Freedom of Choice and Personal Autonomy
The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court is the latest in a harmful string of assaults on the fundamental human rights of Americans. Removing a woman’s control of one’s body is no less than re-creating a group of second-class citizens of our mothers, daughters, and sisters. Regardless of how we may personally feel about the abortion issue, together we must find a way to protect the freedom of choice and personal liberty. If we do not, all may suffer at the hands of ideological individuals seeking complete control of the individual rights of others based on their views.
True liberty includes the freedom to choose who we are as an individual. Therefore, we must be free to choose who we love and what gender identity we may personally select. Our choices are OUR choices, and as long as they cause no harm to others, they are our human rights.
Governmental vaccine mandates can make working people’s lives more difficult. If an employer wants to request that employees are vaccinated, that is their right. It is also the workers’ right to benefit from getting a required vaccination. We should be able to come to a fair agreement with the employer for wages, benefits, or conditions so that both benefit from being vaccinated to remain employed.
Right to Work
Working people have the right to work in a safe environment with hours scheduled in advance and at a good livable wage. We also have the right to work together as co-workers to reach an agreement with our employer on these issues.
Taxation and Revenue
The Idaho Legislature says they have been lowering income taxes for EVERYBODY but instead they have been putting more of the burden of running our state onto the working people and small businesses. We need a tax system that is fair and fully funds the needs of our state.
Eliminate the Grocery Tax
Idahoans pay this tax every time we buy food for our families. Sure, you get a credit for $100 when you file your taxes at the end of the year. It would be better for you to keep that money rather than give it to the state to give back to you as a credit.
Rising property taxes is not just a local issue. It starts with the Legislature; if they fully fund our schools and fairly share state tax revenue with our communities and school districts, it would reduce the need for local levies and bonds. Then our property taxes would be lower.
Idaho needs to go in a new direction to provide working families with opportunities for affordable housing. Purchasing a home is the working family’s method of building wealth. Unfortunately, our cities are collapsing under enormous housing costs while rural communities fade due to a lack of investment. Through collaboration, we can find an answer to this problem that will guarantee the human right to housing.
Schools and Education
The Legislature must fully fund our public school system. As a legislator, we swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of the State of Idaho. It says:
ARTICLE IX – EDUCATION AND SCHOOL LANDS SECTION 1. LEGISLATURE TO ESTABLISH SYSTEM OF FREE SCHOOLS. The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, 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.
I will protect and defend the Constitution of the State of Idaho to the best of my ability. Including holding other elected officials to this oath.
Fix Our Schools
The state Office of Performance Evaluation (OPE) reported in January 2022 that Idaho schools need $847,000,000 of work just to get them to a minimum standard of safety. The Legislature must immediately address this issue efficiently and effectively.
Contractors working in our schools must be vetted for performance, meeting timelines, on budget, with an excellent safety record, and employ Idahoans. This will ensure that we are fiscally responsible with taxpayer’s dollars and keep that money in our communities.
Build New Schools
As Idaho continues to grow, we will need new schools to send our children to. These new facilities must be high-tech, highly efficient, and environmentally sound.
Apprenticeships and Higher Education
We must support registered apprenticeships and higher education as a means of securing a better future for Idaho’s youth.
Registered apprenticeships are an underutilized path to a financially secure life where Idahoans don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. They provide training for careers as electricians, plumbers and pipefitters, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, carpenters, and many more trades and crafts that are needed in Idaho. No one should have to go into lifelong debt to get a quality education. Registered apprenticeship training is an affordable means of earning a living with the benefits of healthcare and retirement.
The path to an apprenticeship must be protected so that those who choose to follow it have the best possible opportunities after their training ends. Most importantly, apprenticeships should be legitimate programs for young Idahoans to better themselves personally and professionally. We must ensure that employers pay fair wages and provide real opportunities for growth.
For those looking to get a degree, we must ensure that our colleges and universities are affordable and continue to provide top-notch education. Before anything else, this means making sure that they are adequately funded and staffed.
The State of Idaho needs to increase the availability of Broadband Internet to our rural areas. Rural communities are what make living in Idaho great. In our digital age, it is imperative that these communities have low-cost, fast internet available to educate our children, do business and have access to the unlimited knowledge contained on the internet. We cannot wait or rely upon large corporations to build this network. This must be done by the State of Idaho and we have Federal funds to work with. We just need the political will to do the job.
Roads and Bridges
Yes, the Governor has committed funds to this in 2022, but it needs to be an ongoing fully funded plan. We need to maintain our roads to ensure the safety of our families and the ability to simply and safely get to work or our children get to school on a daily basis.
Public Access to State Lands
Our state lands must remain, not be sold off for short-term financial gain, and should be accessible to all. Camping, hunting, fishing, or a picnic on state lands should not need to be something that we need special permission from an out-of-state landowner to enjoy with friends and family. We must hold fast to this ideal for future generations.
As a State Representative, I welcome input from all working people on any of these subjects and I will work diligently to get that work completed.