Gary Freeman

State Senator Legislative District 8

Biography & Background

I am a third generation Idahoan. I grew up in Richfield and Twin Falls and attended CSI for my associate degree and Utah State for my BS and MS degrees in Agricultural and Irrigation Engineering. I grew up on an irrigated farm/ranch in Richfield and operated it until 1985 when inflation, economics, frost, and high interest rates put an end to our farming life. We lived in Texas, Mississippi, Arizona, and Utah during our time away from Idaho. We have been back in Idaho for 10 years now and enjoy being home. My wife and I have four children and 11 grandchildren and enjoy their visits immensely.
I have worked in water resources engineering for most of my career. I started my career in irrigation and spent two years in West Africa working on an irrigation project on the edge of the Sahara Desert. We lived near Timbuktu (yes, it’s really a place). I served on two White House task forces evaluating flooding from the 1993 Mississippi and Missouri River Floods during a seven-year stint doing research for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. My interests are in natural resources, and I hold a PhD in water resources engineering from Texas A&M University and a law degree from BYU. I am a member of the Arizona Bar but don’t practice law.
We lived through two major forest fires since moving to the Pine – Featherville Area in 2011. We have experienced firsthand the impacts of environmental practices that have prevented the use of our trees for timber until the forests have become overgrown and destroyed in catastrophic fires.
My wife and I ran a motel for two years in Ketchum when we were newly married and a bed & breakfast for 6 ½ years in Pine, Idaho. As such we actively marketed our area for snowmobile groups and received the Idaho Snowmobile Assn. Business of the Year award in 2014. Thus, we understand the challenges of the recreation industry and the impacts of fees and taxes on their profitability. I also understand the farming/ranching business and the importance of managing our natural resources to keep them available for future generations. Unfortunately, in many areas the damage to our forests has been done and it will be decades before our forests are again available for harvesting.
My background is diverse and very well suited to represent the 8th District with its widely diverse areas and concerns. While I have multiple degrees and experiences, I am still just an Idaho farm boy at heart – down to earth and happy to associate with those in all he walks of life that are part of the 8th District.

Top 3 Issues:

1. Environmental Social Governance Scoring (ESG). ESG is an extremely dangerous idea that originated in the progressive left who are trying to bring about the end of capitalism. It calls for companies to be evaluated based not on whether they are making money, but what they are doing to end “climate change”, deforestation, and a list of other progressive ideas under the environmental topic. ESG evaluates your business under the social topic on how well you are doing on equity (equal outcome, not equal opportunity) and other “woke” goals. Additionally, it evaluates your company leadership (governance) including who you donate money to and how you lobby. After evaluating large businesses, the next step would be to apply these same items to individuals and small businesses. These restrictions include whether you can get loans or how high your interest rates would be, and could impact our ability to get insurance, licenses to do business, or professions licenses, and almost any other thing the elites can figure out how to regulate under their progressive agenda. As conservative Republicans our scores would be extremely low and our options limited by restrictions for those who businesses and lives are deemed “less desirable”. Do you produce natural resources and believe in freedom of choice? That’s an unacceptable belief among the “”elites””. The stated goal is to make sure the businesses that they do not agree with or meet the current evaluation criteria, are denied credit and other services that they need to succeed in the United States market as well as the rest of the world. The current treatment of Russia by large corporations (all ceased doing business in Russia) is ESG in action and we are cheering it along because we are against Russia. Multiple corporations suddenly ceasing to do business in a nation is alarming and should be viewed with alarm. If ESG can be used against a sovereign nation, how easily will it be to use it against you and me. Most of the large banks in the United States have already bought in to ESG. Search for your bank’s name and ESG to find out if they are already on board and reporting their results to shareholders (not stockholders). Something to look for is “”reputational risk”” which is a key phrase in ESG. If you do something against the “”accepted”” standards you will have “”reputational risk”” and ESG will be applied to your and your business. It’s basically bullying you into submission. I am strongly opposed to the use of ESG in evaluating businesses and individuals and would work to pass legislation that would prevent it from being applied to determine if businesses or individuals in Idaho can have access to banking, insurance, licensing, and so forth. Again, if ESG can be used against Russia and against Canadian truckers, how long before it will be used against those who out of favor with the “elites” in our nation?
2. Pseudo-Science – Climate Change, COVID19, and other Fantasies Alarmists have spent 140 years trying to convince us that the world is ending. First, we would starve to death from too many people in the 1880’s. In the 1920’s the glaciers were melting, in the 1960’s it was another ice age. The 1990’s arrived, and it was global warming. Then the temperatures quite rising in 2000 and it became climate change. The data has been manipulated for 30 years to prove temperature changes. The COVID19 pandemic was the latest effort to convince us that the world was ending. The only way to save ourselves was two weeks of isolation to flatten the curve. Two years later we are just getting past the restrictions. The “science” told us that masks were effective and other drugs didn’t work so we spent billions to develop “vaccines” that don’t vaccinate. Doctors having success with ivermectin, and hydroxychloroquine were immediately shut down and de-platformed. Now data shows that the alternative drugs worked when used early while Dr. Fauchi’s “protocol of death” required suffering until near death before treatment with expensive and experimental drugs. We need to ensure that data released by government agencies is accurate and truthful. Short term solution? A legal requirement that government agencies must present both accurate analysis and all relevant data to the public and scientists in a timely manner. The science with climate change and COVID9 is “political science” rather than real science and this needs to be corrected.
3. Our education system is struggling to meet the needs of our brightest students while trying to get other to focus and keep up. I believe we need a new paradigm in education and our current public system has not yet risen to the challenge. Billions of dollars poured into education are not producing graduates that meet employer requirements. The state needs to return power and control to local government so experimentation can occur on how to teach our children and grandchildren. The majority of our teachers are hardworking and dedicated to teaching. Issue #2 (above) is a failure to teach our students honesty and ethics and an understanding of how science works in our lives and in our society. Science in an open discussion of data and theories. When questioning is not allowed or opposing ideas are shut out, we experience repeats of COVID19 where only one side of the debate was allowed. Data now shows that alternative protocols worked and were more effective. I would introduce legislation that would require true science and ethics to be taught in high school and college so our nation can understand ethics and that true science welcomes honest debate and discussion. Unpopular opinions must be allowed if we are to be free – otherwise we risk future medical and scientific advances never being heard. Our universities’ responsibility is to teach students basic knowledge and “how to think” rather than “what to think”. Students must learn critical thinking in both high school and college.

Integrity in Affiliation

Submission: Yes

“I have read the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho Republican Party Platform. I support the Idaho Republican Platform and accept it as the standard by which my performance as a candidate and as an officeholder should be evaluated. I certify that I am not a candidate, officer, delegate or position holder in any party other than the Republican Party.”

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