fbpx

Robert Blair

State Senator Legislative District 6

Biography & Background

Robert Blair is a fourth generation Kendrick, Idaho farmer, entrepreneur, and agriculture advisor for AIGEN Solutions, an agriculture technology company. The farm is situated on the north side of the Clearwater River and not far from his Alma Mater the University of Idaho where he received his B.S. in Agriculture Business.

Robert and his wife Rhonda have been married 27 years. She is a special education teacher in the Kendrick School District and they have two sons, all four are Vandals. The family are lifelong members of Cameron Emmanuel Lutheran Church.

His precision agriculture journey started in 2003 using a PDA for simple mapping. That evolved into all different types of equipment, including Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) in 2006. Robert is the first U.S. farmer to own and use a UAS. His vision and advocacy of these technologies helped him become the Precision Ag Institute’s 2009 International Farmer of the Year. Robert has been on the leading edge of the precision agriculture utilization and is recognized as a domestic and global leader.

Robert received an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2011, taking him to South America for six weeks focusing on UAS, precision agriculture, and agriculture policy. During the fall of 2012 he spent three weeks in Germany on a McCloy Fellowship for agriculture. In Idaho Robert was recognized as one of the most influential U of I College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) alumni, received the 2013 Governor’s Award for Agriculture Technology and Innovation and was honored as a 2015 U of I CALS Distinguished Alumni.

Robert’s vision and leadership ability has been recognized by the positions he has held including president of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, chairman of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Research & Tech Committee, chairman of the U.S. Wheat/NAWG Joint Biotech Committee, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation county president, an initial member of Idaho’s UAS steering committee, an initial advisory board member of the Drone World Expo, and a member of the AGree Conservation and Crop Insurance Task Force. In 2020, Robert was named to the Federal Communications Commission’s Precision Agriculture Task Force Working Group “Encouraging Adoption of Precision Agriculture and Availability of High-Quality Jobs on Connected Farms.”

Robert is a lifelong Republican, and it was 2006 when he attended his first Nez Perce County Republican Central Committee meeting, eventually becoming Precinct 27 captain. From 2006 to present he has continued to support the Idaho and Nez Perce County Republicans by supporting Lincoln Day, hosting elected officials on his farm for meetings, working with elected officials and staff on local, state, and national issues, and working the first Idaho Republican closed primary in 2012.

In December 2021, Robert became the substitute District 6 State Senator for the 2022 Legislative Session. He was sworn into office January 7, 2022 by President Pro Tempore Senator Chuck Winder. Robert served on the Senate Committees of Agriculture Affairs, Resources & Environment, and Education. Robert was and will continue to be your strong Republican voice in Boise.

Top 3 Issues:

