Official Brad Little for Idaho Announcement Speech
September 18, 2013
Thank you, Governor Otter. I am very grateful for your support and confidence.
Thank you to Marilyn Knighton and all the volunteers who helped with this event!
We have an amazing team from Bonner to Teton Counties. It’s incredibly humbling to see so many friends, neighbors, and supporters. Thank you.
Let me introduce my family. My sons and daughters-in-law— Adam and Angela, and David and Kelsey. And our grandsons Henry, Dylan, and Jack.
And Teresa, the love of my life.
It’s great to be kicking off my campaign announcement tour where we raised our family and amongst those folks who shaped me into the person I am today.
Teresa and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.
We are fortunate our sons— who left the state after being well-educated here in Emmett and Idaho— elected to return home and bless us with 6th generation Idaho grandchildren. Teresa’s family and my family have deep agricultural roots in Idaho, and we hope for a 7th generation of Idahoans.
I’m passionate about Idaho’s future and, as a result, I am announcing my candidacy to run for re-election as Lieutenant Governor of Idaho.
My personal philosophy has always been to ensure the lightest possible hand of government in the lives of citizens and businesses.
Idaho is a model for how a conservative and fiscally responsible government allows the dynamics of the free market to create prosperity. Government should provide good roads and a quality education.
But individual entrepreneurs and businesses— unencumbered by red tape and high taxes— create jobs.
Idaho faces an increasingly competitive world and will undoubtedly be forced to deal with the budget crisis Washington, DC has fostered by massively overspending.
To prepare for inevitable federal spending cuts, the only prudent action for Idaho is to grow incomes and jobs.
With a stronger and more robust economy, the state will be better-suited to withstand any shocks resulting from federal spending reductions.
I am confident Idaho will be ready.
I have seen the resiliency of the people of Idaho during the most recent economic downturn.
Governor Otter and the Idaho Legislature deserve credit. While most were losing their heads, they stepped up and did the right thing— contrary to many states and the federal government.
In 2009, revenues were down 20%. Instead of raising taxes, like many suggested, Idaho made the tough budgetary decisions, prioritized public education, and required other agencies to be more efficient. And we balanced our budget.
Because of our sound fiscal management, we have reduced taxes for the second straight year.
Governor Otter will appreciate the late Lieutenant Governor Win Rockefeller’s definition of a good Lieutenant Governor: “You want a Lieutenant Governor like a spare tire— out of sight and out of the way— but all pumped up and ready to go!”
I appreciate the opportunity offered by Governor Otter to allow me to be a partner in his administration: attending cabinet meetings and legislative leadership meetings; with special assignments; and especially to assist with Governor Otter’s Project 60— a bold plan to grow Idaho’s gross domestic product to $60 billion by helping existing businesses grow and by attracting new businesses to Idaho.
This project has and will continue to raise incomes and create thousands of new, good-paying careers across Idaho.
I have travelled all around the state as Lieutenant Governor, meeting and listening to both small and large job creators, workers from a diversity of industries, educators, farmers, and ranchers. My lifetime experience in Idaho better helps me understand our great state and her people.
Idaho has shown itself to be ready for the future.
Recently an immigrant entrepreneur selected Idaho as the site of the largest yogurt factory of its kind in the world— built in under a year and creating over 600 jobs. That only happens in a place like Idaho.
But we still have work to do.
To grow, Idaho must continue to diversify its economy in every region of the state.
We must also continue to find markets for our products nationally and internationally. Last year, Idaho set an export record with more than $6 billion in total sales. Agriculture products are expected to break the $1 billion mark in exports this year. Idaho is producing products the world wants and needs— from semiconductors to finished wood products.
Most importantly, to advance, Idaho must have a workforce for the 21st century.
I vividly remember Dad admonishing me (most likely when I was not meeting his and Mom’s scholastic expectations): “Son, one thing they can never take away from you is a good education.”
Education— beginning with parents mentoring and reading to their children, and followed by a strong and valued public education system— is essential for our future.
A quality education is a constitutional obligation our state must fulfill.
Jobs of the future will require advanced training, including effective and affordable higher education, and adaptive professional technical training.
We are blessed here in Emmett to be within a few miles of the fastest growing educational institutions in America—the College of Western Idaho.
Our economic future depends on continued growth and development of educational opportunities.
With this year being Idaho’s sesquicentennial, I have had the opportunity to participate in celebrations across the state and reflect on our past 150 years.
Our ancestors struggled against innumerable challenges: a difficult, but beautiful geography; a lack of energy; and a lack of access to markets.
Where they had no roads for commerce, they built them. Where they lacked needed water for development and crops, they built the most sophisticated irrigation systems in the world. Where they lacked energy, they built hydropower dams.
They survived and thrived with an ethos of hard work and entrepreneurialism. Past generations of Idahoans should be our example for tackling the challenges of the future.
I am confident, as a team, we can guarantee that Idaho will be the preferred place for liberty and economic prosperity for this generation and generations to come.
Thank you for your support— and being part of the team— propelling Idaho forward.