For far too long we have seen special interest groups put our private property rights, drinking water, access to public lands and quality of life at risk. Too often, our government has protected those groups instead of the citizens. Likewise, our access to healthcare, a living wage, property tax relief and a quality education should not depend on bills written in a back room by a handful of people heavily influenced by lobbyists.
That’s not what our founding fathers designed government to do. I will work across party lines to advocate for my constituents instead of special interest groups. Together we will protect Idaho’s heritage for future generations.
Protecting Private Property Rights
For most of us our home is the greatest lifetime investment we will ever make. It’s where we shelter our families and create our fondest memories, grow our gardens, raise our livestock and cultivate our dreams. It is our sanctuary, our peaceful refuge. But over the past decade the oil and natural gas industry has moved into Idaho, forcing us to reassess what the term property rights’ really means. Most people are shocked to learn that they may not own the ground beneath the surface of their homes and that whether they do or not, the state can legally force them to allow drilling and fracking a mere 100 yards from their home for oil and gas under their property. Oil and gas development is a dangerous and dirty industrial process that has contaminated drinking water, impacted air quality, triggered earthquake clusters, sickened people and animals and caused a massive backlog of legal challenges in states across the nation. Idaho is no different. Our property and Constitutional rights have been trampled, and laws designed to minimize the risk to our water aquifers have been violated.
Taxpayers are spending far more money to regulate this industry than they have ever received in severance taxes. The vast majority of jobs Idahoans were promised have instead gone to out of state workers. Property owners who were tempted by promises of lucrative rewards for allowing drilling on their land – are now embroiled in a major class action suit for alleged theft of their royalties. State regulators have been sued successfully in federal court by property owners who fought against this egregious violation of their property and civil rights. Major stretches of the Boise, Payette and Snake Rivers, along with hundreds of thousands of mineral acres across the Treasure Valley – including right here in D14 – have been leased for drilling and extraction activities. I have worked passionately for years to protect your property rights, the health and safety of your families and your water resources from the negative impacts of these operations. I will never take money from this industry, nor will I support irresponsible drilling in residential areas. I will always stand against laws that are more concerned with maximizing the short term profits of out of state companies than with the long term costs to Idaho families.
Protecting Our Water Resources
Extraction of oil and natural gas presents a very real threat to our irreplaceable water resources here in District 14 and beyond. Across the nation and around the world leaks, spills and deliberate dumping of chemical laden, radioactive waste and ‘produced’ water from these operations has a long history of contaminating drinking water aquifers and surface waterways - including streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. I will continue to advocate for both local and state level protections that guard our health, property values and tax base against contamination of our water resources from oil and gas development here in District 14 and across the state.
Additionally, District 14 residents of Northern Eagle and Star are facing a new threat if Boise pursues its plan to discharge up to 16 million gallons per day of partially treated sewage effluent into our Farmers Union Irrigation Canal. Wastewater from Boise industries and medical facilities will be mixed with residential sewage, treated with out-of-date technologies, and diverted into the canal in order to avoid more stringent requirements for historical discharge into the Boise River. Partially treated sewage effluent is contaminated with many yet-to-be regulated hazards such as pharmaceuticals, the 'forever chemicals' PFAS (see the film Dark Waters), and antibiotic resistance genes -- which do NOT belong in our yards, gardens, our kids’ sports fields and groundwater! Many of these contaminants mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system, leading to health problems including cancer and developmental disorders in children. This proposal would directly circumvent state code specifically prohibiting human contact with effluent, in order to sidestep regulations and save the city money. While taking care of our river is essential, discharging Boise’s wastewater into this crucial irrigation outlet would greatly concentrate its toxicity for thousands of residents who come into contact with it. I will seek and demand scientifically-validated solutions to wastewater reuse rather than allow our land to become a dumping ground, and the health of District 14 residents to be imperiled.
wildlife. The Gem State is a veritable paradise for hunters, anglers, mountain bikers, hikers, skiers, equestrians and more. Outdoor recreation is one of Idaho’s leading industries, bringing in billions of dollars in revenue every year and providing tens of thousands of jobs. I will defend the heritage of our public lands against private entities that buy immense property holdings and attempt to subvert our right to access our public lands that lie on the other side of that property. I am committed to repealing H658 - the incredibly dangerous trespassing bill which was passed on behalf of large landowners, oil industry lobbyists and other special interest groups, while ignoring the input of citizens who enjoy those lands. I will adamantly oppose the transfer of federal lands to the state and support more strategic harvesting of timber in order to reduce the size and scope of fires. The Idaho way of life includes the freedom to enjoy our magnificent public lands - now, and for generations to come.
Protecting Public Lands
Idaho’s public lands are one of our greatest treasures. As the population swells, it is becoming more critical than ever to protect what we love and what brought so many of us here in the first place: epic landscapes, pristine rivers, clean air and abundant
Healing The Economy
In a crisis like this we may not agree with every single course of action that’s taken, but we must unite to fight this virus and support our economy for the months and years ahead. It is critical that we balance the need to keep Idahoans safe with the need to keep Idaho businesses healthy. The significant spike Idaho has experienced in recent COVID-19 cases and deaths amplifies the need to monitor carefully as we re-open businesses, and our kids and teachers return to school. If we are not exceedingly cautious further setbacks could lengthen our economic agony. When I am elected I will support the utilization of $300M of the money received from the Federal Government to provide support to small businesses. That will help fill some of the holes that were present in the Federal program. My heart goes out to these entrepreneurs and their employees, who are the backbone of our economy.
Funding Quality Education
Education continues to be one of the leading issues for Idahoans. Because our state legislature continues to abdicate its constitutional duty to provide a “thorough system of public school”, our schools depend on supplemental bonds and levies. This creates inequity through the state and puts an unfair burden on property taxes. In spite of our hard working teachers, Idaho continues to see a poor return on our investment in the future of our greatest assets – our kids. Escalating drop out rates, low test scores and ‘go on’ rates, overcrowded classrooms, high teacher turn-over and the need for more affordable community college and trade schools must be addressed. We need to look at what some districts are doing well to raise national test scores and reduce drop out rates, and carry those programs to other districts along with the funding necessary to implement them.
I will advocate for the use of rainy day funds to mitigate the negative impacts our budget shortfalls will have on education – especially given the Governor’s recently announced proposal to cut $99M from education.
I will also propose legislation to allow the collection of impact fees from new development to fund new schools and other infrastructure. This will relieve our property tax burden while providing safe schools throughout our great state. Up to 60% of our nation’s inmates are illiterate and literacy levels directly correlate to the likelihood a person will become involved with criminal activities. This enhances need to increase funding to schools, particularly in reading intervention in primary grades.