Guest Opinions

Berch vote would bring change, balance and true independent thinking

Steve Berch
Steve Berch

Thanks to the Idaho Statesman editorial board for concluding that I am a man of character who would do a good job representing District 15. Also, thanks for allowing me a chance to address issues important to West Boise voters.

District 15 voters have a clear choice:

1) You can vote for my opponent, a 10-year incumbent who voted to cut education, dropping Idaho to nearly last place in education funding while raising property taxes. Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, has done nothing to stop Idaho from having one of the lowest average wages in the nation. He voted for the takeover of public lands. His deciding vote killed child support payment enforcement, resulting in a costly special legislative session to fix the damage he did. He sponsored the bill that effectively killed Medicaid expansion. He pushed the anti-Greenbelt bill through his committee. He even signed a loyalty oath in March 2014 to his party’s 14-page platform, which includes repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. If this happens, it will take away your right to vote for your U.S. senator and give it to the Idaho Legislature.

2) Or you can vote for Steve Berch, and support issues we all care about the most. I will work to improve education without raising taxes. I will work to attract and retain companies with good-paying jobs. I will fight to protect public lands from being sold to the highest bidder. I will support closing the Medicaid gap and provide vital services to honest, hardworking citizens who are truly in need. I will work to update 50-year-old fiscal policies that force school districts to float bonds and levies nearly every year just to keep the doors open.

As a businessman and an elected director of the Greater Boise Auditorium District, I have worked with a politically diverse board to make smart, long-term investments. This work will bring millions of dollars in economic growth to Boise — without raising taxes.

I also appreciate that the Statesman acknowledged I am “one of the most hardworking candidates of either party in the Treasure Valley.” I have knocked on nearly 11,000 doors in District 15. I’ve learned that to be a representative of the people, one must make the effort to actually meet and listen to the people. I’ve yet to meet anyone who my opponent visited at their door or even invited to one town hall meeting during his 10 years in office.

The Statesman editorial board rightfully noted that the next representative from District 15 needs to “think independently” from those who currently control the Legislature. Re-electing a 10-year incumbent whose party comprises 80 percent of the Legislature and who has helped drive Idaho to the bottom in education, wages and health care will not change anything.

For West Boise voters who want change, balance and independent thinking in the Idaho Legislature, the choice in District 15 is clear: Vote for new leadership. Vote for Steve Berch on Nov. 8.

Steve Berch is the Democratic House candidate for Idaho legislative District 15 A.