Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from Texas State University, Minor in Geography
Prior political experience
Volunteer organizer for presidential political campaign, sub caucus chair, elected state delegate, elected national delegate, elected precinct captain.
Actively involved in community organizing and volunteering.
Years living in Idaho
Husband, two sons ages five and two.
My three priorities for Idaho include education, preserving local control and private property rights, and ensuring Idahoans are healthy.
In the last legislative session, funding for education was restored to 2009 levels. Idaho ranks 49th in the nation for educational investment and restoring funding to the same level as the peak of the recession isn’t fair to our kids. We have a responsibility to ensure they’re prepared for their futures. Mismanaged funds and investment priorities mean our schools have been neglected.
This legislative session included bills to restrict local control through outlawing minimum wage increases, plastic bag bans, and municipalities the right to decide whether or not oil and gas speculation is right for our communities. Local governments are the most representative voice of the people and I support the right of individual and community participation.
The health insurance coverage gap must be addressed for the people, economy, and future of Idaho. I believe Medicaid should be expanded, and while there may be room for compromise, the goal is to provide access to healthcare and eliminate spending waste.
I believe Medicaid expansion is the best solution for Idaho. The most important thing is to ensure all Idahoans are covered and have access to necessary medical care and the state's redundancies and wasteful spending are eliminated. Expanding Medicaid would free up millions of dollars for the state to invest in education and reduce the burden of local district levies. When we put politics aside it is hard to argue against taking back the federal tax dollars Idahoans are paying into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to spend right here in Idaho. Politics should not stop us from seeing the fact that expanding Medicaid will result in saving Idahoans money, but most importantly, it will result in saving the lives of Idahoans.
I believe the prosperity of our state lies in our children and the commitment we make in their investment. Funding teachers who provide our children with quality education and ensuring the school buildings are safe and nurturing environments is critical. Idaho ranks 49th in the nation for educational investment, and Idahoans have taxed themselves over a billion dollars in the last seven years through local levies to close the gap in state spending. Expanding Medicaid would provide millions of dollars that could be allocated to education to reduce state and local burden. Emphasizing the importance of continuing education through accessibility will support Idaho's children as they grow into productive adults. Students who graduate high school with college credit have a higher go-on rate, and we should expand funding for advanced opportunities. In addition, students and parents need to be better educated about requirements, financial assistance, and application deadlines. Resources like Next Steps Idaho can go a long way and I will support programs like this that focus on empowering students and parents with the information they need to be successful.
The relationships among the federal, state, and local governments exist to create checks and balances in the system, to guard against consolidation of power, and to allow for people's representation. Idaho is a state made up of many diverse communities. Entrusting local governments to best know the decisions for their communities is an essential aspect of Idaho’s independent spirit. I do not support any effort by the state to take more ownership or control of federal lands. Federal lands benefit from an economy of scale with regard to personnel, maintenance, and fire management. When our state is struggling to provide decent education and unable to provide healthcare for thousands of Idahoans, it would be irresponsible to assume control and management responsibilities for federal lands. State control of federal lands will result in the selling of these lands to private interests and destroying the open access we enjoy today for hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking - activities that provide more than a billion dollars in revenue to our state annually. Our lands are a huge asset to Idaho and one thing that connects us all. We should work hard to protect that for future generations.
Three actions I would oppose: (1) S1339 - a bill that favors the oil and gas industry, consolidates state government power, restricts municipalities, violates private property rights, and risks the health and safety of our communities. (2) Actions to eliminate or restrict local control like outlawing plastic bag bans and local minimum wage increases. (3) Failure to expand Medicaid - the decision not to expand is political, not practical. We could save nearly $200 million dollars by expanding Medicaid while saving lives and providing adequate healthcare coverage to thousands of Idahoans.
Three actions that I would support: (1) Adding the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act because protecting every Idahoan from discrimination is an essential duty of our state government. (2) SB1297a - the bill for an online voter registration system that will save money, reduce error, increase registrants, and streamline the process. (3) Public Pre-K - Idaho is one of only five states without public Pre-K, and I will work hard to move that conversation forward so our children have the best possible start.
As with all elected bodies, the proper role of a part-time citizen legislature is to represent the constituents within their communities. They should come to the legislature with an interest to best serve the needs of Idaho and its people. The issues facing our state may be better addressed by a more full-time commitment that isn't restrictive in who's able to participate. Currently, legislators must have another source of income in order to make a living, and must be able to commit the time to campaigning and working the legislative session. In addition, part-time legislators have smaller staff and fewer resources available to enable them to make informed decisions on behalf of their constituents. This increases the ability of outside influence to gain a foothold in our state. Legislative term limits could also prove beneficial in ensuring more accurate citizen representation.
Like many people, I am dissatisfied with the national political climate and don’t feel well represented by my party’s nominee. I am opposed to Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, blatant and dangerous positions on women and minorities, and inability to display both an understanding of the issues facing our country and policy proposals to address those issues. I am uncomfortable with the alternative, Hillary Clinton, whose foreign policy, energy policy, financial industry ties, and inconsistent positions on the issues does not effectively represent me on the national level. I plan to focus on down ballot candidates who, like myself, are committed to the issues that affect us on a daily basis here at home. There are many ways our state government can be more representative of Idahoans, including adequately funding education, supporting local farms and small businesses, ensuring equality, advocating for working families, and protecting the land and independent spirit that make Idaho unique.
