I asked the campaigns of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff to tell me how they would govern over the next four years. I’m going to use their responses in some of our upcoming coverage of the race but I thought I’d share them in full with our readers.
"Idaho faces substantially different circumstances in the coming four years than we have in the recent past. But it was the difficult decisions that the Legislature and I made during the Great Recession that set Idaho on the path to a strong recovery and future prosperity.
Now we have started the process of reinvesting in our schools by implementing the recommendations of my Education Task Force. That includes a five-year plan for putting more technology into Idaho classrooms, improving local accountability, improving teacher preparation and increasing teacher pay and opportunities, and restoring operational funding.
Never miss a local story.
We also are realigning our workforce training and higher education needs in the context of my K-through-Career approach to meeting the demands of employers for more highly skilled employees while addressing the challenge of underemployment in Idaho. In addition, we must address Idaho’s long-term infrastructure needs – from transportation and energy to broadband connectivity and improved water management.
I remain committed to more effectively asserting Idaho’s independence and self-reliance from federal programs that are burdening our children and grandchildren with generational debt. Finally, I have learned during my time as Governor that public process is just as important as public policies.
All elected officials and indeed all citizens must take responsibility – now and in the years ahead – for making our state government more transparent and accountable to the people we serve.”
"Let's first look at Gov. Otter's record of governing with a supermajority of his own party controlling the Legislature. Where is his list of accomplishments? What has he done to make the lives of working Idahoans and families better?
After almost eight years, there's nothing there. His own party is in chaos. This is about leadership--or in Gov. Otter's case, the lack of leadership.
I learned long ago in business: You bring good people together to work on solutions--and you listen to them--but you have to give them direction and ultimately make decisions yourself. When you have a governor who doesn't stand for anything, you've got a train barreling downhill without an engineer in control.
"My election will represent a clear demand from voters that we invest in public schools, do more to create good-paying jobs, and restore trust and accountability in state government. I believe there are legislators who genuinely want to do what's best for Idaho's schoolchildren, families, businesses, workers, and taxpayers.
I've spent decades in business and on the boards of many non-profit organizations bringing people with diverse perspectives together to find solutions that work. That's how government should operate. It hasn't worked that way in Idaho for too long. I'm running for governor to fix that."