Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
Carrie: With the Idaho Legislature back in session, we’ve asked five of eastern Idaho’s top business leaders for their number one do’s and don’ts.
Jerry: We’re pleased to share comments from Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot, Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard, Idaho Farm Bureau President Bryan Searle, Ball Ventures CEO Cortney Liddiard and MarCom LLC President Marcella Medor.
Carrie: Let’s start with Jeff Newgard. What’s your number one do?
Jeff Newgard: Continue to invest in Idaho students, our public schools and our community colleges. The voters overwhelmingly (80%) approved the advisory vote on education and tax relief from the special session last September.
Carrie: And your don’t?
Jeff Newgard: I’d rather share another do. Continue to support investments in cybersecurity to further protect our elections, utilities, municipalities, public infrastructure and private businesses. Cyber-attacks are a major threat; the Legislature has an opportunity to make important investments at the state level.
And let’s set an example for respectful and civil discourse. We are all Idahoans working for the betterment of our communities, our families and our businesses.
Jerry: Now it’s Cortney Liddiard’s turn.
Cortney Liddiard: Do focus on measures that prioritize educating and training our workforce, particularly in the trades and fields not requiring a four-year degree. For example, we have a severe shortage of nurses right now. We need to step up our game so Idaho’s citizens can gain the necessary skills and training here in Idaho and take these skills directly into our workforce. Let’s provide our kids a prosperous future in Idaho.
Jerry: And your don’t?
Cortney Liddiard: Don’t allow Idaho to remain at the bottom of the nation in terms of health care, including access to primary care providers or behavioral health specialists. The people of Idaho deserve better. Prioritize the training of health care workers.
Carrie: Now let’s hear from Bryan Searle. Besides leading the Idaho Farm Bureau, he’s a farmer in Shelley.
Bryan Searle: Don’t shift the property tax burden onto agriculture by increasing the homeowner’s exemption. Property taxes are an unfair tax within our state. We must be wise in our approach to ensure all participate fairly and not simply make one class pay more than another.
Carrie: And your do?
Bryan Searle: Do realize the fact that people are driving without licenses or insurance. Restricted driver’s licenses will help protect and make our roads safe.
Jerry: Next, let’s ask Marcella Medor to weigh in. Did you know she’s the Small Business Administration’s 2022 Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Idaho?
Marcella: Thanks Jerry. I’d like to see the Idaho Legislature work to assist and promote small businesses in Idaho. Homegrown businesses in Idaho provide the building blocks for a strong community. They have a greater vested interest in their community and employees. There are over 176,000 small businesses in our great state, which represents 99.2% of all Idaho businesses.
Jerry: And your don’t?
Marcella: I’d like our legislators to remember they are elected officials by the people. Please stop unnecessary partisanship and work together to help the people who elected you to do just that. There are too many constituents without medical insurance, or are homeless or are trying to support families well below the poverty line.
Carrie: Lastly, but certainly not least, is Frank VanderSloot. Let’s hear some of his thoughts.
Frank VanderSloot: Don’t buy into the political rhetoric that those who disagree with us are our enemies. Politicians from both parties use those tactics to create hatred and fear because they know it activates voters. But hatred and fear never solve problems. Neither does attacking each other. Usually, those who disagree with us simply see it differently. Only those with the weakest argument must resort to destroying the opposing messenger to win.
Carrie: And your do?
Frank VanderSloot: Do seek opportunities to make friends with the other side—not to yield to their position but to earnestly hear them out. And seek that opportunity to explain your position. If you have the best argument and you create an atmosphere of seeking resolution, you’ll have a much better chance of winning them over to your viewpoint. If you deem them your enemy, you will have no such opportunity.
Jerry: Nicely done. I couldn’t have said that better myself.
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