1. PROPERTY TAX RELIEF:
Property taxes are one of the three legs of Idaho’s tax stool, are a critical tool for cities and counties to maintain strong communities, and are the primary local funding source for K-12 schools. While we passed significant tax reductions this legislative session, I believe there is more work to be done, especially for fixed income and rural residents.
•Monitor the effectiveness of the homeowner’s exemption and circuit breaker relief and adjust accordingly.
•While I believe in local control, some counties are on a tax and spend spree. If needed, create legislation limiting the tax increase a county can make per year and/or in a three-year period.
•Create a state housing construction baseline that would create property tax relief for long-term residents that does not penalize them for new constructions increasing property values.
•Continue the Federalism Committee’s project to evaluate and determine monies the Federal Government owes Idaho for improper payment of PILT (Payment in Lew of Taxes) dollars.
•Look at a tax rebate system to offset housing rental property owners that would provide relief to renters.
•Work with local government and residents to find innovative solutions for property tax relief.
2. LOCAL CONTROL:
My voting record this session shows my commitment to local control and was a major consideration in some of my votes. There were too many pieces of legislation in both chambers that worked to take away local control.
In the Preamble of the Idaho Republican Platform, it states “We believe the most effective, responsible, responsive government is government closest to the people…” This session there was too much legislation brought forward that seemed to have thrown out this important belief.
I do not believe Washington, D.C. has Idaho’s best interests at heart, truly understands Idaho’s values and needs, nor does it want strong state control. D.C. wants the opposite and that is dependence. Unfortunately, the same can be said at the state level. Because there are certain groups that cannot make an impact at the local level, they are trying to govern locally from Boise. This is completely against the Idaho Republican Platform!
It takes courage, a strong voice, and conviction to stand up for Idaho Republican values against any entity that wants to diminish local control for whatever reason. I am, and will continue to be, that strong voice for District 6.
3. PRO-BUSINESS:
I am very Pro-Business and my goal is to bring Idaho into the top 10 of Business Friendly States because businesses create wealth, create jobs, and reduce the tax burden for all Idahoans.
These are key components that I believe are vital to Idaho being a top tier business friendly state:
•Strong Land/Resource Based Economy – Idaho’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and miners are critical to Idaho’s economic growth and success. During economic downturns, these industries help reduce negative impacts on all Idahoans. Article IV, Sec. 1 of the Idaho Republican Platform reads: “We believe agricultural education and awareness is vital to creating and maintaining a strong and vital agricultural industry.” This should be expanded to include forestry and mining.
•Strong Infrastructure – The ability to conduct commerce requires well-maintained roads, rail, dams, airports, connectivity, water, and electricity. I have always been a strong proponent of infrastructure and my personal history and voting record confirm that.
•Education – Idaho needs a strong and educated workforce to effectively compete in today’s global economy and attract businesses. This means properly funding common sense K-12 education, community colleges, and four year learning institutions.
•More Tools in the Toolbox – Idaho needs to better compete against states that have fossil fuel business incentives. Idaho needs to become more creative in finding solutions that can attract new businesses and retain/reward existing businesses in our great state, while not creating burdensome regulations, legislation, or regressive personal taxes.

Latah county Legislator Questions

What are the top three issues you believe our legislative district faces?

1. Rising property taxes are a significant challenge facing Idaho residents. Property taxes are one of the three legs of Idaho’s tax stool, are an important critical tool for cities and counties to maintain strong communities, and are the primary local funding source for K-12 schools. However, we need to ensure Idahoans do not get priced out of their homes. We passed significant tax reductions in the last legislative session, but I believe there is more work to be done, especially for fixed income and rural residents. 2. Last session, there were too many pieces of legislation that worked to take away local control from cities and counties. My voting record this session shows my commitment to local control and was a major consideration in some of my votes. I believe that government works best at the local level. Washington, D.C. does not have Idaho’s best interests at heart. It does not understand Idaho’s values and needs, nor does it want strong state control. Unfortunately, the same can be said at the state level. Because there are certain groups that cannot make an impact at the local level, they are trying to govern locally from Boise. This is completely against the Idaho Republican Platform! 3. I will work to make Idaho, and District 6, as attractive to business as possible. My goal is to bring Idaho into the top 10 of Business-Friendly States. Businesses create wealth, create jobs, and reduce the tax burden for all Idahoans. Idaho needs to better compete against states that have fossil fuel business incentives. Idaho needs to become more creative in finding solutions that can attract new businesses and retain/reward existing businesses in our great state, while not creating burdensome regulations, legislation, or regressive personal taxes. To do this, we need to maximize Idaho’s land-based industries like agriculture, forestry, and mining, which are critical to Idaho’s economic success. During economic downturns, these industries reduce negative impacts on all Idahoans Conducting commerce requires strong infrastructure, including well-maintained roads, rail, dams, airports, connectivity, water, and electricity. I have always been a strong proponent of infrastructure and my personal history and voting record confirms that. Finally, Idaho needs a strong and educated workforce to effectively compete in today’s global economy and attract businesses. This means properly funding common sense K-12 education and higher education institutions.

Describe two examples of state government overreach. What are your ideas to address these?

