Although the mobilization of the Guard seems like a logical issue to secure our borders there are some economic and human issues that we must consider.
Idaho has approximately 5,800 men and women who serve in the Reserves forces, Guard and Federal Reserves. Of that number, about 80 percent are employed in the private sector and Idaho has some unique numbers included. The impact to Idaho businesses during a mobilization is real and can be economically hard. Idaho has, as an example, one of the largest number of small businesses (less than 10 employees) than seven other western states. Activating a mom who works at a small business as well as a sergeant in the Army Guard leaves that business trying to find a replacement. Although there is law protecting the Guard member for her job when she returns, the business owner will have to hire someone to replace the guard member and then let the new person go when the sergeant returns. There are real economic issues to be considered due to mobilization.
Mobilization of the Guard needs to be serious and to be due to a real threat to our country. Securing the border may be one of those issues but we need to be aware of all the impacts and needs.
Kip Moggridge, past state chairman, Idaho ESGR, Boise