Election Central

Balukoff on Otter: Nice guy who’s led Idaho astray

Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff says the man he wants to remove from office — GOP Gov. Butch Otter — “is a good person and a likable man, but it is clear that it is time for a new governor to lead our state.”

Balukoff’s response to GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s State of the State Address is dated Monday and appears on his campaign website. I didn’t receive a news release and only discovered his statement this afternoon.

He sounds a theme similar to that of Democratic leadership in the Legislature: The education and economic policies of Otter and Idaho Republicans are a failure, marked by low wages and inadequate support for schools.

“Our kids are not career and college ready and the voices of parents and educators are routinely ignored,” Balukoff said in the statement. “To give our kids, our economy and our state the future they deserve we need new leadership and to restore funding and make education a top priority.”

Balukoff’s full statement follows:

My take on State of the State address

Monday, January 06, 2014

While Governor Otter’s State of the State Address offers a lot of rhetoric about where Idaho needs to go, what he has actually shown us is the limit of his ability to take us there. After more than 35 years as a politician including almost 2 terms as Governor, here is the state that Governor Otter has left our state in.

Idaho is last in the nation for the amount of money we invest in each student. Many school districts can only afford to keep their doors open 4 days a week. Only 5 of the top 70 high schools have more than 50% of their graduates prepared for higher education. Our kids are not career and college ready and the voices of parents and educators are routinely ignored. To give our kids, our economy and our state the future they deserve we need new leadership and to restore funding and make education a top priority.

Thanks to the economic policies and failed decisions on health care, we have the lowest wages in the nation and hard-working families are struggling more than ever to afford the basics. The cost of living and healthcare are rising and wages are not keeping pace. We need to be investing more in economic development and creating good-paying jobs so Idahoans can provide for their families.

Governor Otter is a good person and a likable man, but it is clear that it is time for a new governor to lead our state.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics