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Statewide Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Farm Bureau believes it is important for you to have relevant information upon which to base your vote when you consider candidates for statewide elected offices.
Each qualified candidate in a contested primary race was given the opportunity to answer questions on topics 
selected by the IFBF Board of Directors.
Similar to televised debate criteria, candidates were required to meet a minimum level of campaign donations raised according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Below are the answers from the candidate in their own words and have not been edited. This information is provided here for you so you can make an informed decision at the polls on May 17.

 

Steven Bradshaw - Running for Idaho Governor 




1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?


-The global population is estimated to increase over the next five years and beyond. The biggest challenge I see the agriculture sector facing is meeting the demands of growth and the increasing global environmental pressure while maintaining sustainability and profit. The
Idaho agriculture industry has proven the ability to overcome challenges while continuing to produce a majority of Idaho's domestic product in a global market. Idaho farmers and ranchers need a decrease in nonsense regulations and increase in incentives to meet the demands of growth, output and environmental challenges they face.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- The Federal Government holds title to over 40% of Idaho land. All private citizens have an interest in property rights as it represents domicile, forestry, grazing, mining and recreation. The federal land management directly affects the State of Idaho's livelihood.
Transferring of title of these properties to the State would allow for better management of these lands to the benefit of local community economic and social welfare. Special environmental interest groups should be evaluated as to motives for land management and how those interests would impact local communities and economic social welfare of those communities.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- The rule of law speaks to a good neighbor policy in which land title can be retained by the federal government but specific land management is managed by local appointed or elected officials. This would apply rights based principles on which the land would best be used for the benefit of the land user and local community.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- Idaho water ways are a right to use. Due to extreme drought in Idaho it is imperative that water shortages are allocated under the rule of law as outlined in the prior appropriation doctrine pointing to the date the water right was acquired. With that stated, there are circumstances in which this doctrine may be challenged or appealed. One example of this could be an agricultural need over a manufacturing need as outlined in the Idaho State Constitution, Article XV "Water Rights".

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- The more serious answer is the US Constitution provides all US Citizens the right to freedom of movement. It's up to Idaho residents to teach the newcomers what Idaho is about, what freedom and liberty actually looks like and to respect the rights of their new neighbors. Additional legislation toward something like this is pointless and would be overbearing and would wreak of big government.

 

 

Edward Humphreys - Running for Idaho Governor 

 

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Farmers and ranchers currently face drought, overregulation from government, a massive increase in fuel costs, erratic commodity prices, supply chain shortages for essential parts and products, and threats from anti-American activists. In short: the livelihood of the entire Ag community is under serious threat. Food production in our state is not only vital for the well-being of our families, but also a vital national security issue. As Governor, I will put the interests of farmers and ranchers in our state as a top priority.

My plan is simple: When we shrink government and cut taxes, everyone does better.

Shrink Government. As a finance expert I have studied literally thousands of pages of state fiscal reports. Under our current leadership, our state government has grown 32 percent in 3 years. The state government has 20 departments and over 180 agencies.  Reducing the size of government will reduce costly regulations and threats to essential freedoms.

  • On Day 1, I would start reviewing the budgets of every agency. It’s my commitment to leverage the line-item veto against waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars. I will cut the budget of any state agency that funds unconstitutional, anti-American, or wasteful programs
  • I will ban all agencies of the Idaho State Government from hiring contract lobbyists or retaining lobbyists as staff.
  • I will fight federal overreach into our freedoms and begin the process to divorce ourselves from federal grant money that comes with strings attached.
  • I will require government agencies and administrative rules to be within the confines of the US and Idaho Constitutions.

Cut Taxes. Based upon 2021 figures, Idaho sales tax was higher than 33 other states. Our fuel taxes were higher than 31 other states and our income taxes were higher than 39 other states. As a finance expert, I am prepared to enact a true tax decrease, not a shell game where taxes are raised elsewhere.

  • While reducing the size of state government, I will utilize state budget surpluses and cash and investments (PERSI pension funds NOT included) to permanently abolish Idaho Income Tax with no disruption to essential services. For the average Idahoan making $50,000 a year, abolishing Idaho income tax will return an estimated $3000 into the family budget. Eliminating income taxes will start an upward economic spiral and add more capital into our economy. This will allow us to divorce ourselves from our heavy dependence upon federal grant dollars.
  • Property taxes, while necessary to fund local governments, are weighing heavily on Idaho landowners. My plan will cap property tax increases, make property taxes predictable over the lifetime of property ownership, and eliminate unconstitutional supplemental levies. No one should lose their property from skyrocketing property taxes.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

-Property rights are central to the Founder’s vision and to the well-being of our nation. We must protect the individual’s exclusive right to use their resources as they see fit. Landowner’s rights must be clearly defined and enforced. I emphatically reject leftist activists who think “the land belongs to all of us.” As an elected official, one of my most important responsibilities is to make sure that no law and no executive order in any way harms or interferes with the property rights of farmers and ranchers and their ability to feed our nation. We must be vigilant to ensure that existing and new laws, codes, agency regulations do not infringe upon these rights. Therefore I have made it a priority that our state agencies and administrative rules operate within the confines of the US and Idaho Constitution.

 

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Roughly 61 percent of Idaho is federal land. Idaho has natural resources needed for national security and the well-being of our state, but we cannot use them. I favor an effort to cede federal lands back to the state and put them into permanent iron-clad land trusts. The lands should be wisely managed and available for use by the people of Idaho.

The ongoing strategy of the State Land Board is multiple use, but greater protections are needed for farmers and ranchers. State land is constitutionally mandated for use to generate revenues for Idaho’s Education Endowment; therefore, a legal precedent has been established that favors the “highest bidder” for leasing public lands. In 2021, a sheep rancher on the Idaho Wool Grower’s Board lost his grazing lease because he was outbid by the well-funded Western Watershed Project, a radical environmental organization. The current State Lands “objection process” did not provide grounds so that people could object. I will work with organizations like the Idaho Wool Growers and the Idaho Cattle Association to prevent further loss of grazing land which is crucial in drought years. I have published a State Lands Policy Summary that states other positions related to State Lands at www.edforidaho.com

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- I strongly support the first in time, first in right priority doctrine. It is one of the bedrock principles to maintain the orderly use of Idaho’s limited water resources. Drought conditions fuel the potential for conflicts over water usage. Farmers and ranchers need to know that those in charge of administrating the lawful distribution of water have adequate resources to protect their rights.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- My candidacy represents a bold new approach. Career politicians are ruining our state and our country. We must stop putting our tax dollars into private organizations that promote leftist ideas. Let’s do something different and bring fresh ideas into a government mired down in mediocracy. We need a plan that offers real solutions to problems in education, housing, the labor force, and infrastructure.

