Since the CDA Press decided to limit candidate responses to their questions to 250 words, and eliminated the entire answer if it was over that limit, I have decided to publish the questions and answers here.
1. What experience, education or other skills qualify you to represent your district in the Idaho Legislature?
I'm an entrepreneur and a businessman. I opened the first retail computer store in New York City in 1980, selling Apple IIs to the New York Times, Newsweek, and others. After selling the business, I was a typography director for large advertising agency with major accounts such as Mercedes-Benz. Moving to California, I started a boutique ad agency serving the Apple computer peripheral market in the Bay Area. When Apple's market share dropped dramatically, we closed business and I went into auto sales. At the same time I began taking classes in web design, and then became a corporate trainer serving companies such as EDS and GM.
After my wife and I became empty nesters, we moved to Coeur d'Alene to be closer to her family, who have been here since Idaho was a territory. I was a business developer for a local company, and also became involved with the chamber of commerce, and the CDA Economic Development Committee.
On retiring, I began to attend city council meetings and other government meetings, and local political club meetings. Before running for mayor last year, I had no prior political experience, but have always read about, watched and studied politics and public policy. My broad range of experience and interest in many areas, my study skills and ability to quickly absorb information, and my decision making skills give me the foundation to be successful as a state legislator.
Moreover, I am passionate in my desire to prevent Idaho from becoming another overtaxed, crime-ridden and lawless state. I will stand against policies that conflict with our traditional Idaho values. As a two-time political refugee, I have seen this scenario played out before, and I pledge to do everything in my power to not let it happen here.
2. From 1 (terrible) to 10 (terrific), rate the 2022 Legislature on these issues, and briefly explain each rating:
a. Education. -- 2-- We have to free our teachers so that they can do their jobs and give our children the basic skills necessary to be successful in life, and not force teachers to be social engineers. The legislature gets points for helping to keep the lights on, the buildings heated, protecting children from the elements, and paying staff. But they have let the education system become indoctrination centers that replace parental control with state-sponsored outcome based learning. As an example, the State Board of Education adopted certification standards requiring teachers and professional school personnel to be trained in culturally responsive teaching--social engineering. Our legislators allowed this to happen. I will oppose social engineering in our schools, and support skills based training, parental rights, and school choice.
b. Taxes--2-- There's a minimal tax cut on the way to taxpayers, but with the state bank account swollen by nearly $2billion dollars, this should have been the year for serious tax relief. Yet, the grocery tax remains in place--the third highest in the country-- hurting those that can least afford to pay it during this massive inflationary spiral. Serious tax reform might entail the elimination of state income tax, or a restructuring of property tax, and reduction of the gas tax-- a tax higher than that in Massachusetts. Any one of these could have been accomplished, if the political will was there. Idaho has the means--- the money is there-- and there is no excuse for income, gas, and sales tax rates that are so high.
c. Public health --2-- The legislature allowed the governor to overstep his authority in response to Covid-19, and continued to sit on the side-line until the very last moment, finally passing a bill to declare the emergency over after more than 700 days. One could argue about what was the best response to Covid, but there is no doubt that the legislature allowed its constitutional authority to be usurped by the executive branch, time and again. People lost jobs, and many others lost businesses; there was no excuse for the legislature not to act.
d. Economy --2-- The greatest thing the legislature could have done this past session would have been to use the opportunity afforded by the healthy surplus to cut taxes, to continue to spur the growth of the state's economy, and more importantly, returning the public's money to its rightful owners. Once again, it failed to make the tough decisions. Growing the state's budget is not a recipe for economic success.
3. Please list and briefly explain your three top priorities for the 2023 session.--
Taxes and spending. My first goal is to do everything possible to eliminate the grocery tax. I'm only one vote on this, but I will work hard to work with other legislators to get this done. The state's budget surplus easily covers any lost revenue from the loss of this terrible, immoral tax.
Income taxes should also be reduced dramatically, making Idaho a more attractive place to live and work, which will foster economic growth.
We are also in need of reform and reduction of property tax rates. Our property tax burden now weighs heavily against homeowners, who now pay71% of the tax, compared with corporations. The split used to be 50/50. And now with the recent dramatic rise in property values, we are at risk of seeing homeowners taxed out of their homes as rates rise to reflect new property values. A cut in rates, or legislation similar to California's Prop. 13, which limited property tax increases to one percent, and established the assessed value at the time of the property's sale, is worth examining.
Election Integrity. A recent examination of state election laws across the country saw Idaho finish 38th in election security. While we are fortunate in having an elections office in Kootenai county that is among the best in the country, the state's election laws need to be overhauled. Affidavit voting, ballot harvesting, and loose voter ID laws create an environment ripe for cheating. Additionally, barriers to election challenges and forensic audits must be removed, so that thorough examinations of elections are easily done. We must be assured that our votes count.
4. How important to you is an endorsement from the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and a high rating from the Idaho Freedom Foundation?
Just to clarify, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee has not endorsed anyone, but has recommended me and other candidates. The support of the party that majority of voters in Coeur d'Alene and the rest of county are registered with is obviously important to me. It shows that I best represent the beliefs and values spelled out in the Republican Party platform, and I'm proud of that distinction. The party that was founded to end slavery and that gave women the right to vote has a proud tradition of individual freedom and equality, and I'm happy to represent that.
As for the Idaho Freedom Foundation, they obviously have not rated me, as I'm not yet a legislator. However, I think their process is a good one, and I wish that other organizations would do the same, so that voters can have a better understanding of what the state's legislators are actually doing. It's often a lot different from what's said on the campaign trail.
5. Give voters your best sales pitch: Why should they vote for you?
Politics is a lot like baseball. When you're voting, you're putting a team together. As a voter, you can't be there in the legislature to look at every bill, that's why you elect representatives. Just as when you a send a batter up to hit you're not in the batter's box to say which pitch to hit. If you're the manager you pick someone who you believe has the best chance, someone who can hit the fastballs and off speed pitches. You depend on the batter's instincts and ability to hit whatever is thrown. Just like a team manager, as voters you're assembling a team of players whose instincts -- their core beliefs-- will be most like yours. And I represent that, from fiscal responsibility, tax policy, government over reach, and election integrity. I'm sure you want me on your team.
Posted on 14 May 2022, 22:38 - Category: News