Hear candidates for governor speak in Boise next week — minus 1 leading Republican

From left, Idaho gubernatorial candidates Tommy Ahlquist (GOP), A.J. Balukoff (Dem), Brad Little (GOP)
From left, Idaho gubernatorial candidates Tommy Ahlquist (GOP), A.J. Balukoff (Dem), Brad Little (GOP)

Nov. 28 update: The times for this forum have changed. Please be sure to note the updated times below.

Three candidates for Idaho’s top elected position will take the opportunity to polish their outdoorsman credentials next week during the Sportsman Gubernatorial Candidate Forum in Boise.

Lewiston Tribune Outdoors Editor Eric Barker will moderate the event, which is sponsored by the Idaho Wildlife Federation and 17 affiliated sportsman and wildlife groups from across the state.

Wildlife Federation Executive Director Brian Brooks said Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist and Boise businessman A.J. Balukoff have accepted invitations to the event. Congressman Raul Labrador declined.

“Everyone who’s going is genuinely interested in how sportsmen want to see Idaho’s resources managed,” Brooks said.

The 90-minute forum will give candidates a chance to weigh in on a number of natural resource issues, including public lands access, public fish and wildlife management and hunter/angler retention.

The three candidates won’t all be on stage at the same time, Brooks said. Some of them preferred to avoid a head-to-head exchange, so they’ll come out individually and spend about 25 minutes answering questions.

“I think a lot of the questions will be identical,” Brooks said. “We’ll also be taking questions from the audience.”

The forum takes place Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Special Event Center in Boise State University’s Student Union Building. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. The forum starts at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a reception at Payette Brewing at 5 p.m. There is no charge for the public to attend the event, and free, on-campus parking will be available.

“This is an opportunity for the folks vying for Idaho’s top leadership position to communicate to Idaho sportsmen and women their opinions, strategies and solutions for addressing the complex issues facing Idaho’s wildlife, public lands and massive outdoor recreation industry,” Brooks said.

“We appreciate that the candidates have agreed to come down and talk to sportsmen,” said Michael Gibson, Idaho field coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Idahoans share a passion for the outdoors and the hunting and fishing opportunities it provides. I think they want to be sure their future governor shares that passion, or at the very least understands it.”

Spence may be contacted at bspence@lmtribune.com or (208) 791-9168.