The Idaho Statesman editorial board’s cavalier dismissal of my independent candidacy for state Senate disappointingly places them in the same political corner as my opponent. Maintaining a low tax burden is important, and my opponent and I have similar positions in this area. But it is not the only issue facing us, and my campaign has focused on the shortsightedness demonstrated by my opponent and the Legislature.
I can be far more flexible in pursuing needed change, in contrast to my opponent, who must deal with the distractions and demands associated with his political party. In Eagle I achieved more in four years on the City Council than my opponent has in six years of office. I led the necessary and successful overhaul of the city budget by trimming more than 60 percent of spending in just one year and saving $1 million without sacrificing needed services. Add that to spearheading major improvements in communication and transparency, and I have shown my ability to make a lasting positive impact.
Fiscal responsibility and long-term planning are the central points of my career experience and campaign platform. Tax policy is only one piece of the puzzle. I will review the state budget to ensure we are funding critical programs while trimming the fat. At the same time, the Legislature should invest in the long-term needs of the state. My opponent and his party have shown no commitment to addressing those needs. Idaho cannot afford distractions such as legislative overreach and pushing for a “closed” primary election. These may have benefited the political party — they did not benefit the voters and taxpayers.
A wise agenda would focus on creation of job opportunities and growth in Idaho. At the same time, we should do what we can to preserve the Idaho way of life that encourages families to settle here. Our education system must be the best it can be and flexible enough to fulfill a range of job opportunities. The ongoing simplistic rhetoric of too many legislators diminishes the broader range of factors that can contribute to a better future for Idaho.
My candidacy is committed to including District 14 constituents in reaching decisions. I ask the residents of Eagle, Star, and northwest Meridian to vote for me to be their senator.
Al Shoushtarian of Eagle is an independent candidate for state Senate in District 14.