Top down legislation is not good at any level, whether it is Congress telling Idaho what to do or Idaho’s legislators telling counties and cities what needs to be done. The best government is that which is closest to the people. Two examples of state government overreach that took place in this year’s legislature are: • Corona Virus Pause – Senate Bill 1381 had good intentions, but it had long term negative impacts against businesses. The bill basically told businesses how to operate and what they could do. If people read the language carefully it only applied to new employee hires and was not retroactive. Also, it did nothing to repeal any federal law. It was also against two sections of the Idaho Republican Platform under ARTICLE XII. ECONOMY: o Section 1. Commerce and Industry; Subsection C. o Section 2. Support for Small Business; Subsection A. • Annexation by Cities – House Bill 635 was another piece of legislation that had good intentions but created state government overreach. Cities and counties do not need the state of Idaho telling them how to annex land. How I address government overreach policy is by reading each piece of legislation to determine if there is any attempt to usurp local control. Maintaining local control is one of the criteria I use for legislation and I talk with fellow senators telling them my concern, debate against the legislation in committee or on the floor, and vote no.

There’s an expectation that candidates must explain which potential laws they will promote if elected. Let’s flip that around and ask, “What existing law will you seek to repeal and why?”

Idaho’s liquor license laws portioning out licenses based upon population are antiquated and hindering growth in many of Idaho’s cities and rural areas, especially in District 6. There have been people waiting on a list in areas around the state for over 20 years, this is wrong. Also, people should not be using state licenses to speculate. I do recognize that the State of Idaho needs to have overall control of alcohol, but the distribution of liquor licenses should be an item of local control. The people and government at the county and local level know what is best for their area. I think it is crazy that legal aged Idahoans can purchase alcohol in liquor stores but must go to the “special few” establishments that have full liquor licenses. This is a perfect example of state government overreach on local government. I will work to give control and decisions back to local government regarding liquor license distribution.

A famous chant of Democrats since the 1980s is “You can’t legislate morality.” Should morality and virtue be considerations in public policy? If not, why not? If so, what standard will you use to decide what is moral? Can the “the will of the public” be wrong? If not, why not? If so, please describe your leadership role relative to public policy making when the public will is wrong.

Morality and virtue should be considerations in legislation. However, it does depend upon the legislation and intent. There are other considerations like local control that need to be considered. It also must be constitutional. Being raised on a farm, in a small rural community and with a loving family, I believe that has instilled me with a good moral foundation for hard work, a sense of community, and an understanding of what is right or wrong. Also, my Lutheran background and belief in God have provided me with a good moral compass. Too many times morality is thrown out the window and replaced with social and government overreach. I believe in “Doing unto other as you would have them do unto you” as a moral I use in my personal and professional life. I also we have a moral responsibility to protect those that are vulnerable. There are times when the “will of the public” is wrong. It also depends upon the definition of what “public” means. Does public mean a radical and vocal few? Does public mean the minority that is protected by the U.S. Constitution? Or does public mean just the majority? The Merriam-Webster definition of public and how I also view it is “Relating to people in general.” I will use SB 1381, the Corona Virus Pause Act, as an example. I do not want the government telling me I need a vaccine and I heard that position from the “public” on this bill. I also read the whole legislation and determined it did not do anything retroactively for current employees, it also went in a direction of government taking control of business decisions. When taking everything into consideration, it was a bad piece of legislation that could possibly do long term damage to businesses. As an elected official, my leadership role is to read the legislation, do research if necessary, talk with people of different professions (business owners, county or city officials, constituents, etc.) in my legislative district to better understand their support or concern. I also make sure that my position is stated for the record in committee and/or on the floor. I also use my own morals to make decisions. I am personally pro-life but anti-drugs. There are public opinions for and against each topic. When my position is opposite of some portion of the “public,” I welcome any questions and will explain the reasons for my decision.

Substantial portions of Idaho wilderness are controlled and managed by the federal government. What is your viewpoint on this land management issue?

