January 10, 2018
Writer: Matthew Christensen
Idaho election campaigns for a new governor are underway as Governor Butch Otter finishes his third and final term after announcing that he would not run again. Democratic candidate for governor of Idaho, A.J. Balukoff, phoned in to BYU-Idaho Radio to share some plans for his campaign and overall focus. Balukoff, who lost to Otter in 2014 with 38.6 percent to Otter's 53.5 percent, is hopeful that a thorough tour and invested interest in the people of Idaho will, at the very least, raise awareness and change the mindset of many Idahoans who may be republican only by default.
"I plan to travel the state and visit people in all parts of the state," Balukoff said in the interview. "They'll find out I'm just like them. My values are pretty universal values for Idahoans. We believe in a strong public education system. We believe in healthcare access for everyone so that people get the healthcare they need when they need it and where they need it."
Balukoff also advocated what he believes to be an important topic: protecting access to public lands in Idaho.
"That's part of the Idaho heritage and tradition," Balukoff said. "To go into the mountains and the forests, whether you're hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping. There are some candidates who would like to put things in motion that will eventually lead to selling off some of those public lands."
Balukoff said education is his top priority, just like it was the first time he ran for governor.
"Education is my top issue," Balukoff said. "People have looked at what the overwhelming one-party leadership in our state has taken us: right to the bottom of education, right to the bottom in median income, and they're ready for change. As they see the democratic values that I'll be taking about, they're going to say ‘well, those are my values!' and I think we're going to be able to convince enough people that it's time to change the way we've been doing things in Idaho."
You can listen to the full interview below.