IDP Chairman Larry Kenck: Good Ideas Come from Idaho Dems

By IDP Chairman Larry Kenck

Boise, Idaho— Much is riding on a slow, inefficient, and mostly ineffective group that has harmed the prosperity of Idaho workers, families, businesses and cities.

Yes, the GOP-dominated Legislature is in full swing.

A toxic dynamic in the Capitol has GOP politicians bullying each other into rejecting good ideas when they come from Idaho Democrats—and Idaho Democrats find those ideas by listening to We the People!

Recall how Gov. Otter flew to Pocatello during his 2014 campaign to brag about a tax incentive that lured Amy’s Kitchen to town. That program arose from the dogged work of Sen. Roy Lacey (D-Pocatello) and Rep. Donna Pence (D-Gooding). For years, GOP politicians rejected the incentive program until they found a way to claim it was their idea all along.

Most Idahoans agree that it was a good idea to create jobs in Idaho. You are welcome, Gov. Otter.

The lessons:

• Good ideas come from Idaho Democrats.
• GOP politicians put partisan politics ahead of workers, families, businesses and communities.
• Eventually, GOP politicians are forced to advance good ideas.

Here’s the most important part:

• If your good idea goes to a GOP politician first, it will probably take longer to see daylight.

Idaho’s GOP politicians run scared of a small, vocal group in their base that likes to slash and cut and burn. That group doesn’t care that we need a functioning, efficient government to maintain roads, bridges and communication routes. They don’t care that it harms businesses and workers. That small, loud group also disputes the indisputable value that a topnotch education delivers to our kids, our communities, our businesses and our futures.

For this year and next year, this slow, inefficient, mostly ineffective system is our only option.

Don’t take my word for it. Just watch what happens in Boise. As the Majority bangs the drum on divisive social issues, you will see issues important to Idaho’s future swept under the rug.

Watch as the Majority boasts about education investment—hoping we forget how deeply they cut education in the first place. Today, we remain at the bottom of the nation in education investment.

Watch as higher education leaders plead for wiser investment. Did you notice how chilly the Majority was to the University of Idaho president’s suggestion that the state cover workers’ raises so he could stop tuition hikes on students? The Majority isn’t concerned that regular Idahoans are being priced out of opportunity.

What can we do about the Majority’s antipathy toward good ideas that help We the People?

We can keep working hard and smart—which is the Idaho way—and we can assist the media in holding the Majority accountable. Let’s help that news reach every corner of the state.

Then, in 2016, we will have another shot at turning this system into a balanced one that welcomes good ideas—no matter who has them first.