My plan centers around the funding of state government because following the money is a surefire way to get to the bottom of things. The Governor of this state oversees the Division of Financial Management which crafts the budget recommendations for every single agency. If you want to improve government services, then change how you fund the government itself.

Having grown up in an immigrant family, whose mother and brother fled communism in Eastern Europe, I grew up on the ‘other side of the tracks.’ I’ve lived in poverty, worked blue collar jobs in the oilfield and construction, finished college, became a Financial Advisor, and completed a Masters in Finance. Those experiences have given me a unique perspective and tremendous grittiness.

I wholeheartedly believe our communities benefit when individuals are empowered to reach for their potential. It’s that sacred opportunity I want to preserve for my young children who must navigate a divisive, contentious, and increasingly crazy world. My family is putting everything on the line because we believe it’s NOW or never to make a serious course correction.

 




Brad Little - Running for Idaho Governor 



1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Idaho’s incredible growth comes with many opportunities but also challenges for Idaho’s important agricultural industries. Just to name a few - federal regulation, water, and competing resources. Growth is best managed at the local level, and we need to make sure local communities are planning for “smart growth.” Farms feed America and power Idaho’s economy, and family farms need to remain part of the fabric and heartbeat of our local communities. During my first term we have made unprecedented strategic investments in water infrastructure and quality. These investments will better position Idaho to combat some of the excessive regulations coming down from the Biden administration

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- Property rights are enshrined in Idaho law. As Governor, I have worked hard to protect and maintain the lightest hand of government on private property owners. As blue states around us continue to disregard private property rights, Idaho will continue to protect the dream of most Americans to feel safe and secure in the ownership of their property.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Idaho has abundant and vast public lands, and we need work to increase access for recreation and pragmatic resource management. Idahoans depend on these lands for their livelihoods, and I will continue to push on the Biden administration for the responsible
management of our lands in Idaho.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

-As.a rancher and farmer, I understand the scarcity and importance of water in Idaho. Without the priority doctrine we would not be able to prioritize the delivery of water in a way that safeguards our property rights. Some of my investments in water include more efficient storage and delivery systems to stretch this finite resource as far as possible.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- We need to continue investing in our rural communities and promote responsible and reasonable land management because our communities rely on it. Farmers, ranchers, loggers, and mill workers depend on continued, predictable access to our natural resources.

During my first term I reduced regulatory friction at the state level and made Idaho one of the friendliest places to do business. In fact, we cut or simplified a remarkable 95-percent of regulations since I took office! I am proud that Idaho now claims the title of “least regulated
state in the country.”

My family has a long history in Idaho agriculture, and I understand firsthand the negative impacts of excessive regulation. With our efforts to cut red tape, we are removing rocks from
the shoes of small business in Idaho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janice McGeachin - Running for Idaho Governor 

 

 


1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Across the country, we are seeing the loss of traditional family farms due to the increase in corporate farming, and a shift in priorities and values in younger generations. We are also facing increased foreign competition that is driving down the value of American agricultural
products. I support America First policies that prioritize our country, our products, and our economy. We must make sure that American farmers (and manufacturers) aren't competing with slave labor in Communist China. In Idaho, we must do more to remove tax burdens and regulatory obstacles that stand in the way of traditional farming.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- A robust defense of property rights is one of our country's foundational principles. Idaho must take care to protect property rights from being weakened by federal intrusion or by radical groups seeking to use the court system to prevent property owners from using, enjoying, and developing their property. We must make sure that in Idaho, protecting property rights always remains a top priority.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- The federal government has done a poor job of managing land and frequently ignores stakeholder input. We have seen roads and trails closed without sufficient justification. I support increased access to and productive use of Idaho land in a manner consistent with Idaho values. One of the most important ways for Idaho to balance these needs is to shift management of federally-controlled land to the state.

I would add that one of the more significant challenges with land management policy overall isn't balancing the needs of all land USERS; it's protecting our right to USE our land from those who don't want it used at all. I support the responsible development of Idaho's rare earth minerals, and I would like to see the University of Idaho School of Mines reopened.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- Protecting water rights must remain a priority in Idaho. I support the priority doctrine as it preserves the value of and usability of longstanding water rights. Idaho has done fairly well in managing water rights, but I am always willing to sit down with stakeholders and discuss their ideas for how things could be improved.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- There are two main kinds of people who move to Idaho. There are those who appreciate Idaho values and who decided to move here because of them. Then there are the folks who come here and bring failed ideas from places like Oregon or California with them. I believe in the principles of individual liberty, state sovereignty, and traditional conservative values. I believe that those who share these values will be more comfortable in our state. Obviously, we can't deny entry to those who don't share these values, but we can continue to adopt
policies that make it clear what we believe in here in Idaho.

One example is firearm rights. Washington State recently passed a law limiting magazine capacity to just ten rounds. Leaving aside the questionable constitutionality of this law, folks who like such policies should really choose to live in Washington or California, not move to
Idaho and try to change our strong, pro-gun culture.

In Idaho, we defend the sanctity of life, stand up for gun rights, and protect property rights. We shouldn't shy away from these beliefs. Our state legislature should continue to pass laws that are consistent with Idaho values, not make excuses and put good, conservative bills in the drawer just because a loud minority opposes them. We saw that happen multiple times this session including important bills to defend children against abusive medical procedures, and to protect children from obscene materials and unlawful sex education in public schools.


As Governor, I will encourage the legislature to pass legislation that protects our traditional conservative values while also reducing taxes and regulations, so that our farmers, ranchers, miners, and small business owners can prosper. Idaho should be the state where
conservative families feel most at home, and I look forward to making that happen.

 

 

 

 


Scott Bedke - Running for Idaho Lieutenant Governor 

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- I believe water rights are a major issue that will continue to be front and center for Idaho’s agricultural industry. I’ve had success in mediating and settling longstanding water disputes that have plagued Idaho for decades. Between summer droughts and Idaho’s growth, these issues will likely continue, and I am committed to using my experience to find solutions that will work for all parties. Whenever we can avoid these costly legal battles through negotiation and legislation, we should do so.

