Most legislative candidates for office in Idaho rarely begin their campaigns boasting how conservative they are not.
Rexburg’s Doug Ricks appears to be an outlier.
Ricks attacked state Rep. Ron Nate, a first-term Republican, for holding too closely to his conservative values while at the Capitol in Boise. He accused Nate of being an outlier, and asserted that Nate did not align himself with the region’s delegation.
To be fair, Nate is an anomaly among his colleagues. During the 2016 legislative session, he supported conservative values and principles on 97 percent of his votes and fearlessly introduced legislation to reform the status quo, like his plan to end Common Core and SBAC requirements in Idaho, and his bill to repeal the unpopular Obamacare exchange.
The legislators who Ricks lionizes scored much, much lower than Nate on the Freedom Index. For example, Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill and Senate Majority leader Bart Davis of Idaho Falls both voted so poorly on conservative issues during the 2016 session that they earned themselves failing grades. Additionally, Nate’s seatmate, Dell Raybould, also found himself amongst the lowest on the Index.
In the last two years, many in the Eastern Idaho delegation supported incredibly unpopular policies. They helped pass a $95 million tax-and-fee hike, a measure to start Medicaid expansion in the state, voted to license bake sales, sought to raise taxes on Internet purchases and attempted to force sign-language interpreters to get a government license.
During that span, Nate opposed all the bad bills, plus he introduced legislation to stop legislators from receiving posh trips from lobbyists. Further, he supported tax relief for Idaho families.
In a recent Facebook post, Ricks said Nate “does not stand unified with the other legislators” who represent the Eastern Idaho region. After examining Eastern Idaho legislators’ votes, standing apart from them looks like a badge of honor.
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