The federal government owning and controlling land in states is very antiquated, especially in Idaho where 61.65 percent is federally owned. I do not believe in creating more national parks or wilderness areas, especially in Idaho. Idaho knows best how to manage the land inside its borders. While Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) was an attempt by the federal government to compensate Idaho for lost revenue, it has not only fallen short, it has failed. The federal government has also failed in proper land/forest management which is leading to more frequent and larger wildfires within our borders.

Please provide an example of an emerging public health phenomenon that you think warrants further research and investigation.

Fentanyl! With the current open border policies (or lack thereof) allowing for increased illegal drugs to flow into the U.S. and Idaho is a travesty. We need legislation with teeth that not only targets the dealer, but the suppliers as well, especially when a death takes place. This is murder and should be treated as such. We need to give the prosecutors the tools needed to do their job.

As Idahoans seek to be open minded and supportive, there is a visible struggle against women’s rights in sports as biological males use medical interventions to alter aspects of their biological gender. Additionally male and female adolescents are encouraged to make irreversible and devastating changes to their bodies. From your perspective, what challenge does Idaho face and are there any steps you want to take in response?

First, transgendered males should not be competing in female sports. My farming background knows that if I want breakfast, roosters do not lay eggs and bulls do not give milk. There are differences in gender. The challenge Idaho faces on this issue is from the judicial branch trying to create legislation. Idaho needs to stand its ground against any federal mandates or judicial legislation on this topic. Regarding gender altering procedures in Idaho’s youth, scientifically there is a big difference on how brains function between youths and adults. Adults are better able to think about long term consequences because they utilize the pre-frontal cortex. Youth on the other hand do not have that part of the brain fully developed and use their amygdala, which is the emotional part of the brain. I believe this is an instance where the state needs to step in. We protect minors by having legal ages for tobacco, alcohol, driving, etc. We have those ages in place to help protect them or the public until they are more mature and an adult. Idaho Code 18-1506B deals specifically with female genital mutilation and there was an attempt this legislative session to add to it by prohibiting transgender procedures in Idaho’s youth. That legislation failed. We need common sense legislation to protect Idaho’s youth until the age of majority from making decisions that are irreversible later in life.

If elected to the house/senate, you will be only one of 70/35 votes. Please describe the leadership you will provide to build coalitions to get things done.

My job as a senator is based upon three numbers: 36-18-1. For legislation to pass it takes 36 representatives, 18 senators, and one governor to be successful. I need to do the legwork in both chambers to find that support that will hopefully be veto proof. This requires developing good relationships with all members in both chambers, even those that I do not always agree with regarding their positions. For a coalition to work, it takes the support of the stakeholders and you fight the battle in private, not public if possible. An example from this session was Senate Bills 1251 & 1252 that dealt with making grazing a personal property right in federal/state land exchanges. I brought the stakeholders together to discuss their positions, points, and possible concerns. While the legislation was not successful, the process was. I have been successful throughout my volunteer and business life to use the described process to solve problems. However, it does take finding the common ground that a majority can get behind to be successful.

There are both Leftwing and Rightwing extremist organizations which strive to influence the making of Idaho laws. Please explain your approach to navigating these influences.

While serving in the Senate this session I received “voter sheets” from many different special interest groups. Sometimes I would glance at them, but I always threw them into the wastebasket. I do not represent any special interest groups, I represent the people and businesses of District 6. When looking at extremist groups on either side of the aisle, none of them follow the Idaho Republican Platform very closely. There are too many deviations. As an elected official it is my duty to listen to all of the constituents in the district regardless of position or politics. I may not agree with their position, but it is important to hear all sides of an issue. I am bound by my oath of office to uphold the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions. This is near and dear to me and at times those on the extreme sides do not adhere to the framework. I also take the Idaho Republican Platform seriously and this is also where extremists deviate from true republican values. First I listen, then I ask questions, and then I will talk about how I view a particular topic. I answer their questions the best I can on the subject and if I do not know enough I let them know I will look into it further. I cannot stress enough how important it is just to listen. We may not always agree, but everyone deserves respect. My agriculture background provides me with good skills to deal with extremists. It is similar to working cows, the work goes better when emotions are kept in check and patience is used. The cows are already under stress because their routine is changed and they can sense negative emotions. People are the same way, but they come with passion. My job is to de-escalate the situation so the meeting or conversation can be productive and not combative. Then there are times when those on extreme sides throw all civility out the window and cross the line. It is best to gracefully leave the meeting if it is in person. Regarding social media, I do not block or unfriend people because I believe their voice needs to be heard as well. I just do not respond to their attacks.