I also believe federal regulatory issues will be a challenge going forward. We must ensure that federal agencies, like the EPA, USFS, and BLM are not encroaching upon the rights of farmers and ranchers. Currently, federal fiscal policy has resulted in unsustainable price increases. This kind of inflation raises our basic input costs in a way that we cannot sustain for long.

That leads me to my last issue of concern, labor. Finding and retaining a skilled work force has become increasingly difficult. We need to look for opportunities to expand our workforce development, beginning in our public school system, to make sure that Idaho always has a
well-educated workforce.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

-Protecting property rights is the main reason I entered politics. To make a long story short, a federal bureaucrat threatened to run my family ranch out of business over water rights and other issues. The BLM and USFS tried to take away our right to utilize the water on public land. Under Idaho’s Constitution, all water in the state must be put to beneficial use. The federal agencies tried to claim that they qualified for the water right by using our livestock. Eventually the court upheld our water rights claim to utilize our state-based water right on
public land.It has always been, and will continue to be, my priority to protect private property rights, because that is the foundation on which everything else is built.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Like many other issues, the best way to balance the needs of all is by ensuring an honest and open line of dialogue where all stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process. Since 1976, the multiple use concept has served us well. As Idaho grows, there will be increasing demands on the amenities that we have all come to expect from the public lands in Idaho. Cooperation, coordination, and communication have been the keys to our success to this point and will continue to be so in the future.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- Living in the arid West means that the use and conservation of water will always be a driver in our policy decisions. In Idaho, we conjunctively manage the surface water and the ground water as one resource. Our water policy is predicated on the principles of “first in time is first in right.” I support this. As water users, we have proven that we can negotiate and solve the inevitable conflicts that arise as scarce water resources are allocated. This will continue to require our best efforts. I believe that my experience in this area uniquely qualifies me to be a useful contributor in water policy decisions going forward.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- By electing conservative, pragmatic, proven leaders. Idaho didn’t fall its way to the top. We are the fastest-growing state in the Union, both in population growth and in economic activity. Our state has been discovered for a reason: because Idaho is the best place to live, work,
and raise a family. As Speaker of the House, I’ve led the charge to cut red tape and make Idaho the least regulated state in the nation. By doing this, we’ve bolstered an already probusiness environment that benefits small and large businesses.

 

 


Priscilla Giddings - Running for Idaho Lieutenant Governor 

 


1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Government overreach is now causing serious problems for agriculture. For example, excessive regulation and grossly inappropriate domestic policy will bring severe inflation, skyrocketing fuel prices, and ever higher fertilizer prices along with supply chain issues which will affect every element of agricultural production. Idaho needs strong leadership, especially in the Executive, to counteract rampant government overreach and lower taxes and production costs to normal levels.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- The right to work toward property ownership has been at the root of the American dream from the founding of the country. In a time when fewer and fewer people make their living off the land, the progressive agenda is to keep increasing property taxes to fund their social
programs. If it is fully realized, the end state of the progressive agenda is full communism, with all property owned and managed by the state. For this reason, individual property ownership is the root of our conservative principles, our financial independence, and our
freedom; property rights are and always will be the antithesis of liberal ideologies. Idaho needs strong leadership in the Executive, and as Lt. Governor I will continue to advocate for property rights and use my influence to oppose carveouts for international businesses (i.e. Facebook) that transfer tax burdens onto property owners.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- As the state continues to fill up with refugees fleeing from the socialism infecting our neighboring states, we will need to expand the opportunities for those refugees to interact with our treasured outdoor spaces. At the same time, those vast public spaces are and must
remain the backbone of our economy. Mining, logging, farming, livestock, and most of all the independence, work ethic, and conservative values of the people pursuing them made us a
state that people flock to when their homes are overrun by woke policies. A huge part of the solution is fostering an honest desire and intention to see the land carefully and responsibly used. Too many state and federal bureaucrats are motivated by a clear desire to see the land closed and left unused and desolate, or blackened by the endless fires brought on by terrible management. We must faithfully steward the wonderful land resources we have in Idaho, with a full intention of seeing the land preserved through use.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- First in time, first in right was written into the constitution, and with it we have the guiding principle established which, must continue to be followed and protected. Idaho needs to take a proactive approach to increase water storage, invest in recharge efforts, encourage
conservation where it is possible, and in general strive to get the most and best use out of this precious resource. We must fiercely resist outside interests if they try to dictate our water use, but also attempt to work with Federal agencies and other entities to maximize the
storage, irrigation, power generation, and wildlife potential of our water. There will only be increasing demand for our water as we continue to grow and prosper, so we will continue to need to carefully balance the addition of new uses with the protection of the old uses.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- Constitutionally, government exists to safeguard the rights of the people. The way to avoid excess regulation is to return government to its constitutionally limited role. According to our Founding Fathers, government's purpose is to secure the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (our Founders expressly included property rights in the last). Government which is required to stay within the bounds of this carefully defined role is not able to create excess regulation. We must fight to keep government in check, but we also need to continue to welcome new business and people, at the same time we make it clear that this is a state by, for, and of conservatives who value hard work, independence, and self-reliance.

 

 

Phil McGrane - Running for Idaho Secretary of State

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Our quality of life and conservative values are attracting people from all over. As our population grows, it increases some of the challenges facing agriculture in our State, namely: Urban Encroachment – As the demand for housing rises, so does the demand for our land. As a state, we need to be constantly mindful of the value of our productive agricultural land while also respecting private property rights. This requires community engagement and decision-making at the local level. Finite Resources – Water, Land, and other resources in our State are limited. With the growth comes a much greater demand for the natural resources we rely upon for farming, ranching, and more. We need to ensure we have policymakers willing to recognize the importance of food security and our agricultural roots. Private Property Rights – As we grow, we need to continue to protect and respect personal property rights. We need to limit the interference of government and recognize these rights. Urban sprawl and development can create both pressures and opportunities for property
owners, including farmers

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- In Idaho, we believe in limited government. This is best recognized by respecting private property rights. Each landowner should feel secure in determining what is best for their land. As we grow, we need to protect these rights and ensure that those coming to our State
respect these rights as well. Whether maintaining a farm or selling one's land, we need to respect the rights of landowners.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Our lands are some of our most cherished resources. It's one thing they aren't making more of. The Idaho Land Board plays a vital role in helping maximize the use of our land while also working with users and partners to ensure the many benefits of these lands in the long term.


