Issues

Building a strong economy

Strong EconomyI believe that a strong economy is vital to helping Idaho become an attractive place for people start a company or relocate their families too. In Idaho we have done our best to ensure that we keep taxes low, while keeping our budget balanced. In 2012 we balanced our budget, lowered the personal income tax rate, and the corporate tax rate, while at the same time we put $ 35 million in to our education savings account. Building a strong economy means that we must develop a diverse portfolio of businesses, so if one business sector is going through a tough time it does not take down the others.

 

 

Keeping Taxes Low

TaxCutsI have found in my short time in the Idaho Legislature that there is no shortage of agencies, bureaucrats or political subdivisions that want more of your hard earned money. I believe in keeping taxes low on both individuals and businesses. We must do what we can to keep a fair, reliable, and predictable tax structure. This is vital to helping grow Idaho’s economy.  As businesses look to Idaho to locate they want to know what our tax structure looks like.  Since I have been in the legislature we have passed some major tax reductions. Not all of them have been signed into law, but one that I have fought successfully for was the removal of the personal property tax. In 2013 we passed the removal of  the personal property tax. The less money that the government takes in, the more you have to spend on goods and services.

 

 

Honesty and Integrity in government

ethicsI have endeavored to live my life in such a manner as not to disgrace the citizens of Idaho. During the last few years the Idaho political environment has taken a dark turn with each party trying to one up the other, by calling into question the behavior of each other. That is not to say that some of the criticism has not been warranted, sometimes it has, but other times it was just plain dirty politics. It has been suggested that  we should create a separate bureaucratic structure to “take the politics” out of the ethical process.  I have lived long enough to know that you cannot take the politics out of politics. In the House we have setup an Ethics Committee to restore the public trust in our membership. The Ethics Committee is made up of members of each party that were selected by their respective caucuses to represent their party on a permanent ethics committee. This committee functions much like the other legislative committees and has served its purpose well.

 

 

Quality Education

2014 Keaton & Riley

As a father of two young children education is very important to me. I believe that it is our responsibility to train up the next generation. I believe that one of the best ways to see improvement in our educational system is to get the parents involved. The question is how do you get parents involved? I think that we should give the parents a percentage of the money that it costs to educate their child and let the parents take that money and decide what school they want to enroll their child in, in other words let the money follow the student. Secondly,I think we should give our schools more flexibility when it comes to education spending. I believe that the State should decide how much money we are going to give each school district per student and then give the money to the district , and not put so many strings on how and where the money is spent. We should set the expectation of what we want our children to know, and then hold each school district accountable for attaining those goals. Thirdly, I think we should have a website at the Dept. of Education that ranks each one of our schools, and keeps track of the score of each school, so parents can see if their child’s school is passing or failing. Finally, I support educational competition. I think all types of educational systems can work and have a role to play, whether they are traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, Christian schools, and home schooling. I believe that each educational system can work well if they are operated correctly, and held accountable. We must do what we can get parents involved, support our teachers, and make sure we have the best educational system in the country.

Traditional Family Values

Our Family

Our Family

I am a strong advocate for traditional family values. I support Idaho’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage between one man and one woman. I believe that the family is the fabric that holds our society together. I believe that we must do what we can to support strong traditional families. I am solidly Pro-Life. I have carried several Pro-Life pieces of legislation. In 2012 I was honored to receive the “Friend of Life” award for my work in fighting to protect the rights of the unborn. I have always fought for a mother’s right to information. I have passed legislation that increases the amount of information a woman has when she is making important life decisions. I want to make sure that a woman has as much information as possible, so she can make a well informed decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthcare 

healthcare-in-norway

I believe American has the finest heath care system in the world. Is it perfect, no. Does it need some changes, yes? Does the Federal Government have the right to tell the american people that they must purchase health insurance  or face a penalty? No way! I did not support the implementation of Obamacare in Idaho. I feel very strongly that Idaho should tell the Federal Government to stay out of our private lives and our healthcare decisions. There are some folks who thought that the only path forward for Idaho was to comply with Obamacare. While in the Idaho Legislature I have fought to keep Obamacare from being implemented in Idaho by supporting the Idaho Healthcare Freedom Act, and the nullification of federal law with respect to healthcare. This past year I supported the repeal of the Health Insurance Exchange. I believe over the next several years it is going to be important that we have the right leaders in place to continue the fight against Obamacare. This is a fight we must win.

 

 

 

Reducing burdensome regulations

iStock-CutRedTape I support the removal of burdensome regulations that take businesses’ time and money away from expanding and creating jobs. In the fall of 2011 Congressman Labrador and I held a town hall meeting of key business owners. We asked them what was the one thing in their business that was killing job growth, and every business owner we talked too, said it was over regulation. That is not to say that some regulations are not necessary, but as policy makers we need to ensure we are creating public policy that helps create an environment in which business can thrive. I have found that most industries want to do what is right and to operate within the boundaries, yes, there are some bad actors that need punished, but we need to work with industry to develop good regulations and best practices for each industry,our citizens and the environment.