What are key differences between you and your Republican Party opponent(s)?

• Lifelong resident – I have experienced the good and bad in our district from Nezperce to Potlatch and everywhere in between. It is important to have district wide historical knowledge and experience because it leads to better legislation. • Farmer/Rancher – Our district’s economy is based upon the success of natural resource based industries such as farming, ranching, and logging. As a direct participant in these industries, I truly understand the challenges they face. • University of Idaho – I have been going to the U of I for different events since I started 4-H and having season tickets for the 81-82 men’s basketball team that went to the Sweet 16. I have worked closely with U of I Extension in many different capacities. I am currently on the CALS Soils & Water Systems advisory committee and have been on the CALS Dean’s advisory committee. In 2008 I set up and taught the precision agriculture lab and have hosted those students on my farm several years. My wife, two boys, and I are all alumni. In other words, I understand the important role the U of I plays in Moscow, Latah County, our region, Idaho, and for agriculture and forestry. • Dams – I am the only 2022 senate candidate that made time to attend a meeting about the four lower Snake River Dams this April. Dams are a very important issue for residents and businesses in our district. I have been on the front lines of that issue for over twenty years and it is important to have our elected officials at these very important meetings. • The Issues – While my opponents have talked about certain issues at the different candidate forums, they have not emphasized the issues that are important to the people in our district which are: o Lowering property taxes due to population growth, new construction, and high value land purchases. o Workforce – Businesses are hurting for workers and are reducing hours. o Infrastructure – We need better roads, bridges, and connectivity in our district. o Fentanyl/Drugs – We need tougher laws that will help prosecutors do their job better. o Land Management – Work with IDL to address shortfalls in their scope of work. o Transportation – We need to find ways Idaho can help address transportation issues. • I am the only candidate that can win against the two term incumbent democrat because of these differences.

Latah County General Questions

Latah County Oath of Office

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Idaho, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of (insert office) according to the best of my ability.”

Freedom: Explain your position on First Amendment rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Do you think these rights have eroded?

I hold the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in high value and I am always impressed with the job our founding fathers did to create our great Republic. I do believe First Amendment rights have been eroded. • Religion – I believe Christian values have been under attack for a long time while concessions have been made for other religions. This was not the intent, in fact the founders understood that all religions should be treated equally. In 2020, government went awry by banning religious meetings but allowing other meetings. Actions like that are against the Constitution. • Freedom of Speech – I believe that conservative voices have been denied this right many times. There are public institutions in the U.S. that have not worked to uphold this right for all of the people. • Freedom of the Press – The government should stay out of press issues unless they cross legal boundaries. While I do not always agree with things in the press (newspapers, magazines, social media, etc.) I do believe government should not get involved in private business unless laws are broken. Once government crosses that line we are no longer a Republic. • Peaceably Assemble – I was appalled with events that took place around the country and were being called “peaceful protests” while cities were burning. I also believe that if a citizen is following the laws, assembling in a peaceful manner, and not disrupting commerce then there is no issue. I know certain factions take exception to citizens assembling with firearms. As long as they are not breaking laws they are exercising their rights granted by the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions.

Race-Based Politics: Martin Luther King famously stated, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Also, the Preamble to the Idaho Republican Platform states, “We believe in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.” What is your perspective on race or sex-based politics?

