Keep ISU a High Priority: Idaho State University occupies a crucial role in Pocatello’s economy. The school provides excellent jobs and attracts good business, and it produces Idaho’s next generation of leaders. The proposal to make ISU Idaho’s medical school is innovative, not only because it will keep Idaho’s money at home, but because it will attract new doctors in our communities. I am proud of what ISU does for our community, and will do everything I can to help ISU flourish. My wife and I, and all four children have attended ISU, earning a family total of seven undergraduate and graduate degrees from ISU. I realize higher education is expensive, and costs increase every year. While funding was increased this last year, the State funding of ISU is still at 2006 levels after three years of extreme cuts. This places more responsibility and costs on the students. More funding is needed, and I will work with ISU administration and other legislators to make sure ISU receives its fair share of state funding to keep our opportunities affordable.
Support K-12 District 25: Idaho's K-12 education system was set back substantially by the 2011 proposal of the "Students Come First" legislation that was hastily put together and basically destroyed the rights of teachers, introduces technological elements that will be paid for by firing teachers, and many other impacts that were not adequately thought out. During the 2012 Session there were 8 bills introduced to correct some of the wrongs, but much more is needed. We must ensure that we are meeting the requirements of Idaho's Constitution to adequately fund our schools. More and more of those costs are being pushed down to the local level in the form of levies and other fees. We need to make sure our schools are well-funded and that our teachers are given the respect and compensation they deserve. After all, they are forming minds of children who will be Idaho’s future. I believe that funding in this area may be the most important investment Idaho can make.
Keep Pocatello (and Idaho) Competitive: As a previous owner of a small business in Old Town Pocatello, I understand the hard work and sacrifices involved in keeping our community running. Local businesses that flourish provide jobs in our community and we need to ensure that each is given a fair chance to succeed. The competitive advantage enjoyed by internet or catalog sales must be eliminated as we level the playing field and give necessary assistance to our local stores. “Buy Pocatello” – “Buy Idaho” needs to be the mindset of every Idahoan.
Revenue: Many of the extreme budget reductions to services provided to Idaho citizens in the last two years have been the result of the Governor and the Legislature "low balling" the budget and not listening to the economists. There are many areas where additional revenue exists without changing or raising taxes for the citizens of Idaho. We must explore each of these opportunities during this next session so we can adequately fund our State agencies and our schools.
New Business: Idaho must attract new industry. I have advocated and sponsored legislation to create jobs in Idaho and will continue to carry this flag in the Legislature. New business stimulates the economy, provides jobs for our best and brightest college graduates and brings much needed revenue to our local business. We must develop an attitude that will attract new companies to locate in our great State.
Elderly: This is one of our most vulnerable populations as incomes are fixed and medical and other expenses which come with the “golden years” are quickly outpacing the ability to pay. We must protect this segment of our population.
Children: This is another of our vulnerable segments needing someone to speak for them. Protection of good educational opportunities is a must if we wish our children to remain in Idaho during their productive lives. They must be prepared and we must give them the tools to be successful.
Unemployed: This portion of Idaho’s population has been growing too quickly. Jobs must be brought into the State, the economy must be stimulated to recover lost jobs and opportunities, and a positive attitude must be taken at the level of State government which will enhance growth.