Randy Armstrong and Mike Saville. | Courtesy Randy Armstrong and Mike Saville
INKOM — An incumbent representative in the Idaho House is hoping to beat out his competition and remain in his current seat.
Rep. Randy Armstrong, the Republican nominee, is going up against Democrat Mike Saville for District 28’s House Seat A.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each candidate. Their unedited responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Armstrong: I graduated from Marsh Valley High School and then from Idaho State University. I worked for an international investment company for thirty-eight years. We have a very large family; ten children and eighteen grandchildren (so far).
Saville: Mike was born in Pocatello and lived there with his grandmother and foster parents in Grace. Dad was in United States Air Force. At nine, Mike moved to Illinois and later to Georgia. Graduated from high school in the Panama Canal Zone. Mike enlisted in the USAF. He received a secret clearance, trained on the radar system of the F-105 Bomber at Lowry AFB, Colorado, and assigned to Spangdahlem AFB, Germany. Enrolled in University of Maryland extension, in addition to his assignment as a Radar maintainer, Mike worked part time at the Armed Forces TV station for two years.
Honorably discharged after four years in the USAF, Mike returned to Pocatello where he was hired by the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) as a field engineer maintaining IBM computers in Southeast Idaho.
Mike married Rochelle Clark and recently celebrated 52 years of marriage with three children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
After 10 years in Pocatello, IBM moved Mike to Rochester, Minnesota as a service planner. Three years later he became an IBM manager in Los Angeles for seven years, and transferred to Salt Lake City and retired after 32 years. Thrivent hired Mike as a financial professional in Northern Utah and retired a second time after 13 years. Mike built a home in McCammon.
Volunteered with Amateur Radio, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Exchange Club, Utah Republican Party, Idaho Democratic Party and Rotary.
Attended Idaho State University, and graduated with a BSBA in 1996 from the University of Phoenix.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Saville: A marriage of 52 years, three children, four grand-children, two great-grand-children.
- Outstanding Young Man of America
- Who’s Who in California
- Who’s Who in the West
- Who’s Who in Finance and Industry
- Lifetime member Disabled American Veterans
- Lifetime member American Legion
- Lifetime member Vietnam Era Veterans of America
Employers who I was lucky to work for:
- US Air Force – Cold War
- Armed Forces Television Station – Spangdahlem, Germany
- International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
- Thrivent Financial
(IBM and Thrivent recently each recognized as 1 of the 131 Most Ethical Companies in the World)
Amateur Radio Service, Pocatello Junior Chamber of Commerce, local, National Jaycee offices in Minnesota, California and Utah. Junior Chamber International Senator #32790, Exchange Club, Utah Republican Party Voting District Chairman, Idaho Democratic Party Legislative 28 Chairman and Rotary.
Where I went to school grades one through 12:
- Idaho, Illinois, Georgia, Panama Canal Zone.
- University of Maryland extension – Germany
- Idaho State University
- University of Phoenix – Salt Lake City – BSBA
- IBM Computer classes – 30 days a year for 25 years places throughout United States
- Thrivent – FIC and Series 6 – Continuous Ed for 13 years
Overseas vacation travel:
Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway before age 23. Finland, Estonia, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, China and Hong Kong since 2004.
Armstrong: My wife, my children and my successful career.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/Independent/Other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
Armstrong: I am a Republican because of its conservative values; less taxes, smaller government, and respect and loyalty to the Constitution.
I could never be associated with an organization who congratulate themselves on killing their own children, who hate the police and abhor law and order, who believe that government has all the answers and that citizens are their minions to be ordered about and taken advantage of, or an organization who so clearly wants to eliminate the Constitution.
The last six months should send a chill down everyone’s spine. The vile labeling of honest citizens as “nonessential.” The arbitrary taking away Constitutional Rights. The unconscionable levels of our grandchildren’s money being spent with no embarrassment, shame or argument. My platform today is to push back on all those sad practices, in any way I can.
Saville: In Utah, I helped Republicans get elected as a volunteer. What has disturbed me returning to Idaho was neighborhood children leaving home at 6 a.m. and returning home after a 20-minute bus ride at 5 p.m. A long day for a first-grader. On Fridays, no school and the children sell candy to play in the band. Idaho Schools were not like that when I moved away to be an IBM manager.
When elected, I will work to restore education funding levels by reviewing the decades of tax shifts to those who can least afford taxes.
One reason I am no longer a Republican is when I was approached by a Republican Legislator who asked me to come back into the Republican fold, I answered this way, “If the Democrats had driven education funding to the lowest in the nation, I would still be a Republican. But the 30 years of super majority Republicans and you Sir, and your party did it.” He smiled and walked away saying, “Good Luck.”
It is wrong what has happened to education funding, property taxes, affordable healthcare, jobs and wages, and access to public lands.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
- State education funding
- Property tax relief
- Affordable health care
- Better jobs and wages
- Access to public lands
- Term limits
- Campaign contribution reform (Montana)
- Lobby influence
- Exemptions to sales taxes
- Tax shifts to those who can least afford taxes
- Tax cuts for those who can afford taxes
Armstrong: The loss of their Constitutional Rights and freedoms. Where in the Constitution does it say the government can tell you that you can’t attend church? Where does it say that bureaucrats are responsible for our health rather than ensuring our freedoms? Stop the mandates, stop the business closures, stop the labeling. Give us back our rights.