I believe the United States of America is the greatest country on earth and my travels domestically and internationally solidified my viewpoint. However, there are portions of the United States’ history that we should not be proud of and should not be hidden. In Germany, every school child must go on a field trip to a WWII concentration camp. Winston Churchill wrote “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We cannot fix the past but we can work for a better today and tomorrow! As a republican, the Idaho Republican Platform states well the importance of equal rights. However, I believe society and government have gone too far, especially when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not want society to judge people by the color of their skin or any other criteria. He wanted all people to be treated equally and upon their own merits. Are there people that are still prejudiced? Yes. Can government fix prejudice? No. It starts at home! It seems like government and society are trying to take the family out of the equation. I believe if government truly wanted to address equality, they would not have questions that separate people into different classes of division based upon some type of parameter. We have a duty as citizens to help protect the weak and vulnerable. However, it seems that government crosses this line constantly by confusing “protecting” to mean “promoting.” That may help someone short term, but it hurts the individual and society long term.

Illegal Immigration: Over two million immigrants have crossed U.S borders in the last 15 months accompanied with human trafficking, drug trafficking, violent criminals, and potential terrorists that Americans are paying for financially and in other ways. What are your thoughts on local impacts resulting from illegal immigration?

Illegal entry into the U.S. needs to stop. Illegals puts Americans at risk for disease, crime, and potential terrorist attacks. Lack of control on our border is also leading to increases of drugs and fentanyl, especially in our region. I have two friends from high school that have each lost a son to fentanyl. This must stop. Illegals in the U.S. also lead to increasing prices for medical practices, insurance, and taxes that trickles down to District 6 taxpayers. Our borders need to be secured, period!

Limited Government: Describe your policy position on taxation, spending, and budgeting relative to state or local government?

Idaho is fortunate to be required to have a balanced budget, which means our costs cannot exceed our income. Idaho is also experiencing unprecedented growth which is increasing tax revenues. The new population is demanding more government services and needs such as roads, bridges, schools, etc. There is a fine balance to meet the responsibilities of government without growing government too much. We need to create better property tax relief for long time citizens whose property values have increased at no fault of their own, live on fixed income, and/or do not have the outside money to absorb this additional financial burden. I do believe in the three legged tax stool Idaho uses: Property, Income, and Sales taxes. Each has its purpose and demographic target. If we do tax relief it should not be in the form of a tax shift. The best way for tax relief is to reduce government spending. Government that is closest to the people is the best. Idaho is at a disadvantage to other states with the amount of federal land we encompass. If the federal government properly paid PILT dollars compared to similar land valuation, Idahoans would be spending less of their income on taxes. Also, if Idaho controlled the federal land inside our borders we would be able to generate revenue reducing the tax burden.

Problem Solving: Describe two difficult interactions you have experienced and how you contributed to a resolution?

I have three instances from the 2022 legislative session. The first was dealing with a legislative advisor (lobbyist). I was researching an issue from the previous legislative session and contacted the parties on each side of the issue. I wanted to understand the complete picture. One of the advisors reached out to the other side, chastised them, and wanted to get a meeting of all parties together instead of talking to me first to understand my thoughts. I had a talk with that person to not do that again, they needed to talk with me first. The perceived crisis was resolved. The second instance was dealing with legislation where one stakeholder did not have the support of the majority of stakeholders. To resolve this issue, I called two separate meetings to address the issues. While all parties could not come to a compromise agreement, they all appreciated the way I handled this situation. The third was talking with a constituent early in the session on a topic they were passionate about and that I was on the other side of the issue. I started taking the wrong tact, basically having a debate in public. Once I realized my role and responsibility is as an elected servant, I defused the situation. I told the person I respected their passion for the particular issue and would make time to talk with them on the topic. Once that happened, the person calmed down and the situation was resolved. The position of state senator is one of listening to people, not trying to make confrontation. Most people working on legislation are passionate about what they do and are protective of those ideas. While I might not agree with positions, I must remain civil and professional.