I am proud to have the support of the Idaho Logging Contractors PAC and the Idaho Cattleman's PAC. Both are key partners who rely upon our state and federal lands for timber harvests and grazing. They each recognize the mutual benefit that comes from working together to ensure we protect our lands and maximize their return.


Some of the biggest challenges we face are protecting our lands from fire and environmental policies restricting their use. The Land Board is a leader in working with our neighboring landowners to protect what we have. It's important that we continue to advocate for the expansion of the good neighbor authority to assist in managing the federal land in our State to help reduce the risk of fire and other dangers that impact neighboring landowners in Idaho.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- As a fourth-generation Idahoan, I learned the importance of water in this State at a young age. When attending law school I made it a point to study water law. I recognize the importance of the prior appropriation and the beneficial use doctrine. Water is the lifeblood of
so much of our State, especially agriculture. As we grow, we need to continue recognizing our existing water rights while also ensuring that we maximize the beneficial use of this finite resource. This will become an increasing challenge as more people move into our State and
create new demands for power and tech that will compete with the food producers of our State for our water. I am committed to working with our Farm Bureau to ensure that future generations can benefit from what has been built in our State.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- My grandfather taught me the value of living off the land, helping a neighbor when they need a hand, to be fiscally conservative, and the value of a hard day's work. These weren't his values; these are Idaho's values. I want my children to share these values as they grow up in this State. As people move in and outside groups attempt to influence our State, we need to be vigilant about protecting these values. As Secretary of State, I am committed to ensuring transparency in our campaign finance laws and holding those accountable who try
to influence our State.

 

 

Dorothy Moon - Running for Idaho Secretary of State

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Water is the biggest issue. We as a state need to focus on recharging our aquifers and reservoirs. Infrastructure projects should prioritize repair of our water reservoirs while improving aquifer recharge where and whenever possible. We cannot support removing the lower Snake River dams. The dam’s irrigation, power and recreational opportunities and habitat enhancement are key contributors to Idaho’s economy,
prosperity, and ways of life. Even though the dams are downstream their removal would send shock waves with serious consequences for all Idahoans, especially those in agriculture.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- Property rights are fundamental rights from which all other rights originate. We cannot be free and prosperous people without the security of private property. People’s homes are they’re largest asset while all prosperity comes from the land in one form or another. The protection of private property is paramount in any free society. Today property rights are under attack from exceedingly high taxes and regulations that loom over all owners. The burden is so great that many fear losing their homes, their farms, and ranches either through excessive taxation or debilitating regulation. The elderly are especially
at risk. Many have lived in their homes for decades and now face eviction because property taxes have priced them out. We need to reduce property taxes so people can remain in their homes and enjoy the blessings they have acquired over their accumulated lifetime. A
reduction in government spending is where we need to begin. Growing government has significantly contributed to many underlying problems we face. We as a State should work to become independent of federal funds and the mandates they attach to our economy. Dependency is never a pathway to independence.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- I have always encouraged public land managers to open access to our public lands for use and enjoy instead of closing forest roads or locking off areas in travel plans, overlays, and study areas. Federal and state government agencies should manage our endowment and
federal lands working for the many interests of the people of Idaho.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- I strongly believe Idaho water rights should be first in time, first in right. The real issue in my mind is of beneficial use. Idahoans should benefit from Idaho water use first. We should not allow the selling of water and rights where water goes down the river without priority of
beneficial use.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- I would encourage growth to move into areas that have little productive agricultural use. Explosive growth in the Treasure Valley and elsewhere is impacting productive lands that will hurt agriculture in the long run. Idaho has a live and let live mentality which has drawn many refugees from California, Oregon, and Washington. Idaho should wisely regulate growth when it comes to water availability and competing agriculture uses in high growth areas. Increases in population will have negative aquifer drawdown consequences that will affect all Idahoans. Careful study is necessary.

 

 

Mary Souza - Running for Idaho Secretary of State

 


1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Major challenges to agriculture in Idaho are inflation, fuel costs, and a serious shortage of available labor. The drought last year was also serious, and may continue into future years, especially in the southern part of our state. Other threats come from our governmental policies, such as proposals to remove dams on the lower Snake River, tax decisions, business regulation, fee structures on endowment grazing lands, and water containment, conservation, and distribution. Elections Matter!

We must continue to push against unreasonable Federal regulation, support improvements to our immigration policies, and protect our transportation, including waterways. As Vice Chair of Senate Commerce, I have been active in reducing regulations on all business, especially Agri-business, which is the lifeblood of our economy. Our legislature removed many career-entry obstacles for professions such as veterinarians, hydrologists, truck drivers, and wild land firefighters.
As Secretary of State, I will bring my experience as a business owner of 37 years, along with my 8 years of Senate experience and strong working relationships. The SOS’s Business Division registers businesses, certifies documents, prepares important UCC filings, holds
many registries including a registry of Agricultural certified seeds, and more.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- Property rights are a high priority in Idaho. We passed extensive legislation on trespass, protecting land rights and controlling unauthorized use or damage to lands. We have also passed residential property rights legislation, including important home defense protections. Continued focus on property rights protection will be needed as Idaho’s population increases
and technology advances.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- I am a candidate for Secretary of State, so as a member of the Land Board, the top priority is the maximum revenue from endowment lands to the beneficiaries, as is clearly outlined in the Idaho Constitution. The Idaho Department of Lands manages the state lands, and activities on the lands, such as timber sales, grazing leases, farming, recreation, mining, and conservation. IDL has policies for these diverse uses and the enforcement of rules to protect both users and resources.
This legislative session we had an important bill to provide hazard pay for wild land firefighters when they are working on an active fire. These workers are essential to our grazing land fires, forest fires, and protection of our valuable natural resources. My second opponent for the SOS job, Rep. Dorothy Moon, voted NO on this bill and also NO on the budget for IDL.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- I do support and endorse the water priority doctrine because it offers an organized, predictable method of water distribution. Having served in the Senate for 8 years now, I know that water is like liquid gold in our state. This is true from the timbered areas of North Idaho, to the livestock and feed sectors of southern and eastern Idaho. Last year’s serious drought was damaging to grazing lands, livestock, forests, and our economy.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- The best way to protect our Idaho culture is to elect effective, conservative public officials who are beholden only to the citizens, not to any outside group. Elections Matter! In 2020, Facebook money came into Idaho to operate our elections. My opponent, Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane, took $500,000 of this money, without consulting the SOS or reporting to the state. I was the first lawmaker alerted to this problem and the first in the US to draft legislation blocking this kind of dark money to run our elections. You can read more about Zuck Bucks on my website: marysouzaforidaho.com So, are elections safe in Idaho? Heritage Foundation’s new Election Integrity Scorecard ranks Idaho #38 out of the 50 states. We can do better. It’s like leaving your barn door open—even if the horses didn’t get out, you close the door when it is discovered. Let’s fix the weaknesses in our election system so we can build public trust that every vote counts!

