Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why I'll Vote for Ken Andrus

I met Ken when he first ran for the legislature and have since gotten to know Colleen and him well.  I've seen that Ken has convictions and lives by them.  He has a wicked sense of humor that more than once has caught me off guard.  The main reason I'll vote for him though is that he is thoughtful and does what he says he will.  I've found that's rare with today's political leaders so I don't think of Ken Andrus as a politician but as someone doing the best he can for the people of Bannock and now Power County.

Education

The first campaign Ken ran talked about the fact that our teachers were paid too poorly.  He realized we lost many good teachers to neighboring states and our children suffered for it.  With experience as a School Board member, he took the issues he knew about and became a voice for our education community, parents, and children.  Today he still works for better pay for our teachers, more local control of funds apportioned to the School Districts by the State, and the best education we can give our children. 

Ken has a large family who has gone through the Idaho educational system.  He sees where improvement is needed to help our families thrive.  An issue he is devoted to is removing the State strings that hamstring Districts into using funds in specific ways.  Ken believes that each District has unique needs that they should be allowed to address locally.  He supports merit pay but believes that an amount should be given to each District and apportioned by the District not by testing standards.  He knows many of our best teachers get the hardest students.  They're these students hope for the future and shouldn't be penalized for helping the most disadvantaged succeed.

Agriculture


Ken is a rancher.  Going out to the ranch I learned how he improved his land to maintain clean water and fertile ground.  He has worked both sheep and cattle concurrently.  He's a true horseman.  I've seen him working at sheering time handling both sheep and huge bales of wool.  It's truly a fascinating process.  Meanwhile Colleen is canning some of the best jams or fruits I have tasted.  They shared their ranch for a time with tourists that wanted to get the feel of a working ranch.  With all this experience Ken understands the importance of our State Agriculture.  Ag is the top export of our State.  It accounts for $1.4 billion coming into our State according to 2009 records.  That total has only gone up.  We not only produce potatoes - trout, barley, hops, winter wheat, peas . . . are just a few of the ag items Idaho produces. 

The importance of keeping agriculture strong is no secret to Ken.  He understands intimately the issues of water our State faces and the burdens of Federal regulation.  His commitment to help Idaho voice it's opposition to the current EPA proposed water regulations makes him a needed voice in our legislature.  Most Idahoans don't realize the EPA is trying to control our water from the smallest mud puddle to the oceans.  The EPA wants to control our water instead of our State Officials that are accountable to us.  This cannot happen.  This is just one example of the over-reach of the Federal Government that Ken has first hand knowledge of.

Economy

Ken knows a diverse economy is the best way to assure a stable future for Idaho.  As a businessman himself, he has seen the difficulties facing all industries today.  He knows that increased taxation and regulation have made it difficult for businesses to thrive, create new jobs, and advancements that cement our place in the new economy while helping our existing economy grow stronger.  An example of the merging is the use of drones to monitor the crops on farms and help the farmers decide where changes need to be made to use their resources more effectively. 

Ken also knows geothermal and nuclear energy constitute strong building blocks for Idaho.  The abundance of geothermal here in Idaho provides unique opportunities we should utilize.  Meanwhile, nuclear is mostly a Federal issue right now but our Legislature has to work with our Congressional delegation to help move our industry at INL forward.  Recent experiments showing promise in the use of fusion would alleviate the issue of waste.  Idaho should position itself to take advantage of this technology as it develops.

 Infrastructure

Idaho's economy will need improvements to our infrastructure.  Improvements to our highways, energy grid, and resources all need to continue if Idaho wants to attract new, advanced businesses to our communities.  Ken realizes that without good roads transportation cannot support industry.  Our advanced manufacturing and agriculture must have good quality roads to support our industries.   

Federal Control


I could go on for another page about Medicaid, Federal Lands, and Obamacare but it's really about Federal Control.  Ken told me that some states have expanded their Medicaid rolls in their communities, paid the bills, submitted the bills to the Federal Government only to be told that they were not in compliance and would not get reimbursed.  Idaho cannot afford to have the Feds deny payment on these types of bills and Ken also reminded me that these funds can be taken away with a change in policy at the Federal level.  It comes back to self reliance since we cannot count on Federal Funds always being available. 

After President Clinton left office a total of 60% of Idaho was tied up in Federal Lands.  Many have said that we would not be able to take care of these lands ourselves but if we had self-determination on these lands selective cutting and grazing could decrease the danger of severe fires.  Revenues from these lands would support our Idaho budget and the ability to fight fires.  Many do not realize that the Federal Government has all but eliminated the budget for fire prevention moving that money to fire fighting.  The problem with this approach is that in the West the number of huge fires has gotten so large that the Feds have run out of money for these services.  The planes that drop the fire retardant and water on these fires are old and need replacement - the Federal Government has done nothing to help with this.  They've shut down grazing and selective cutting to a large degree making our forests home to kindling that any bolt of lightening can ignite.  State control could greatly reduce or risks of catastrophic fires.

Ken stood his ground on the question of Insurance Exchanges for the State of Idaho.  He was part of the minority that saw another way the Federal Government was trying to control our lives and voted against it.  Even after a call from the Governor, Ken said no - that takes courage.

Closing Thoughts

So after my long winded reasoning on why Ken Andrus should be re-elected I hope I have convinced all of you to support him.  I hope you will vote for him and talk to friends and family about doing the same.  He is a representative that has courage and wisdom.  He has the life experience to see things that a lot of us miss.  He is part of the majority party in Idaho and has the respect of the leadership because he is a man of his word.  For those looking for someone they can trust - vote for Ken Andrus, he'll help us realize the potential Idaho has for us and our children.

If you want to see more about Ken Andrus visit his site at www.KenAndrus.com to see ratings by other organizations, his comments on issues, links to interviews and forums.