Pragmatic and responsible, Brad Little is ready to lead Idaho

In a state whose politics is dominated by Republicans, it is rare to have a Democrat burst onto the scene with the excitement and promise that came with Paulette Jordan.

Jordan, the first Native American woman to win a major party gubernatorial nomination in Idaho, spoke to the issues we believe are important to all Idahoans, and did so with a passion that propelled her onto the national stage.

Her dynamism was one reason we endorsed her in the Democratic primary.

But an inspiring presence is not a substitute for thoughtful, mature, responsible leadership and a record of demonstrable achievement.

Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little has an abundance of those qualities, and that’s why he gets our endorsement for governor in the Nov. 6 general election.

Little has a proven ability to work well with people of diverse interests and political persuasions. He is conservative but also pragmatic, and as a legislator, he avoided party-line votes.

As lieutenant governor, he has taken the lead in promoting economic development and can claim major success in putting together efforts such as the establishment of the $450 million Chobani plant in Twin Falls, which has become a major Idaho employer. Little recognizes the importance of developing funding sources for infrastructure improvements such as highways, bridges, and water and sewer systems.

He’s also headed up development of the state’s new cybersecurity program to protect Idaho’s extensive data systems covering everything from tax returns to criminal justice records to state financial transactions. Securing those systems is of the utmost importance, and Little’s work in this area has been significant.

He is a proponent of the five-year plan of the Task Force for Improving Education and would initiate a second five-year plan if elected. He would like the state to look at early childhood education and says he has a plan that be believes could gain legislative approval.

As a rancher, Little has a broad understanding of natural resource issues, such as public lands and water. Given the extent of resource-based business interests in Idaho, we believe that knowledge is critically important to not only Idaho’s economic health, but also to the health of our environment.

Although he is supportive of Proposition 1 on horse racing, we were disappointed that he has declined to state a position on Proposition 2, the Medicaid expansion proposal. As a governor, he won’t be able to avoid taking a stance on such critical issues.

Jordan continues to promote issues vital to Idaho, such as teacher pay, looking at Idaho’s tax structure and increased funding for professional technical education. However, her performance as a candidate raises questions about her ability to govern the state.

The turnover of Jordan staff members suggests either an inability to recruit competent staff or an inability to work effectively with others. We are also concerned about her lack of transparency.

Idaho is at a critical point. The state needs leaders who can manage its rapid growth while preserving the things that make Idaho unique.

Brad Little has demonstrated he has the skills required of a governor. He gets our support in this election.

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Statesman editorial board.