 

 

 

Raúl Labrador - Running for Idaho Attorney General

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- In an increasingly integrated global economy, for Idaho's agriculture economy to remain competitive we will have to ensure that our farmers have access to a stable labor force; modern and affordable equipment; and the least-restrictive regulatory structure. Legal questions are an important part of these issues, including legal questions related to water rights; predatory commodity dumping from overseas; and burdensome federal regulations. As Idaho's Attorney General, I will work to make sure that legal obstacles that stand in the way of Idaho agriculture are simplified and that Idaho is aggressively defending the agricultural "backbone" of our state economy.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- The Founding Fathers recognized property as the essential basis of a free republic. A government that does not recognize private property rights will not recognize any limitation on its power. As Idaho's next Attorney General, I will work to keep private property rights at the center of our state law and, where appropriate, I will bring suit in state or federal court to vindicate the property rights of Idaho's people. Also, I will also stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Idahoans who fight in the courts to vindicate their rights, or the rights of their fellow-citizens. We have a Constitutional Defense Fund designed to compensate Idahoans who prevail in litigation. I’ll ensure this fund compensates Idahoans fairly for the rights they defend or vindicate for our people.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Idaho's elected policymakers in the legislature must work to balance the interests of land users through carefully crafted law and minimal regulation. As your Attorney General, my job will be to enforce those laws and ensure that all interested parties also follow the law.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- With Idaho's growth there will be increasing pressure on one of our most precious--but limited--resources: water. If the fights occurring throughout the West are any guide, it is likely that the future of water rights in Idaho will be contentious. But with the right leadership -- and
the power to convene opposing parties or disparate interests -- we can navigate the future without falling into the pitfalls that have been disastrous for many of our neighbors. I am the right leader to do so. I respect the doctrine of “first-in-time is first-in-right” as a cornerstone of
our state law and that should form the starting point for any discussions about what the future will look like.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- Our beautiful home has been discovered. This is a blessing and a burden. The Idaho Way of Life is now a proven standard such that many of our fellow Americans want it for their families. But we must manage this growth and ensure it does not destroy the strength of our
communities, our agricultural heritage, or the beautiful and rugged landscape of our state. The first trap we must avoid is thinking that growth can be reversed or eliminated. Next, we must ensure that we remain nimble -- excessive regulation or onerous laws that penalize our economy or undercut Idaho's traditional industries, like agriculture, will drive Idaho in the wrong direction. Instead, we must maintain what makes Idaho such a great place to live while remaining vigilant and responsive to the changes that come with our state’s current growth.
Policymakers in the legislature and county and municipal leaders throughout the state will have the primary role in shaping how we respond to growth. As Idaho’s Attorney General I will ensure that the policies and regulations implemented by the legislature and local elected leadership are consistent with our constitution and laws and are fairly enforced.

 

 

 

 

Arthur Macomber - Running for Idaho Attorney General

 

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

-I see this question as a policy question and not a legal question. Even so, the challenges shared with me on the campaign trail include threats to husbandry practices, land-use practices, water usages and shortages, and a diminishing respect for private property rights.


In my view, husbandry practices must remain under the control of the individual farmer or rancher, from purchase or breeding, branding, corralling, animal nutrient acquisition and distribution, reproductive practices, dairy and other food production, through treatments for disease, and the methods and practices of animal kills and disposal. In each of these areas, Idahoans are under severe regulatory pressures from both State and federal sources. Regulation of husbandry practices should be done by Idaho through local sources using verified information and continual education. Private regulation through cooperatives, granges, or Farm Bureau organizations will always be preferable to government controls, which tend to become unwieldy and too restrictive over time. When one sees a problem in husbandry practices, their first approach should be to investigate and argue for the private solution. Private solutions are flexible, locally-oriented, and can be altered rapidly toward best practices.


Idaho’s Attorney General’s responsibility in animal husbandry matters is minimal. Title 25 allows the State Department of Agriculture to investigate and correct issues of the husbandry economy. That said, the Department of Agriculture is an executive branch department, and thus the legal assistance of the Attorney General’s Office is available to the Department of Agriculture should specific circumstances beyond the resources of the Department of Agriculture or the local prosecutor arise.


Land use practices since Idaho’s Local Land Use Planning Act of 1975 (LLUPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) have resulted in a steady erosion of private property rights negatively affecting farmers and ranchers on both private and public lands. The LLUPA started with required Comprehensive Planning for cities and counties, including requirements for zoning and subdivision plans by those entities. Now the policy planners have taken over, and zoning changed from allowed uses in a zone, into what one can build in a zone for such uses, then how to build it down to the sizes of nails and screws, and now into how one can use what one built in the zone. In short, the property owner brings the money and the dirt, and the government will tell you what you can do with your private property. In the least, LLUPA should be made optional to restrict it to the cities of a certain size, and leave the rest of the private landowners alone, subject to valid claims of nuisance or proven wanton environmental degradation.


The Attorney General handles appellate felony prosecution, and most LLUPA violations are misdemeanors handled by the County, and its Prosecutor. Local control works best here.


FLPMA froze federal titles in some 63% of Idaho lands. Grazing practices, easements, and water rights are severely impacted when the federal power refuses to dispose of real property. The three methods for sale of federal lands under FLPMA are overly restrictive. Market transfers with prior investment credits for long-term lessees, or at least rights of first refusal to those who have invested in the land should be the primary method for evaluation of sales. Further, management of most federal lands, certainly including the 40% of Idaho titled in the Bureau of Land Management and the 15% of Idaho titled in the U.S. Forest Service should be actively managed by the State of Idaho or private users by contract. Idahoans know how to use their own lands, and the federal power and its title ownership should be minimized.


