I was raised in Richfield, Idaho and Twin Falls, Idaho.
I was born to hard working parents who operated a farm/ranch in Richfield, Idaho. Our best crop was lava rock but the market is saturated for lava rock so it's not a great money making venture. They had sheep early on and when I was four years old we moved to Twin Falls so Dad could better provide for our family. They sold their sheep and equipment and Dad worked for the Southern Idaho Production Credit Assn. He worked there until he retired in the late 1970's. We moved back to Richfield about 1966 and I worked on our farm/ranch through the inflation of the 1970's and early 1980's. We put on a modern irrigation system and after Mt. Saint Helens erupted we had a year where it froze every month of the year in Richfield. That year, with the boost in interest rates to bring inflation under control (12% on land and 16-17% for operating money), we didn't make enough to pay the interest on our debt, let alone the operating and principal payments. Within two years we were out of business. We thus have a personal and up close view of the challenges facing agricultural operations - especially in times of crop failure, inflation, and rising interest rates.
I was educated in Idaho, Utah, and Texas.
I attended the College of Southern Idaho, graduating with a Associate of Arts. I then attended Utah State University, Logan, UT and graduated with a BS in Agricultural and Irrigation Engineering and a MS in Irrigation Engineering. Upon completion of my BS I worked for the University of Idaho Agricultural Research Center in Kimberly, researching irrigation systems for use on the Bruneau Plateau. Later I went to Texas A & M University in College Station, TX and obtained a PhD in water resources engineering. In 1997 I returned to school to obtain a Juris Doctorate from BYU. All of the schools I attended for my BS, MS, and PhD are agricultural schools and were focused on the basics, teaching students "how" to think rather than "what" to think. Education, in my opinion, is to obtain knowledge that applies to your chosen field and teach students to examine differing ideas and to be able to critically think through differing approaches and methods. This allows the student to develop their own conclusion as to what they believe. What to think should not be imposed on our children and grandchildren by schools and universities but rather they should be taught how to think.
I strongly believe in the Constitution of the United States as it is written.
I believe that the Declaration of Independence was the vision statement and justification for our nation. Once our nation had achieved independence we then needed to form a government with limited powers so that our government would not repeat the problems that our ancestors had experienced under England and the other nations from which our ancestors arrived. The founders had studied the governments and the history of many nations and attempted to develop a government that would avoid the problems others had encountered. I believe the founders were raised up by God for the purpose of creating the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I believe the Constitution needs to be interpreted according to what is written as intended by the framers. I do not believe that it is a living document that can be interpreted based on the modern views of government. It is not outdated and does not need to be replaced. The founding fathers studied a variety of forms of government and combined them into a form that would allow us freedom of choice in our lives and protect our rights to private property, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech as well as the other rights found in the bill of rights. This should allow us to have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our government was designed to protect us from the federal government and those who would want to be tyrants, dictators, and kings.
I have worked in the Hospitality/Tourism Industry.
After we married my wife, we managed the Ketchum Korral Motor Lodge in Ketchum, ID for two years before moving to Texas. After many wonderful experiences and education (and an occasional stint in Idaho) we returned to Idaho in 2011 and began renting our cabins in Featherville. In 2013 we leased and operated the Hayhurst Bed & Breakfast for 6 1/2 years before it was sold to the present owners. We aggressively marketed the Bed & Breakfast for weddings in the summer & fall, snowmobile groups in the winter and family vacations and reunions in the summers. We continue to rent cabins in the Pine/Featherville area for guests all year. I thus understand the importance of the recreation industry to Idaho and to the 8th District and can understand first hand the challenges we face and how proposed laws impact this important industry.
I have worked in the Natural Resources Area for most of my career.
My interests have always involved natural resources. As a teen, furrow irrigating our fields in Richfield, I was fascinated with how water flowed and moved sediment (dirt) - mostly filling low spots in the corrugates/furrows and then going a different direction than where it was supposed to go. I also loved using our tractor and make channels though the slush during spring melt & note how the water moved. I also enjoyed watching the erosion processes when water was running over the county roads (especially when school was out for flooding). I have spent the majority of my career studying water flow and sediment transport (movement of dirt & rocks in water) and how that is impacted by vegetation along our streams and rivers. My law studies focused on natural resources law and administrative law. I will bring all of the education and experience I have obtained with me to the Senate if I am elected.
I have worked on high visibility projects and issues with diverse teams.
As a part of work for the US Army Corps of Engineers, I served on two White House Task Forces that reviewed the 1993 Mississippi and Missouri River Floods that devastated the northern mid-west. As a part of that review we held symposiums that involved the environmental community, national leaders in water flows, river behavior, and flooding. I presented papers, led studies, and was the moderator at some of the meetings. The task forces involved biologists, engineers, environmentalist, NRCS personnel, and other interests all working together. In the beginning the engineers were somewhat distrusted by the biologists and some other members of the team but by the end of the task force we had come to understand one another and our differing motives and were able to work through issues and arrive at recommendations that were good for the rivers, floodplains, and for the nation. From this I have learned that most of those working to protect our environment are dedicated, honest, and committed to making our nation better. We need to be able to discern those who are honest in heart and care for America from those who are simply working for personal gain or political power.
I have visited socialist/communist nations.
While I was working in Africa, I visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which was under communist rule at the time. It was as if time had stopped when the communists took over. There was little, if anything, to buy in stores. Shops with music looked as if time had stopped. Music on sale was from 10 to 15 years before I was there. We walked home from a shopping area through the neighborhoods and found that the people were throwing rocks at us. A local who was, fortunately, walking with us yelled at everyone that we were Americans, not Russians, and the rocks stopped because the citizens of Ethiopia hated the Russians who were "assisting" the ruler of the nation in imposing Communism. That experience has stayed with me ever since.