the legislature to craft legislation that makes meaningful and lasting reductions in government spending in order to reduce property taxes and keep them low. As a State Representative, I sponsored and worked to implement a Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) to keep the growth of state government in line with the private sector. This is a principle we need to support at all levels of government.
Income and Sales Taxes
Idaho’s income and sales taxes are higher than most of its neighbors’. Three of Idaho’s six neighboring states have no state income tax and two of the others have no state sales tax. Only Utah has both, and it has a flat income tax of 4.95%. There is value in having a balanced mix of tax sources, but Idaho has room to lower both its income and sales taxes by reducing spending. Likewise, Idaho’s business tax climate needs to be improved. We rank #20 nationally, yet that is worse than every one of our neighboring states. In fact, four of Idaho’s neighbors are in the top 10 nationally.
Right now, Idaho has a nearly $1.4 billion surplus. To me, this is strong evidence that Idahoans are overtaxed. As your Governor, I will continue to support eliminating the sales tax on groceries, reducing government spending, and finding other solutions to lower our tax burden.
In Idaho, education is one of our traditional values. I support an education system that prepares young people to live productive lives, not one that indoctrinates them in Marxist, socialist ideology. Our children should not be taught to hate America nor to hate each other. As your Lieutenant Governor, I assembled an Education Task Force to investigate and address these issues. Our children deserve a comprehensive education including learning about our Founders and the values on which our country was built. Teachers who provide this kind of education deserve our support and appreciation.
Our schools should be appropriately funded, but I do not support special interest cronyism that costs Idaho taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. We can improve efficiency and reduce administrative bloat without any reduction in the quality of our education. I have heard from many of our professional educators that excessive administrative is interfering with the quality of teaching in the classroom.
I have long been a strong supporter of internships, apprenticeship training, and trade schools. This is one of the reasons I served as President of the Career Technical Education Foundation Board. I believe that our schools must focus on traditional education and skills training rather than on pushing a political or social agenda. As your Governor, I will continue to support an efficient education system that is consistent with our history and values.
Business and Self-Employment
Idaho is already a business-friendly state, but we can do more to make it a place individuals want to start businesses, existing businesses can grow, and to where out-of-state businesses choose to relocate. An educated workforce is an important component of this, which is why I support internships, apprenticeship training, and trade schools. Tax policy and the regulatory climate also play a role, and while Idaho does fairly well in these areas, there is room for improvement. Idaho should look at eliminating the corporate income tax and removing regulatory hurdles to businesses and self-employment. Idaho must review its occupational licensing mandates, regulatory filings, and other impositions that serve as impediments to financial and business success.
As your Governor, I will serve as an advocate for businesses and self-employed individuals by working to get government out of their way and unleashing the power of the free market. I will ensure that government agencies serve Idahoans rather than Idahoans serving government agencies.
Forest Fires and Land Management
Wildfires are, to some extent, a natural phenomenon that have occurred throughout history. In recent decades, however, these fires have increased in frequency and devastation. While there is still room for debate on these issues, many scholars have pointed to federal land management (and mismanagement) as one of the contributing factors to worsening wildfires. Ken Ivory has said that current U.S. Forest Service policies are to “manage our forests for maximum combustion.” As timber harvests have decreased, the number of trees per acre has increased, and wildfires have predictably become a greater problem in Idaho and throughout the American West. As your Governor, I will support smart management, beneficial collaboration, and increased utilization of our forests to limit the physical and economic destruction inflicted by wildfires.
Idaho’s traditional industries are among its most important. Ranching, farming, dairying, timber harvesting, mining, and other traditional trades are not just part of our history; they are part of our future. While radical environmentalists and federal regulators may see these industries as expendable (or worse), here in Idaho we respect and support your right to make a living however you choose. We recognize the crucial role these industries have played and will continue to play long into the future. In 2004 and 2006, I received the Friend of Agriculture Award from Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. As your Governor, I will stand firm in defending these industries and in supporting policies that make their jobs easier rather than more difficult.
Antifa, BLM, and the Militia
I support peaceful protests and demonstrations, but I do not support the use of violence to solve political problems. Arson, vandalism, burglary, and assault are crimes, not tools of protest. I encourage all Idahoans to participate peacefully in the political process and to refrain from violence and the use of force except in lawful and necessary self-defense. As your Governor, I will not hesitate to take action if required to terminate violent protests and demonstrations. Such happenings have no place in Idaho.
A note on the militia: While the term “militia” often stirs controversy, the Idaho State Constitution is clear. It says, “The legislature shall provide by law for the enrolment, equipment and discipline of the militia … and pass such laws to promote volunteer organizations as may afford them effectual encouragement.” I respect the constitutional right of Idahoans to participate in the militia within the confines of the law. The ideal situation is for local militias to work hand in hand with local sheriffs, who will deputize and utilize militia members as needed.