The Attorney General should have a focus on the transition back to the federal land disposal policies that ruled until 1976. A multi-decade transition must occur, if Idaho is to regain access to its full natural resource base. State management of federal lands cannot be the end goal, but only a near-term goal. Navigation through applicable law should be a primary contribution of the Attorney General’s Office working with federal and State resources to relieve State dependence on federal money and to reinvigorate Idaho’s natural resource economy.


Water uses are under attack. The notion of removing three Snake River Dams is a direct assault on the agricultural stability of Idaho families and Idaho’s economy. The dams must remain. Further, water allocation must remain the province of the laws of Idaho in its Twin Falls water court, including all federal claims and uses as authorized to be handled by Idaho under the McCarren Amendment. The traditional priority rule of “first in time, first in right” has served Idaho well, and attempts to undercut it by water district rules or new Title 42 statutory allowances for in-stream flows or fish must be resisted and overcome.


The new Attorney General of the State of Idaho must have a deep understanding of water issues to fight the federal power to give Idaho management of federal lands. This role includes water policy under the McCarren Act and local wildlife management and controls on federal lands, and then to lead a forward-looking effort toward superior land disposal policies. Further, the Attorney General must be a stalwart supporter of private property rights when the executive branch Departments of Water Resources and Quality expand their visions or policies beyond statutory allowance.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

-Private property rights are the anchor and underpinning to Idaho’s prosperity. Rights to the use and disposal of real and personal property by owners with title allows the most productive uses to occur, because of the general experience that no one fouls their own nest. To the contrary, title owners have the most at stake in the competent and cost-effective uses of their property without creating environmental harm. Private owners come to learn their lands and know over time its management toward sustainability better than outsiders, whether government officials or private interlopers like environmental organizations. Thus, private property owners must have the absolute right to exclude unwanted visitors, including governmental inspectors without appointments, and including drone flyovers by any organizations whatsoever, especially drone usages under 500 feet over private property airspace. Your Attorney General must fight for these principles.


Further, private property rights and the values that support a clear understanding of them can best be transferred to future generations by families. Fathers and mothers are the best people to train their children in the values and importance of the rights and usages of the private property that undergird our Idaho Republic. Every officeholder must stand behind and defend every family’s right to lead the tone and pace of their children’s understanding of private property rights, including in the curriculums in our school districts. For the farmer or rancher, private property rights extend to the right to divert water from natural sources to beneficial uses. Taking ownership over the diverted water, and skillfully stewarding its use without environmental harms is a hard-won skill that takes years of effort and investment. Your State Attorney General must stand behind Idaho farmers and ranchers in defending our values against all these threats.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- The Attorney General does not make federal or State policy. However, he has a contribution to make from a legal standpoint. Multiple use and sustained yield are the watchwords of FLPMA, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. This includes the idea that a strict land use management plan for federal lands is and should be required, including a policy of non-disposal and the repeal of the several mining and homestead acts of the last century or two. Unfortunately, we have found these policies are more of an attempt to satisfy all potential users of federal lands from San Francisco to New York, rather than policies that accord with actual, possible, and the overall best uses of Idaho public lands.


Oil and gas leasing on public lands in Idaho, stopped by the Biden Administration, should be reopened. This is especially true given inflation and fuels availability nationwide triggered by the Administration’s false and misleading preference for alternate and allegedly sustainable solar and wind power. Idaho is called the Gem State for good reason, and mining of silver, gold, cobalt, and the creation and enrichment of nuclear fuels, thorium, and other more reliable fuel sources must be encouraged by policymakers. Navigation through the law can come from the Attorney General’s Office, until I put licensed, legal opinion-giving attorneys back in the legislative branch where they are needed to avoid the conflicts of interest arising in 1997 by reallocation of State legislative legal counsel to the executive branch.


State endowment lands governed by Article IX of the Idaho Constitution and administered by the Idaho Land Board have different priorities and financial goals than the federal lands. Our children’s education is funded by endowment lands, and so a perpetual fiduciary duty must be adhered to for the long-term investment endowment lands represent. Since these lands are for our children, our children should be educated outdoors in and across those State lands with exposure to their rights as hunters and gun owners, and with training in how to be stewards of the values in those lands by hands-on training in the fields and mountains of Idaho. We need to begin raising our boys and girls outside again – and Idaho has the land to do it!


Balancing the needs of competing land users should be a function of private and contractual rights in the land and its uses, but federal and State lands should have permanent blanket easements for in-State hunters to assure families are fed. Mining, forestry, grazing, and other uses must be encouraged through leases, if not outright sales of public lands. Small farmers, ranchers, and long-term lessees must be given preference to sustain family operations. Unfortunately, but realistically, the needs of all potential land users cannot be met. State and federal centralized planning processes have resulted in excessive regulation of uses, degradation of our forests, non-thinning practices leading to wildfires, and a halt to mining of productive minerals even when environmentally safe practices can be assured.


Fewer regulations would be a good place to start, which is why I propose as Attorney General to fire some staff and give the legislature back the attorneys that it lost in 1997. I plan no growth in government, simply a transfer to the correct allocation of legal resources. With a Legislative Counsel’s Office, the Constitutional Amendment I wrote in 2018, which is Section 29 of Article III of the Idaho Constitution can be given some teeth, and the 722 sets of IDAPA regulations can be cut down to size. Even if some of these processes are not directly in the bailiwick of the Attorney General, the bully pulpit must be used to raise and push forward these issues that are supported by Idaho values, the proper relationship between our two Constitutions, and the efficient operation of the State separation of powers functions of our Republic.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- The traditional rule of “first in time, first in right” has served Idaho well. I see no reason for changing it. Idaho’s State Attorney General must rise to fight attempts from any sector to alter or dispose of that policy. This fight depends upon the knowledge and experiences of individual water users in support of that policy, which must be available as examples of the superior moral and ethical position represented by it. The priority doctrine is fair and equitable, but Idaho needs to be vigilant about encroachments to the doctrine in the name of the so-called social good beyond a particular basin. While water markets may be useful in certain basins, the core doctrine must always be respected and unabridged by the State, federal, or Title 42 district powers. I am a strong supporter of Idaho’s priority doctrine.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- The Attorney General’s job is less of a policy-making position than a law enforcement position. The State’s “top cop” must fight federal overreach and encroachment on Idaho values and sovereignty. This usually happens by the filing, joining, and involving the office in lawsuits both local and nationwide to advance Idaho interests, values, and to defend its principles. I plan a “strike team” of attorneys who will look for federal and State instances where Idaho must assert its sovereignty, either in existing lawsuits or in new ones to be initiated. In this way, Idaho’s Attorney General will be leading the fight for Idaho without waiting for another State to spot the encroachment and lead the way! Idaho can lead, if it has the gumption!


