Jim Guthrie | Courtesy Jim Guthrie
McCAMMON — An incumbent Republican and a member of the Libertarian party are both running for the same Idaho State Senate position.
Sen. Jim Guthrie is running for re-election against Dan Karlan to the Idaho State Senate to represent District 28.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com asked the candidates to answer the same eight questions. Their answers were required to be 250 words or less.
Karlan did not return repeated requests to participate.
Guthrie’s unedited responses are listed below.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Guthrie: I have three children and nine grandkids and feel blessed that they all live fairly close. I have had an array of experiences over the course of my life and to be honest I have learned more about being a leader from the challenges I have faced than from the success I have achieved. I have been self-employed and I’ve been unemployed. I have been the lowest laborer on the workforce and I have been the boss. I have been a union man and I have been a company man. I have lobbied for fairness in the workforce and I have been an advocate in promoting favorable business policy to give businesses a chance to survive.
I am familiar with the employer, employee perspective across a wide spectrum and not just anecdotally. I have real life experience, some bruises and hard knocks, and they have prepared me to face tough issues and challenges. I have served on the school board, county commission, Idaho House and Senate. I have served on or been the chairman of many different committees and working groups. I respect and listen to the opinions of others but I have no problem making my voice heard when needed. I have had the pleasure of serving Power County and everything outside the two interstates in Bannock County which makes up District 28 for the past eight years in the Idaho Senate.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Guthrie: Any accomplishments that I have had the good fortune to achieve have been because of good parents who taught me to work and good family who have stood by me. Success is seldom realized alone. It takes others to help and believe in you. By far, my family has been my biggest source of pride in my life. I am humbled that constituents in my district have trusted me to serve in the Idaho legislature and I try hard to promote policy that reflects the rural, conservative nature of Idaho and her citizens.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/Independent/Other party?
Briefly explain your political platform.
Guthrie: I’m a Republican but I wasn’t always. Until the 1980s, I voted mostly Democrat. I guess I would attribute my course correction due to President Regan and the example he set for our country. I learned that government is not meant to be everything to all people and should only do what people can’t do for themselves. Sadly, we have gotten away from that and we have a federal deficit north of 23 trillion as a result.
This blame lies at the feet of both major political parties and is a sad narrative about how our federal government is functioning. It seems that for them getting elected takes precedence over fiscal responsibility. As a state legislator, I have always voted for a balanced budget, against unnecessary growth in government and a stable, predictable, fair tax environment.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
Guthrie: The biggest challenges facing Idahoans today, without a doubt is the pandemic. It has totally disrupted our lives and has created an environment of dependence on government. The way government has handled certain aspects of this challenge is setting a bad example for our youth and is moving the needle towards socialism at an alarming rate.
Granted precautions must be taken to stay healthy but the shutdown of the economy will ruin lives forever. Small businesses in particular have seen a significant disruption of their business model and are in danger of never regaining their market niche.
Beyond that, I believe the biggest concerns most Idahoans have is access to health care. The cost and delivery model are very problematic, especially to those in the middle to low income class. Another is the ever escalating values of homes that is making home ownership for the younger demographic almost unattainable and property taxes for the rest of us almost unpayable.
How is your party’s ideology better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than those of your competitor?
Guthrie: I don’t know a lot about my competition other than he is a Libertarian. I do know that when the Republican party works together, we can sustain the rural, conservative, independent flavor that makes Idaho, Idaho.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Guthrie: When I talk to people I never ask what political party they belong to. I have been and will continue to be a Senator who represents all of my constituents. We will not always agree, but I will always listen and be open-minded. I often learn more for those with a contrary opinion and very much appreciate passion and candor from those seeking a change in policy.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
Guthrie: I’m proud to say I have a good relationship with the minority party and have worked well with those across the political aisle. Those who know me will tell you I don’t always just follow the “herd.” If I am troubled with legislation, regardless of who brings it, I will debate and vote against it. I am not afraid to take a stand if I believe it is in the best interest of the constituents I represent and the citizens of Idaho.
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
Guthrie: As far as additional state funding goes, I believe an easy answer is always education. That said, spending more money is not always the only answer and additional resources must produce additional results. Our highway and bridge infrastructure continues to need revenue to keep our economy moving and we must keep technology cutting edge. At times I hate a cell phone as much as the next person but that is the environment we are in and we must stay as current as possible.
As for places in government that cutbacks might make sense? Government, even in Idaho, has grown too big, too fast. The layers of administration trouble me and there must be internal adjustments to mitigate this growth. I believe some agencies make it so difficult for the private sector to survive and need to retool their attitude to one of helping people instead of policing them.
Every time I turn around, the state is buying a new property for another government agency. The $110,000,000 purchase of the Hewlett Packard campus in the Treasure Valley (which I voted against) is a prime example of growing instead of controlling.