Attended various colleges and universities for technical training to augment advanced electronic and computers systems training received in the Navy
Prior political experience
6 years in the Idaho House, 4 years in the Idaho Senate
Co-founder of the Wyakin Warrior Foundation helping wounded veterans transition from the military back into the private sector. Member of American Legion Post 113, life member of NRA, Disable Veterans of America and various Idaho sportsmen groups.
Years living in Idaho
Wife Patty, Daughter Kristin and Son John.
1) Plan for and provide medical services for Idahoans and the growth of our State. I led a team that brokered the public/private partnership for the private investment of a new Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine coming to the Treasure Valley creating jobs and bringing clean growth to the valley. It will also help us, and the states in the region it will serve, better our 49th position in the nation for available Doctors to patients... at no cost to the taxpayer. I will continue to work on solutions to get these Doctors practicing in rural Idaho where the greatest needs are. 2) Protect and ensure the safety of Idaho's transportation infrastructure through proper maintenance and replacement of roads and bridges as needed through existing revenue resources. 3) Simplify our Income Tax structure by requiring reviews of all tax exemptions to ensure their initial need is still fulfilling their ongoing use. Flatten the income tax to below 5% through the use of use of funds now lost through these exemptions, while still providing the revenue needed statutory State services.
We need to find a solution for working Idahoans who don't qualify for ACA insurance subsidies because they make an annual salary below the poverty level. I believe that the federal laws that created the ACA were crafted poorly (as SCOTUS agreed) and those laws have Idaho, and many other states now stuck with finding a solution for this population. The federal laws now need to be flexible enough for us to negotiate a block grant for our Medicaid funds to be able to provide insurance coverage for all of those people at, or below, the Medicaid eligibility level. I drafted a bill amendment at the end of the session that would have allowed that negotiation this summer of our federal Medicaid funding. It did not allow implementation unless the Legislature agreed to statutorily implement and authorize the spending for it during the 2017 legislative session. That bill passed in the Senate 28-5, but was rejected in the House. I believe it would have provided the Legislature with one more option to resolve this issue during the next session, I will continue to look for more options. These folks are using costly medical services now that are driving up all of our medical insurance costs!
Article IX, section 1 of Idaho’s Constitution states: "it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” We do that, it’s been our number 1 budget priority since I’ve been in the legislature. We do spend a great deal on buildings, teachers and operations but it never seems to be enough. I constantly ask during the summer months why we aren't utilizing that infrastructure year around? We have a great deal of assets sitting idle while we continue to cite more need for infrastructure. In my business experiences, we maximized infrastructure utilization before we looked to purchase more, I’m not sure we are doing that well. We have some metrics concerns with our “go-on” numbers that have yet to be resolved. If a High School student goes to an out of state school, a trade school, the military or is delayed due to a religious mission, they are counted as "failed" within this metric, I disagree with that. Getting students to buy-in to college early is starting to happen more and more through our dual credit program, this is a great incentive program that gets them an early foot in the door!
The federal government has clearly stepped far outside it's constitutional boundaries. The executive branch creating regulations that have the same force and effect of law is just one example. The Idaho legislature works very hard to stay within our State's constitutional boundaries while also, in concert with the Executive branch, review all rule changes to ensure they remain within the intent of laws passed. There are times when the Legislature needs to set state wide standards to resolve public confusion on issues, setting a State minimum wage was one example. Businesses that do work in many areas of the state need those standards to ensure real compliance of the laws while not limiting how much they can pay per hour all over the state.
Because Idaho has such a vast amount of federal lands, we do need to have input/control of management over those lands within our boarders. The timberlands could be managed like our state endowment lands are now for revenue for our schools. Good management of timberlands means fewer costly fires that create air quality and sequestered carbon release concerns that pressure our general funds instead of augmenting them.
There were some good bills I supported that didn't pass, moving the remaining Highway funding of ISP to the general fund, for example, would have put another $15m on our highways without increasing any user fees. Increasing the poaching fines to keep up with inflation that didn't get traction this year was frustrating, you can get caught poaching an Elk and pay the fine now for less than the cost of buying a Cow! These are things that frustrate you when you are trying to find paths to get common sense bills through both bodies and then signed by the Governor. Many of these good bills will continue to get spotlighted until the majorities seem to agree... that's just how it works. I will still continue to work on tax reductions through exemption reviews, highway funding from existing revenue sources, healthcare for our citizens and the many other issues we see from potholes to Wolves to find common sense ways to resolve all those issues we deal with every year.
I believe our Legislature does work well, and always improving. I've found that there is much more work outside of the session that should be done to be an effective legislator, doing homework on complex issues are a must. I have worked on many off-session task forces to study issues and including more legislators with the public would be a practice that would better bring more elected officials up to speed on the complex issues being discussed and ready to debate the pro and cons of changes when we start the session. We spend too much time getting ourselves up to speed during the session, leaving little time for debate and drafting effective bills to resolve these issues. The easy stuff has been done, we all must spend more time learning the history and impact of our decisions on these complex issues which take, sometimes, years to implement so spending time on homework outside of the session is critical.
I do support Donald Trump. Idaho is a conservative state, in my opinion, we would have given our 4 Electoral votes to any conservative on the ballot as we will Donald Trump. I would have preferred a conservative candidate where states like Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and other swing states could have more easily supported because their Electoral votes are needed to put a conservative in the Whitehouse. For many reasons, we can't afford another Democrat leading the Executive branch. From the appointments of likely 3 new Supreme Court Justices, to our floundering economy and our growing $19.5T debt I believe we must have conservative leadership to help lay the pathways to economic recovery and a return to our Constitutional values. I will be voting for Mr. Trump and I encourage all conservatives to do the same.