Avoiding excessive regulation can occur both through policy choices of the legislature to put regulatory power at the local level to accord with genuine differences in Idaho culture and economies in Idaho, but more concretely by allowing the Legislature Counsel’s Office to vigorously undertake IDAPA rule review, see Section 29 of Article III, Idaho Constitution. The legislature has no time on its own, and we do not want or need longer sessions or a full-time legislature.


However, explanations about the law itself when Statewide issues arise, and a bully pulpit speaking to citizens and government actors is an important component of the Attorney General’s job. The incumbent’s narrow view of the definition of the “State of Idaho” in section 67-1401 does not include the people of Idaho, even though he is an elected official with an oath to support and defend Idaho’s anchor Constitutional documents. His fundamental misunderstanding of the balancing of legal representation of Idaho’s formal government with the Article I Idaho Constitutional rights of the citizens is an error that has harmed Idahoans. So, even when a lawsuit cannot or should not be initiated, the Attorney General must not be silent. Whether he speaks on the suspension of jury trials, the taking of children from their parents, or the design of school curricula to lead our boys and girls astray onto some social justice battlefield, your Attorney General must rise, speak, and fight for Idahoans! Speaking truth to power, initiating a check on overweening exercises of power, and setting the public narrative on issues, while never backing down on what Idahoans know is right should be a primary aim of a good Attorney General. I plan to be that Attorney General.

 

 

 

Lawrence Wasden - Running for Idaho Attorney General

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- Agriculture has many challenges including water, labor and market pressures. The drought is taking a huge toll and competition for water will only intensify. Agriculture is innovative and efficient in using water. We need strategic and targeted investment in water storage and
delivery. Other states complicate the labor market, Idaho must ensure that we are not making the labor market more difficult. Feed, fuel and fertilizer costs are rising. We must continue to curb unfair competition. Last year, I asked USDA to investigate consolidation among meat
packing and processing companies. I will continue to challenge burdensome federal regulations.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- Property rights are the backbone of our republic. One of the reasons we declared our independence was to end the absurd property privileges of the monarchy. America was founded on the principle that all men are created equal and part that equality is property ownership and the right to deal with your land as you choose. If self-determination is a precept of liberty, then liberty rings hollow without private property rights. My office publishes the Regulatory Takings Guide to help evaluated the regulatory burden of government action. I consistently push back on the federal government’s unnecessary regulations through objections to EPA regulations, limiting the impact of federal polices such as WOTUS, and insuring that application of the ESA does not infringe upon private property rights.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Idaho’s lands are critical assets. These lands and the waters that flow over and under them are the backbone of our economy. We best manage them by remembering that if we spoil the water or the land, then we spoil someone’s way to earn a living—and most likely the
effect will be much broader. But we also must be mindful of the significant impact of government regulation and carefully balance competing interests. For example, a farmer may look at a river and see an irrigation source, while a river guide sees a rafting resource, and
they both may look to the river for fishing. The water both divides and connects us through these uses. If there are no farms, we risk starvation. This means we must consistently insure that we balance our regulatory actions in a manner that protects our ability to feed society. Idaho is currently confronting a loss of farmland because it is more lucrative to subdivide and develop land than it is to farm it. We must be mindful of the incentives created by government regulations and their long-term impacts on our ability to feed ourselves.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- Article XV, § 3 of the Idaho Constitution guarantees prior appropriation as the water law of the state of Idaho. My duty is to uphold the Constitution and to follow the rule of law— since prior appropriation is constitutionally the law of Idaho, my duty is to defend and uphold it. I have done so and will continue to do so. Prior appropriation ensures that water is used orderly and efficiently. I have consistently and continuously defended Idaho’s prior appropriation system. Through my leadership, my office has assisted stakeholders in
navigating the adjudications in the Snake River, Bear Lake, Palouse River, and the Northern Idaho Basins. Water is the lifeblood of our state and Idaho’s success in managing this precious resource is the envy of the West and the Federal Government. I am committed to
protecting Idaho’s waters from any attempts to encroach upon or to take it by other states or the federal government.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- Idaho must adapt to rapid growth by protecting our core principles. We must be careful that as newcomers arrive, Idaho doesn’t turn into the places they left behind. Government must have the lightest touch possible upon our, farmers, ranchers, and citizens. The law often
flows to the lowest common denominator—meaning the law is often written because someone did something someone doesn't like. The temptation is to regulate every set of circumstances. We must resist that temptation and encourage self-regulation. I will continue to protect Idaho.

 

 

 

