Fiscal Conservative - I believe in lower taxes and reduced spending. Period. I believe the best way to restrain the growth of government and keep taxes low is to elect committed conservatives to the state legislature and hold them accountable for their votes. Too many elected officials vote too often to protect entrenched interests, expand the scope of government, and keep taxes higher than is necessary to pay for a responsible and restrained state government. I am proud of my conservative philosophy and unapologetic about my belief that lower taxes stimulate economic growth and keep government from growing too large.
Jobs and the Economy - No issue is more important right now than creating jobs and growing our economy. I believe greater economic growth is the product of smaller government, lower taxes, and fewer regulations. I am a strong supporter of Idaho's business community and believe our nation's employers and entrepreneurs should be rewarded, not punished, for investing in our economy. I do not believe that government is a catalyst for economic growth nor do I believe that jobs created through additional government spending are a sustainable way to grow our economy. Instead, I believe government should do its best to allow a vibrant and prosperous free market to flourish and get out of the way.
Proponent of Limited Government - We've all heard the quote "That government is best which governs least". Whether written by Paine, Thoreau, or Jefferson, the quote simply sums up my views of government and its role in our daily lives. Too many politicians, on both the state and federal levels, believe that if government only had more money, it could solve more problems. I, on the other hand, believe that the more money fed to government, the more problems it will create. Our founders envisioned a limited federal government, and I believe our nation and its citizens would be wise to re-examine the role government plays in our daily lives and more closely follow the teachings of our founding fathers and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Supporter of the 2nd Amendment - I am a gun owner, member of the National Rifle Association, strong supporter of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and am proud to have the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in this race. I believe strongly that gun rights are vital to freedom and must be vigorously protected against those who would take away our guns or limit gun rights. I am proud to say that I have an unblemished record of support for gun rights in the Idaho State Legislature and will never compromise on those rights as your State Senator in District 23.
Fighter for private property rights - The concept of private property rights is not only central to our Constitution, it is essential to maintaining a vibrant economy. Through the almost unlimited reach of federal laws, rules, and regulations, private property rights are under constant attack. The Endangered Species Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal laws and agencies are subjecting private property to unprecedented levels of scrutiny and de-valuing private property without just compensation. I believe that we must ensure that similar attacks on private property are not repeated at the state level and that states become vehicles through which we push back on the federal government and its attacks on private property.
Critic of unfunded government mandates - The height of arrogance on the part of the federal government is the act of passing along new rules and regulations to state and local levels of government without any concern for the cost of those actions or the impact they will have on the folks who have to comply with them. In almost every case, federal officials fail to consider cost benefit analysis, the ability of lower levels of government to comply with the mandates, or the limits on federal authority outlined in the U.S. Constitution. As your Senator in District 23, I will continue to push back against unfunded federal government mandates and work to make sure the state government is restrained in its own regulatory role.
Champion of multiple-use on public lands - As a rancher, I have seen firsthand the negative impacts of increasing restrictions on multiple-use. Strict reductions in grazing and logging have led to unhealthy conditions on federal forests and rangelands as well as larger and more prevalent wildfires. Regrettably, grazing, logging, wildlife, and mining aren't the only victims of the anti-mulitple use mentality. Motorbikes, four-wheelers, boats, jeeps, and snowmobiles have come under increasing attack by environmentalists and the courts as unwelcome uses on public lands. In certain areas, this philosophy has gotten so out-of-control that bicycles, horses, and even humans are being removed from public lands. I believe that state governments must increasingly fight back against the federal government when multiple-uses are threatened and insist that the federal government respect the role of states and local governments in their planning processes. Further, I will work directly with our federal Congressional delegation to ensure that the concerns of Idaho and all Western states are part of the discussion as Congress works to reform the federal laws that are at the root of the problem including the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Defender of traditional marriage - I believe that marriage should be solely defined as a union between a man and a woman. I believe traditional marriage should be protected not only in state and federal law, but also in the state and federal Constitutions.
Advocate for the unborn - I am a staunchly pro-life Republican with an unblemished record in support of the unborn as a member of the Idaho State Legislature.
Believer in local control - I believe the government that is most responsive to the people, is that which is closest to them. With that in mind, I believe that as many decisions as possible should be left to the lowest levels of government. While it is clear that the federal government has claimed far too much control for itself than is necessary or permitted under the Constitution, I believe that state government should strive to limit its influence over lower units of government as well, with the exception of certain responsibilities like the management of natural resources. Local leaders live in their communities, go to local churches, buy products in local stores, and have phone numbers listed in local directories. They are never truly "off-duty" and are, therefore, the most responsive to the needs of their constituents. With that in mind, we should be striving at the federal and state levels to entrust as much decision-making as possible in their capable hands.
Supporter of strict limits on eminent domain - I bristle almost every time I hear about the utilization of eminent domain to procure private property for public use. I am reasonable enough to acknowledge that there are instances where eminent domain is necessary and appropriate for the greater public good, but eminent domain should be utilized with great caution and only as a last resort. Eminent domain should never be used to build a shopping mall or new government building. It should never be used to deprive someone of their own property when other options are available. Put simply, eminent domain is a heavy handed approach utilized too often by heavy handed governments that have lost sight of the proper role of government.
Education - I believe there is no more important career in our nation than that of an educator. America's competitive advantage in the world has long been predicated on our ability to provide our nation's youth with a quality education from pre-school to college and beyond. Regrettably, American students continue to fall further and further behind students in other nations despite the fact that we spend more per pupil than most of our competitors. While I support appropriate funding for public education, I do not believe that our nation's education challenges can be addressed simply through increased funding. With that in mind, I strongly support greater choice in education, the use of new and innovative technologies in the classroom, efforts to increase parental involvement in the education of their children, and the establishment of bonuses and increased pay for our best teachers.
Advocate for personal responsibility - As Americans, we often lament the loss of the "good old days" or "simpler times" when our nation seemed more prosperous and people seemed more responsible. Regrettably, our nation has seen an evolution away from personal responsibility and toward government, or collective, responsibility. I firmly believe that our nation's troubled economy and burgeoning debt and deficit are directly related to the decline in personal responsibility. Government on all levels needs to reform social programs to offer people a hand up, not a handout. It needs to demand accountability from those seeking assistance, limit taxpayer assistance to only those who truly need it and who are actively seeking a way off that assistance where possible, and make clear that the generosity of federal and state taxpayers extends only so far. Unfortunately, government has contributed to a decline in personal responsibility and that can only be reversed through reforms to government benefits and limits on eligibility.
Supporter of a limited regulatory burden - While some regulatory limits are necessary to protect the environment and human health, the immense growth of federal regulations over the past three or four decades, and especially over the past 3 years, is indicative of a regulatory regime that is out-of-control. I believe any regulatory action should be subject to cost-benefit analysis and reviewable by elected bodies such as the Idaho State Legislature or the United States Congress. Un-elected bureaucrats have grown far too powerful and often take actions without concern for the law or limits imposed upon them by elected officials. To be sure, elected bodies and some politicians are clearly capable of overreach themselves, but at least they are accountable to the people through elections. I am also concerned about the growing and pervasive role the courts are playing in regulatory affairs -- often forcing new rules and regulations on communities, businesses, and farmers/ranchers without concern for the impact, cost, or economic harm of those rules and regulations.
Believer in State's Rights - I deeply regret the lack of respect shown to the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and strongly believe the federal government has claimed for itself authorities and responsibilities that clearly should belong to state and local units of government.
Senator Bert Brackett