Labrador draws GOP opponent, Boise State student Michael Greenway

Like Horton the elephant in “Horton Hears a Who!” I have heard a tiny voice.

Responding to my Wednesday column, in which I noted that “no credible alternative has said a peep about trying to challenge” Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador, Boise State political science student Michael Greenway says he will take on Labrador in the May GOP primary.

Greenway says Labrador has been a party to gridlock in Washington, D.C., and that Labrador’s withholding a vote for GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner was both “childish” and “an act of betrayal.”

Greenway said he would have voted to raise income taxes on the top 2 percent of taxpayers; proposes raising the income limit subject to Social Security taxes; advocates repeal and replacement of Obamacare; and would push to make gang membership a federal crime.

“I believe there is too much division in Washington and I believe Congressman Labrador has contributed to this division,” wrote Greenway in a statement announcing his candidacy. “The dysfunction in Washington must come to an end. The hatred and division between the two parties must stop, we are more than Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans. We must be willing to compromise and become more cooperative with each other so we can fix problems, not contribute to them.”

Concluded Greenway: “This country is too great to continually have weak leadership. We need people who are willing to reach out to the other side and give little and in return get a little. No one gets 100% of what they want in a government like ours. We need someone in Washington that understands that, and I do.”

Greenway, 24, will turn 25 between the May primary and the November general election, meeting the constitutional minimum age for a member of the House of Representatives.  He says he plans to graduate within a year.

Greenway has experience as a small voice seeking recognition. Last year, he won 27.5 percent of the vote in his primary challenge to House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Star.

If you haven’t tried the link in the opening paragraph, it’s a 25-minute film version of “Horton Hears a Who!” As a Dr. Seuss lover lover from birth, I highly recommend this trip down memory lane. Remember, ”A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Greenway’s statement:

My name is Michael Greenway and I am a Republican who will be challenging Congressman Labrador in the Republican Primary next May. I am running for Congress because I believe there is too much division in Washington and I believe Congressman Labrador has contributed to this division. The dysfunction in Washington must come to an end. The hatred and division between the two parties must stop, we are more than Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans. We must be willing to compromise and become more cooperative with each other so we can fix problems, not contribute to them.

I believe I can better represent this district because for one, I will vote for a Speaker of the House unlike Congressman Labrador. Congressman Labrador’s failure to vote for a Speaker was an act of betrayal, not only to the party but also to the constituents he claims to represent. His reasoning for not supporting Speaker Boehner was childish. Speaker Boehner passed a measure that the kept the Bush tax cuts in place for 98% of the American people, and yes taxes did go up from 35% to 39.6% on the top 2%, but If Speaker Boehner did not vote to raise taxes on the top 2% tax rates would have gone up for every American. President Obama had just been re-elected on this issue the people agreed with the President. Even though I think it is a bad idea to raise taxes on anyone, I would have voted for the tax increase on the top 2% because it kept tax rates low for the other 98%. In divided government compromise is a must, and without compromise nothing can get done. If I am elected, I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to accomplish my legislative goals, because passing legislation with support from only one party is not worth passing.

From health care to social security to jobs this country has a lot of issues that need solving. As for social security, I believe the best way to solve social security is to remove the cap on how much income someone can be taxed. As of today you can only be taxed on income up to $113,700 annually. If someone makes $1,000,000 annually they should still pay social security tax on the entire $ 1,000,000. I believe this would save social security. The other proposal I would make would be to ban Congress and the President from dipping into the social security fund to pay something other than social security. This is a big reason why Social Security is going broke.

If elected I would fight very hard to make gang membership a felony at the federal level. This law would carry a 5 year prison sentence for the 1st offense, a 10 year sentence for a 2nd offense, and a lifetime sentence for a 3rd offense. The biggest problem with inner cities is gang violence. Kids can’t walk to school without the fear of being shot, assaulted, or robbed. This bill would help end gang violence in the inner cities and give kids who live in the inner cities a chance to succeed.

The Affordable Care Act can’t just be repealed, it must also be replaced. If elected I will introduce a bill that replaces the Affordable Care Act. This bill would be a compromise between what we have now and what we had before the Affordable Care Act was passed. This bill would keep three key parts to the Affordable Care Act. First, it would be illegal for any insurance company to deny someone coverage based on a pre-existing condition, second, young adults could stay on their parent’s health insurance until age 26, and third it would be illegal for insurance companies deny coverage due to a lifetime limit or due to an annual cap. I believe that a government option can be available to people who can’t afford health insurance in the private market. However, the government option will not be available to employers to provide to their employees. All employment based health insurance must be purchased through the private sector; this would ensure that the government would not control the health care industry. The government could not deny medical treatment or force the private insurance companies to deny medical treatment to someone for any reason, especially due to someone’s age. Under current law, when fully implemented the government run health care system will be able to deny people certain types of treatment due to the individual’s age. The government should not be in the business of playing god, deciding who lives and dies based on their perceived usefulness to society. This type of government behavior is called fascism, and does not belong in the United States of America.

When it comes to jobs I would insist that President Obama approve the Keystone Pipeline before any budget deal is agreed too. The Keystone Pipeline would instantly create 20,000 jobs. With the high unemployment rate in this country, I can’t understand why the President has not approved the pipeline. This would also make us less dependent on oil that comes from the Middle East. The oil would come from Canada, a friendly nation. This pipeline would also reduce gas prices in this country, so anyway you look at it this would be a good project for the President to approve.

This country is too great to continually have weak leadership. We need people who are willing to reach out to the other side and give little and in return get a little. No one gets 100% of what they want in a government like ours. We need someone in Washington that understands that, and I do.

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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