New District 5 State Senator Dan Foreman (91.5% voting index on the Idaho Freedom Foundation ‘Freedom Index’) gave a rousing address at the recent Benewah Republican Liberty Caucus meeting in St. Maries, ID on May 20th.
He said that he always admired those that participated in the original 1776 fight for independence and recognizes that it had to be exciting to be involved in such a seminal event in the history of freedom. “Well, we will all have the opportunity to be active in the next struggle for freedom in the spirit of ’76 because whether we like it or not, that struggle is upon us.”
Foreman reported that politics are alive and well in Boise and stated the following overarching concerns seem to be operative to many, at least in the Senate, where he confined his remarks because that’s where he works. “Senators seem to avoid public exposure on contentious issues, they don’t want to make themselves targets. There is safety in numbers, if the trend is to vote yes on a bill then vote with the pack. Give everybody what they want, vote yes on appropriations bills, avoid casting the one dissenting vote.
“The committee chairs have too much bloody power. Lots of proposed legislation comes their way. Why should one man or woman be able to short stop somebody else’s ideas and put it in a desk drawer and say nope, we are not even going to debate it or vote on it. I say let the committee see it and decide if it’s a bad bill.
“Senator Leadership. Let me preface my remarks here. I know those folks, they are good men, they were very cordial with me and I don’t have a beef with any of them. But, I don’t like some of the things they do. It’s not personal, it’s professional. They hold back important bills and fail to keep the rank and file senators fully informed sometimes on key pieces of legislation. Business of the people should not be so shrouded in mystery and confusion. This creates an atmosphere of ‘just hurry up and vote’ right before the end of the session.”
Senator Foreman said he thinks they over legislate. They had 770 draft bills in the last session, 530 of them got bill numbers and most of them got passed. He said “Why, do you need all those bills, do you need all these extra laws and rules and regulations? This goes on session after session. I’d like to see us flip that coin over and get rid of 530 laws every session. We don’t need them.” This remark drew a strong applause.
“So where do we go from here? How do we address these and other issues to steer our great state in the future? What steps must be taken to preserve and protect Idaho and the nation as a whole while meeting the challenges ahead?
FOCUSING ON REALITY
“Idaho must lead the way for America. We are a beacon of common sense, conservatism, and moral values in troubled times. I can’t tell you how many people volunteered to me that they came here, new to the state, because of our decency, our sense of morality patriotism and the fact that they can be free here in Idaho. They see a storm coming and they view Idaho as a safe haven. Financial things don’t send people to Idaho, jobs don’t send people Idaho, God sends people Idaho.
“There are some things we need to do in Idaho to remain strong. We need to reprioritize our spending in an effort to live within our means. We spend too much on niceties, leaving no room for necessities. Up to $300 million plus interest of new debt is now yours, compliments of your state legislature. And it didn’t have to be there, it really didn’t. The Legislature should not try to give everything to everybody, that’s not our job. It is not fiscally responsible. Sometimes we just need to tell people no!
“Term limits and improved communication within the legislature will enable lawmakers to vote and hold the line on spending by taking the re-election motive off their backs and freeing their vote with full knowledge beforehand. Ladies and gentlemen if you sit in the Senate, and before you vote consider how it will impact your chances for re-election you may as well pack your bags and go home because you’re not going to do the right thing.
IT TAKES COMMITMENT
“You people gave me two years. I’m going to use two years to do what needs to be done. Sometimes you need a little more backbone and a little less politics. We grew state government by almost 10% this last session. This growth of government is unnecessary and wasteful and it’s unsustainable. Our county is not growing at 10%, so how can the business of government grow at 10%? We had a surplus for a second and third year in a row and they just looked for ways to spend it. We must shrink the size of government by avoiding redundancies in our state organizations and structures and by resisting the bureaucratic tendencies to create new government agencies, departments, and boards.
“I can’t tell you how many bills I saw that talked about hiring new people to do the job that’s already being done quite admirably by the people we have in government, or creating a new branch or part of an agency. We can’t keep going that way. It’s the normal tendency of government to grow itself and we need to rein that in.
RIGHTING WELFARE AND EDUCATION
“We must redefine our welfare system to reduce its size and fiscal impact while making the system more effective. Shrink the welfare net rather than expand it. Our welfare system must have as its goal getting people off the programs back on their own economic feet. Two key factors will enable Idaho to accomplish this goal, education, and jobs.
“When you take a good look at our education system, I don’t think our public education system is doing the job it needs to do. It’s not a blame game, it’s a let’s get realistic game. I also say it’s not within your government’s charter to create jobs. Jobs are one of the keys to getting people off of welfare but it’s not my charter to get you a job. I’m not private sector, I’m public sector and everything I do burns your money. It is the private sector’s role to find jobs, create wealth and get our people working.
“By encouraging education full employment and reducing welfare, fraud, and abuse we can shrink that welfare net and apply welfare dollars to those who truly need it. We must improve our public school system in Idaho by eliminating illegal drugs from the classroom.
I’m a retired cop, and I’m here to tell you, every school I was in had a drug problem. Management doesn’t like to admit it, I understand, but they do have a drug problem. We need to empower our teachers and administrators to enforce commonsense classroom discipline and we need to drop Common Core [big applause]. Let’s take control of our schools from the federal government and return it to the people of the state of Idaho. Let’s put our flag, the Pledge of Allegiance and free speech, including the Christian Bible back into Idaho’s classrooms [big applause]. Let us balance the liberal agenda so prevalent in our public schools with open debate and exposure to ideas. And finally, let’s make our post-secondary education system performance and job skill oriented. Our graduates must exit our education system with usable job skills and while we are at it, let’s reduce tuition at our state universities so our graduates aren’t saddled with crippling school debt.
“Unless you go into specialty training you come out of our education system, most of the time, with no added job skills. You come out with whatever you went in with, the system is not working. We can fix it, and I think we will fix it.
RE-ESTABLISHING STATE SOVEREIGNTY
“Idaho must stand up to the federal government in defense of her constitutional rights and gradually shift control of public lands back to the people of Idaho [big applause]. We can peacefully do this with firmness and the dignity of a sovereign state but first, we must wean ourselves off the federal dollar. One-third of our state budget consists of federal dollars. Those dollars come with strings and those strings collectively bind our state’s decision making and impede our future as a sovereign state.
STRENGTHING OUR MORAL AND PATRIOTIC VALUES
“Finally Idaho must recognize its moral values as the true underpinning of its greatness. We must stop the annual killing in our state of over 1400 innocent unborn human beings every year [big applause]. We must stop the murder, we must end abortion and live up to the value of our state constitution and the intent expressed in our state laws.
“I’ll leave you with the following thought, Idaho must continue to step up to its necessary role as a national leader in the restoration of patriotism, morality, and pride in the American way of life. My friends, we have been silent too long. The conservative moral majority must begin to speak out and take our necessary rightful places as the true leaders of our great state in the nation. For you see, the next 1776 is upon us, and we will honor those brave patriots who put their very lives on the line to create the grand beginning of freedom called America. We must not and will not fail.
“We must all stand and fight for our state, our constitutional rights, and the continued existence of our nation as a defender of personal freedoms, moral values, and the dignity of human life and our God-given and constitutional right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”