Election Central

Balukoff: Romney visit proof Otter has ‘completely lost touch’ with ‘real Idahoans’

Democrat A.J. Balukoff says Mitt Romney’s Boise campaign stop on behalf of GOP Gov. Butch Otter shows the two-term governor isn’t mindful of Idaho’s economic woes, including its rank as the state with the highest proportion of minimum-wage workers.

“There are more jobs in Idaho and you see rising incomes,” the 2012 Republican presidential nominee said at a news conference following a closed-door Otter fundraiser. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Replied Balukoff in a news release Friday: “Well, if Mitt Romney and Gov. Otter can’t see all that’s broken right now, they apparently ‘ain’t’ paying attention.”

Added Balukoff:  “Well, perhaps Gov. Otter neglected to point out to Gov. Romney that Idaho leads the nation in minimum-wage jobs, and ranks at or near the bottom in personal income and education spending. Their attitude spotlights why I’m running for governor: I think Gov. Otter has just been in politics for so long that he’s completely lost touch with the lives of real Idahoans.”

During two days in Idaho, Romney also campaigned for Congressman Mike Simpson and Senate Jim Risch. Otter, Simpson and Risch were supporters of both of Romney’s presidential runs.

Balukoff, chairman of the Boise School Board, is on a North Idaho campaign swing. He has scheduled stops in Lewiston and Orofino on Saturday, Plummer on Monday, Moscow on Tuesday, Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday, Bonners Ferry on Thursday and Wallace on Friday.

Otter faces Sen. Russ Fulcher of Meridian in the May 20 GOP primary.

Balukoff’s new release follows. (NOTE: The misspelling of Plummer is in the original).

BALUKOFF: ROMNEY ENDORSEMENT SHOWS OTTER’S OUT OF TOUCH WITH IDAHOANS

BOISE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff responded today to comments from former, two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who visited Boise yesterday to endorse Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch, and Congressman Mike Simpson. “Mitt Romney said, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Well, if Mitt Romney and Gov. Otter can’t see all that’s broken right now, they apparently ‘ain’t’ paying attention,” Balukoff said.

“Gov. Romney claims Idaho has added jobs. Well, perhaps Gov. Otter neglected to point out to Gov. Romney that Idaho leads the nation in minimum-wage jobs, and ranks at or near the bottom in personal income and education spending,” Balukoff said. “Their attitude spotlights why I’m running for governor: I think Gov. Otter has just been in politics for so long that he’s completely lost touch with the lives of real Idahoans. He showed us that when he pushed through the Luna laws, and has shown us that many times since with his lack of leadership on a host of problems facing the state and his lax oversight of state agencies in his charge.”

“The really stark contrast here is that, while Gov. Otter is spending his time with career politicians and multi-millionaire career political candidates, A.J. Balukoff is traveling around Idaho right now meeting with and listening to the concerns of regular, hardworking Idahoans,” said Balukoff campaign Communications Director Mike Lanza.

Balukoff, a businessman and president of the Boise School District Board of Trustees, has been emphasizing the need for Idaho to invest more in its public schools in order to build a strong and vibrant economy and prepare children for good-paying jobs in the competitive world economy.

Balukoff is currently traveling around central and North Idaho with lieutenant governor candidate Bert Marley. Balukoff was in Grangeville Thursday evening, and over the next nine days will visit Lewiston (March 22), Orofino (March 22), Plumber (March 24), Moscow (March 25), Coeur d’Alene (March 26), Bonners Ferry (March 27), and Wallace (March 28).

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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