Editor’s Note: The three announced GOP candidates for governor of Idaho — Lt. Gov. Brad Little, former state Sen. Russ Fulcher and political newcomer Tommy Ahlquist — are writing Guest Opinions about why they are running. First up is this piece by Ahlquist.
Imagine an Idaho where our children are thriving in school and graduating ready for Idaho jobs. A place where our small businesses, ranches and farms can operate without unneeded government interference. Imagine a place of opportunity where hard-working families can find good paying jobs. And a state government that is efficient and innovative. All this is possible with strong leadership from the top.
I am running for governor because I have the experience and conservative track record to make these statements become our reality and our future. Together, we can build an even better Idaho.
Idahoans need more good paying jobs, an education system that prepares our children for Idaho jobs, freedom from overreaching regulations and lower taxes so we can compete with our neighboring states. My experiences as a small businessman, ER doctor, husband and father have taught me the skills necessary to earn your vote and serve as your next governor.
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As a businessman, not a politician, I have learned how our economy works by actually creating jobs. For years I worked exclusively night shifts as a doctor in the emergency room, which allowed me to maximize my time during the day to start new businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, with the right partners, we have created several successful small businesses, creating thousands of jobs and investing more than $331,000,000 in Idaho.
We have seen some growth in Idaho with the economic recovery, but hard-working families all across this state deserve more. With fresh ideas, we can do more to create the kind of jobs our families need and the jobs that keep our kids in Idaho. Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy and if we are going to maximize our economic potential, we need a streamlined and efficient government that serves the people, not the other way around.
Ultimately, I believe Idaho’s greatest resource is our children. Despite words, task forces and good intentions, our system is failing many of our students. Idaho ranks 39th in high school graduation rates and only 20 percent of our kids are college and career ready when they graduate. We must do better. Education is the foundation of a robust economy. With visionary direction from the top, we will transform education in this state. Many of the answers to achieving excellence in education already exist. What we need is relentless leadership, local control and the ability to scale what is working.
I am not a politician. I come from the real world, your world, with a history of producing results. When I consider the tremendous opportunities we have in our state, the answer to “Why am I running for governor?” is simple – I want to serve, and I believe Idaho is ready for someone like me who brings a fresh approach and new ideas to our statehouse with a conservative blueprint for an even better Idaho. I look forward to sharing this blueprint with you over the course of this campaign and earning your trust and your vote.
Dr. Tommy Ahlquist, COO of Gardner Company and former ER physician, is running for governor with a conservative blueprint for building an even better Idaho.