How is your party’s ideology better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than those of your competitor?
Armstrong: If you let people keep more of the money they personally earned, and then spend it on themselves, that’s a good thing. That ideology will benefit the state more than any other.
My opponent’s answer to every question is “turn it over to government and give them more money.” That’s not an ideology, that’s a formula for disaster.
Saville: Since 1980, when FCC rules changed how people are politically informed, rural states like Idaho have been deluged with Republican ideology demonizing the Democratic party every day via media. This has led to anti-government factions, hate groups moving to Idaho.
There is no opposing view on local media as 80% of what we see (TV), hear (radio) and read (newspapers) is owned by six corporations. Eighteen thousand investigative reporters lost their jobs after 1980. The internet and satellite allow America’s political enemies like Russia to have direct access to every home computer and smart phone.
In 1966 when I was in the USAF for four years, 85% of Americans trusted our government, and today, only 17%. Less than 50% vote and mainly under age 45.
A Republican county commissioner proposed reducing polling places in Bannock County from 58 to 34 polling places. The Republican party elections are 90% funded by the Idaho 500 Lobbies from inside and outside Idaho.
I watched Idaho in session for the last three years. The Republicans obstructed from bringing Medicaid expansion to Idaho for six years, turning down $2.4 billion. Two thousand unpaid volunteers met with 100,000 signatories to qualify for the ballot and it passed with 61% of the vote, more than Governor Little.
Today the Republicans are very friendly to the faceless corporations, syndicates a.k.a Associations of …, and the large landowners. Idaho GOP Politics is and has been bought by Lobbies’ money.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Saville: I have no allegiance to any political party or ideology. I am only running for office to represent the constituents — 40,000 eligible voters in the Idaho Legislative District 28 A from American Falls, Rockland, Fort Hall, Chubbuck, Northeast Pocatello, east to Inkom, McCammon, Lava Hot Sprints, Arimo, Downey, Swan Lake and rural residents outside the towns stretching 120 miles.
My working career was in corporate America including IBM management where the company training emphasized compromise even if something was contentious.
An example, in developing a new product, engineers, manufacturing, quality control, logistics of parts, vendors and my responsibility as a service planner was to ensure the new product was serviceable, reliable, and profitable once the product was shipped around the world to customers.
To get to that goal, all of the different departments met weekly, and the discussions sometime became emotionally charged to achieve the most profitable product. Sometimes I had to lose a battle to win the war.
If I do disagree with someone else, I will ask more questions to understand their view. I find that people, if not driven by outside sources that direct their actions out of sight, will reach an agreement. The best ideas come from differing opinion and views. To reach a consensus, it might be a heated argument, but at the end of the day, we go to dinner together.
Armstrong: I have been in a position to help lots of constituents, and I’ve never asked a question about party affiliation.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
Armstrong: The legislative process is designed for and requires compromise, debate and bipartisanism in able to get anything accomplished. If you fail to recognize that you become ineffective. I will definitely encourage those three.
Saville: The present imbalance of the Idaho legislature with a super majority that can pass or not pass any bill is a problem as a result of the pool of 500 lobbies that fund Republican party elections.
The Lobbies give little money to Democrats. The Lobby money to Republicans influences the rational decision-making process as the Lobbies expect “Quid Pro Quo” in return of the $1,000 checks. Montana, in a bipartisan law, reduced the $1,000 lobby contributions to $180. A remarkable change took place in Montana, law makers started listening to the people instead of the Lobbies.
Retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice Jim Jones stated, “If the Legislators listened to the people, the thousands of hours with citizen initiatives would be unnecessary.” Judge Jones is correct.
In the meantime, new legislation will have to be presented in a way to be acceptable to the super majority Republicans that control 84 or the 105 Legislative seats. There are too many ALEC bills written by a consortium of wealthy people and corporations that are introduced into Idaho. These bills do not originate in Idaho and benefit special interests who will benefit financially sometimes at the expense of taxpayers.
My 32 years at IBM and 13 years at Thrivent gives me the experience to communicate and compromise. I avoid the “it’s my way or the highway” of hard heads who only consider winning an argument as the only acceptable result. Sometimes you have to know when to “hold them and when to fold them.”
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks? I think every department manager, if they run their departments efficiently, will recommend cutbacks or if the tax revenue is not there, be forced to cutback as a result of less operations revenue.
Everything is subject to financial review. I “inspect what I expect.” In other words, I go on sight and see for myself, talk to people and do walk around management, asking those who are doing the job. I have found that there are key people, might not be the highest paid but are very savvy in how to make an operation more efficient, and as a result, get more bang for the buck. There is never enough money.
Armstrong: The question is “what parts of government would benefit?” That’s what is wrong with our situation today. We should be asking the question, “What can we do to benefit citizens?”
The government was established to protect and defend the liberties and welfare of its citizens. Anything else is beyond the responsibilities of government. We are getting far more government than we need.