Debbie Critchfield - Running for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- We must protect Idaho’s agricultural economy with the continued growth and changes to our state economy. There will be competition for every drop of water. Productive farm ground is being converted to subdivisions and parking lots at alarming rates as our agricultural base
is reduced and the growing public is further removed from the knowledge and appreciation for food production. The costs of inputs, like fuel and fertilizer add to current challenges. The labor shortage is no small matter. There are challenges associated with national and global agriculture markets. We must sustain Idaho’s agricultural way of life through an emphasis on skills and job-related training in our school for a trained workforce. We must link Idaho students with Idaho careers, which helps provide our agricultural communities a trained
workforce. For the rising costs of doing business, we need a new president. For water, we must not give up our control, particularly that which is available to production agriculture. Whether it’s managing our dams or supporting innovation in efficient water use, a better educated workforce and consuming public will provide long term support for Idaho agriculture.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- Property rights are the foundational piece of our personal rights and our free market system. Government has a tendency to infringe on these rights, whether it’s through increased taxation, the expansion of regulation, or the pursuit of policies that subordinate property rights. The most important thing I can do to uphold Idaho property rights is ensure taxpayers are receiving value in education and a return on their investment. We need a statewide discussion about local property taxes and the impact on communities with supplemental levies and bonds. Until we have a new and more fair system for funding education, every education dollar must get to students and teachers in the classroom.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- We see the challenges of federal mismanagement of lands. Catastrophic wildfires on our federal lands clearly illustrate this point. Livestock grazing and logging are not only important industries that sustain our rural economies while providing food and fiber to the public, but should be recognized and utilized as effective tools in reducing fuel loads on federal and state lands. Idaho’s growing population combined with the challenges brought on by COVID
has created skyrocketing numbers of recreating public on state and federal lands. We must mitigate the effects of increased recreation pressures while facilitating better managed opportunities for the public to enjoy the beauty of the state. My perspective will be to balance
the needs of all land users while supporting those uses that generate the resources and revenues necessary to sustain local economies and local schools. Local communities must have more input on the day-to-day management of public lands. The state must continue its
efforts to drive more active management of state lands, providing an example for the federal government on properly managing federal lands in Idaho. We must also work to get greater say over the management of our federal lands.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- I support water rights as administered by the priority doctrine. We must continue building water storage across Idaho as our future is dependent on these efforts. We are concerned with proposals and growth that threaten the existing water infrastructure.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- When I look at other states with excessive regulation, I think a big problem is their citizens’ views on the proper role of government and respect for free market capitalism. They elect officials that create policies and laws that erode our Constitutional principles. Idahoans have a healthy skepticism of government overreach and regulation and this is reflected in its elected officials. As Superintendent, I intend to support local control and pursue efforts that reduce red tape for parents, schools and educators. Local trustees and families should be
leading our schools, not bureaucrats in Boise.

 

 

 

Branden Durst - Running for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction 

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- There are a variety of challenges facing Idaho agriculture in the next five years. Federal government intrusion in the form of the EPA and USDA, water scarcity issues, labor shortages, growth and more. To address these problems, we will need strong leadership that first and foremost recognizes the value of Idaho Agriculture and the Idaho way of life. As a former member of the House and Senate Ag Committees and a recipient of the Idaho Ag All-Star award, I can be a trusted partner and advocate to fight for our Idaho values.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- Property rights are fundamental to our republican form of government. As state superintendent, I will ensure that decisions on the Land Board reflect the important role private property ownership plays in protecting our freedoms and liberties.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- As a member of the Land Board, this will be front and center in my mind when making decisions. I fully support the "multiple-use" doctrine of our state and federal lands. To that end, I support slowly and deliberately migrating federal lands to state management and then to state ownership. Everyone, including ranchers and farmers, need access to these lands and I'll ensure that they do.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- Water rights in Idaho are the undercurrent to every political decision (pun intended). I believe that the first in time, first in right policy is the correct and fair policy. However, I do think it is important that we don't forget about the need to balance these considerations with the need to maintain quality agriculture. As cities grow, their need for water will also. This will bring the need for balance into greater focus and may require us to consider how Idaho's policy is serving all of Idaho, not just those who live in our more populous regions.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- First, we need to acknowledge that maintaining our values and principles is a priority. The proper role of government is to have the lightest possible touch on individuals, families and industry. To that end, we must defend our republican form of government. To those who are choosing to make Idaho home, we should welcome them with open arms and remind them why they left their old home to come to Idaho. Our conservative, traditional values are the bedrock of our communities, and they must stay that way. As a fourth generation Idahoan, I am committed to fighting to protect our Idaho values. An education system that reflects these values is crucial to maintaining them. I am committed to doing everything within my power as state superintendent to make sure we don't lose our values as we grow. Nothing would be worse than waking up ten years from now and seeing we've lost our Idaho.

 

 

Sherri Ybarra - Running for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction 

 

1. What challenges do you see facing agriculture in the next five years? What is the best way to address those challenges?

- As a member of the Idaho Land Board, I have a voice in future use and of state-owned lands, and I have learned a lot about balancing land productivity, revenue, and conservation – and about valuing the input and views of the farmers who are stewards of our land. For example, adequate space and revenue for farmers, safe and nutritious food for our public, and protecting our environment are all challenges. I can assist by being involved with agriculture and informed on the issues and connected to stakeholders; so, when policy issues arise that may negatively affect our farmers, such as greatly increasing the grazing rate that the Idaho Land board was considering (I voted “NO”) I, and my fellow land board members, can help agriculture stay on a positive path.

2. Why are property rights important and what can you do as an elected official to help preserve property rights in Idaho?

- On public and private lands, the Idaho farmers and cattleman of Idaho have enjoyed a stable environment to meet our breadbasket needs. Property rights must be protected to continue this balance of current needs, and a promising tomorrow for all. And as Superintendent of Public Instruction, one of the vital services my department provides is safe and nutritious food for schoolchildren through our Child Nutrition Programs, which take advantage of fresh, locally produced foods. One of our most popular programs – and a priority my department shares with the Farm Bureau -- is the administration of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grants to schools throughout our state. Another way our public school system can help protect Idaho’s agricultural programs is through Career Technical Education, which trains the agribusiness employees of the future. My department’s Advanced Opportunities program has extended its dual credit offerings to encourage high school students to pursue career training for credit while still in high school.

3. How can Idaho best balance the needs of all land users when it comes to multiple uses on state and federal lands?

- Balancing our public lands is vital as our greatest beneficiaries are Idaho’s public-school children. This involves fire management, recreation, and working lands, and conservation efforts. Education and outreach are vital to this process, so are informed policy makers, such as I insist on being.

4. What is your position on Idaho water rights and the priority doctrine (first in time, first in right)?

- That rule, rooted in our past, helps Idaho guarantee a bright future; and although this is not a topic that is usually in the wheelhouse of K-12 education, I make a point of keeping up on issues of Idaho water rights and other public resources.

5. With the rapid growth in the state, how does Idaho maintain its values and principles and avoid excess regulation?

- Idaho has been the envy of many other states in the nation for its economic stability and great culture. However, our rapid growth demands-- both predictability of policy, and planning foresight from our politicians. Smaller but better government can be achieved, with respect for our agricultural traditions. One thing in our favor is that Idaho has a strong history of minimizing regulation and preserving local control, and our current state government is continuing that philosophy.