Republicanism: Do you subscribe to the Idaho Republican Party Platform? Describe any exceptions.

I proudly believe in the Idaho Republican Party Platform, have filled out that portion on the Idaho Republican Party website, and will do my best to uphold the Republican values with my listed exceptions. ARTICLE III. EDUCATION; • SEC. 3; o As a lifelong Republican, I strongly believe in freedom of choice. While I agree with the basic principle of Section 3, I do have some reservations regarding funding. Article IX, Sec. 1 of the Idaho 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.” The diverting of public monies to new school types is hurting small rural schools. My voting record shows that I support Section 3., but with reservations that it might be detrimental to rural school districts depending upon the wording of specific legislation. • SEC 10; o I believe in the right to choose and state funded tax credits are a solution to offsetting parent’s costs of that choice. Again, if the legislation is potentially detrimental to rural school district funding, I would closely review the wording of such legislation. ARTICLE XIV. AMERICAN FAMILY My voting record and floor debate strongly affirms my position on Right to Life issues. However, there are certain sections of the Idaho Republican Platform that I have exceptions with. • SEC. 3 Right to Life o Subsection A: I follow the laws and positions set in place by my religion (Lutheran) and that of the two largest denominations in Idaho, the Catholic and LDS churches that allow for certain exceptions. Our laws are derived from the Grace of God. o Subsection E: Again, God is the ultimate law and my faith and the two predominant Idaho faiths allow for certain circumstances.

Governance: The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” How will this declaration influence you in administering your office, if elected?

Our founding fathers chose their words very carefully and with purpose. The term “self-evident” means “clearly true and requiring no proof or explanation.” This means that all men have the same rights as the other person (with exception to criminals that have forfeited certain rights) and that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed if it does not infringe upon others. While the question refers to the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution affirms “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” As a senator, I take an oath to uphold and protect the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions and I take that very seriously. These documents are the foundation for all government and legislation. When I look at legislation, one of the first considerations is to how it fits into the framework laid out by both Constitutions. Does the legislation infringe on Life (abortion), Liberty (2nd Amendment), or the pursuit of Happiness (being able to live your life with limited government interference or interference from others)? If there is infringement, then my job is to rework or kill the legislation. If there are circumstances where legislation is needed to ensure that Idahoans and residents of District 6 rights are kept, I will work to get that legislation through the process. This is the simplest foundation of American government and needs to be considered in every piece of legislation and action government takes. I will fight to make sure these rights are not eroded away in Idaho.

Integrity in Affiliation

Submission: Yes

“I have read the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho Republican Party Platform. Except for the provisions specifically noted below, I support the Idaho Republican Party 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.”

ARTICLE III. EDUCATION
• SEC. 3;
o As a lifelong Republican, I strongly believe in freedom of choice. While I agree with the basic principle of Section 3, I do have some reservations regarding funding. Article IX, Sec. 1 of the Idaho 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.” The diverting of public monies to new school types is hurting small rural schools. My voting record shows that I support Section 3., but with reservations that it might be detrimental to rural school districts depending upon the wording of specific legislation.

• SEC 10;
o I believe in the right to choose and state funded tax credits are a solution to offsetting parent’s costs of that choice. Again, if the legislation is potentially detrimental to rural school district funding, I would closely review the wording of such legislation.

ARTICLE XIV. AMERICAN FAMILY

My voting record and floor debate strongly affirms my position on Right to Life issues. However, there are certain sections of the Idaho Republican Platform that I have exceptions with.

• SEC. 3 Right to Life
o Subsection A: I follow the laws and positions set in place by my religion (Lutheran) and that of the two largest denominations in Idaho, the Catholic and LDS churches that allow for certain exceptions. Our laws are derived from the Grace of God.
o Subsection E: Again, God is the ultimate law and my faith and the two predominant Idaho faiths allow for certain circumstances.