2020 CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE: Alex Barron
NAME: Alex Barron
RUNNING FOR: Idaho State Senate District 3
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Post Falls
DATE OF BIRTH: March 23, 1969
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: Graduated from Senn High School in Chicago, and received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland in Information Science.
MILITARY EXPERIENCE: I volunteered to leave my home, family and friends to serve this nation at the age of 17. I was enlisted in the United States Navy and in a number of noteworthy operations and exercises. I supported PACEX89 -- a massive show of force against the former Soviet Union, and the largest gathering of allied warships since War World II. I served during DESERT STORM. I supported KEEN EDGE, where I proposed and led the initial upgrade of the command and control information systems of the entire Japanese Navy. I worked with the United States Air Force to bring cutting-edge technologies in support of ENDURING FREEDOM; the War against the Taliban, and INHERENT RESOLVE; the war against the Islamic State.
EXPERIENCE IN ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICES:
Legislative District 3 Republican Vice Chairman (2018-present)
Kootenai County Idaho Republican Central Committee Secretary (2016-present)
Idaho Republican Party Liberty Caucus (2012-present)
Lincoln Club of San Diego Board Member & Executive Committee (2008-2010)
Lincoln Club of San Diego PAC co-Chairman (2009)
Started and supported the successful Propositions B and C, San Diego (2008)
Started and initially funded the successful No on Proposition A campaign, San Diego (2006)
Worked to expand the double border fence at Smugglers’ Gulch (2005)
Worked with San Diego Economic Development Corporation (EDC), on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commissions (2004)
YEARS AS AN IDAHO RESIDENT:
I began visiting Idaho in 2012 after the Idaho Republican Party Liberty Caucus reached out to me to help further their efforts to promote personal freedom and limited government. I began working with the Idaho Republican Party even before my family and I decided to make North Idaho our permanent home in 2015.
FAMILY: Wife Karina and four children ages 17, 13, 10 and 4
HOBBIES: Raising chickens, hay, horses, gardening, reading, running and politics.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?
My neighbors in Kootenai County and all Idahoans deserve a new generation of innovative conservative leaders to maximally expand economic opportunities and freedom. I have spent decades advocating for conservative principles and candidates.
My choice to defend this nation from multiple threats and challenges overseas, primarily with the U.S. Navy, has given me a unique perspective to help Idaho prepare for challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
We moved our family more than 2,000 miles to escape progressive policies. I am especially motivated to ensure Idaho not lose its unique culture and heritage by following failed liberal governance principles we escaped.
I have worked with venture-capital-launched companies in the technology and medical fields and was founder and CEO of an IT services business that was one of the fastest-growing small companies in San Diego County for two years running. I am well versed in ways the government can encourage business growth or destroy it.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THREE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES YOU’LL FACE?
Under President Trump’s low taxes and regulations policy, Idaho achieved an admirable 2.9 percent unemployment rate before the Wuhan virus pandemic. But, our small family-owned farms and ranches are disappearing, and the young find it challenging to buy land. We must continue to bring high-quality jobs to Idaho and support small farmers and ranchers.
Conservative governing principles have kept the state’s cost of living in Idaho low, taxes are relatively low and the state is one of the freest in the nation. Due to the work of Idaho’s conservative leadership and Liberty Republicans in the Senate and House, last year Idaho was recognized as the State with the least number of government regulations. This great accomplishment shows what Idaho can do when we unify our Republican caucus.
Still, there are challenges. We must keep the budget under control while dealing with enormous growth. We must balance affordability of housing with private property rights. We must look to new growth to pay for new infrastructure.
There has been an unsupportable increase in state spending in recent years. Idaho’s General Fund’s calculated annual growth rate (CAGR) was a reasonable 2.74 percent from 2007-2018. However, from 2015-2018, the CAGR was 6.34 percent. If Idaho had held the CAGR, there would be $800 million more in the pockets of Idahoans.
Our state often underreports expenditures. For fiscal year 2018 alone, about $65 million in state spending was hidden as transfers and reduction in revenues. Thus, it is claimed that fiscal year 2018 spending increased only 5.4 percent over 2017. When you add back the transferred fiscal year 2017 expenditures that should be counted in fiscal year 2018, the real increase is 9.1 percent. We absolutely must rein in the State’s spending growth.
Higher education is one area we can look to for savings. A key challenge is administrative bloat. Boise State University is the university in Idaho with a growing enrollment, but both University of Idaho and Idaho State University keep adding staff. In one university the expense for institutional support is up 67 percent, and tuition has increased by 94 percent. Taxpayers and Idahoans trying to send young people to college are being impacted by this administrative bloat.
Another challenge will be paying for the recent Medicaid expansion without significantly raising taxes.
IF ELECTED, WHAT STEPS WILL YOU TAKE TO RESOLVE THESE ISSUES?
We must expand economic opportunities in Idaho if we want our children to remain in this state. Idaho must do better in advertising its excellent business environment and cost savings potential for relocating businesses.
I was in Southern California when Buck Knives moved their company to Post Falls. We must do all we can to attract companies like Buck Knives – now a pillar of our community -- and encourage the growth of existing Idaho companies. As President Trump pushes for a return for labor-intensive manufacturing to the U.S., Idaho needs to take the lead.
A platform of my campaign is “Idaho Resources for Idaho Jobs.” The amount of timber left to die annually in Idaho’s forests could generate more than 24,000 new wood processing jobs. Managing our natural resources also increases the health of Idaho forests and reduces the threat of forest fires. We can cultivate the resources of our state without exploiting them. I vow to work with our federal congressional representatives to support the Resilient Federal Forests Act, which will give our state more control over management of Idaho’s forest lands.
Idaho’s conservative values make our state attractive to those fleeing failed progressive states. We need to work to attract those who want to become a part of Idaho and retain the state’s character and values – not those who want to change it to another failed progressive state. We must also work to protect long-term residents from the skyrocketing cost of infrastructure.
Idaho’s public colleges and universities need to rein in costs and focus on offering Idaho’s children the most cost-effective education possible. I support the Idaho Senate’s proposal to freeze all tuition for Idaho colleges for one year and to demand a 1 percent reduction in costs, followed by a 2 percent reduction in costs the next year. Idaho residents should be given first priority for financial aid at Idaho schools to help keep our children and talent here in Idaho.
I will work with my Sen. Steve Vick and Sen. Mary Souza, and Rep. Tony Wisniewski and Rep. Ron Mendive, to continue to advance conservative governing principles in Boise. I have positively interacted with each of these elected representatives for a number of years and will leverage these relationships to be the best advocate for Kootenai County residents.
We need to focus on finding funding for Medicaid expansion. We should also tighten our Proposition process to ensure future voter led propositions are paid for.
WHAT SPECIFIC SKILLS OR EXPERIENCE QUALIFY YOU FOR THIS JOB?
As a father, husband, veteran, small business owner, engineer and gentleman farmer, I bring a unique set of expertise and experience to Boise. While serving in and with the U.S. Navy, I answered the call to protect our great nation in some of the most involved challenges in modern history.
The Republican Party and business community tapped me to help defend more than $10 billion in economic activity in the greater San Diego area during the BRAC process. We gained facilities while other parts of the nation lost them.
When the Republican Mayor of San Diego sought ideas to reduce the cost of government services, I put together an initiative allowing the private sector to compete for government work. The initiative won with more than 60 percent support from voters.
I was an early, robust and vocal advocate for Idaho Constitutional Carry and will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment rights of all Idahoans. I will seek to expand firearm safety courses, rifle teams and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs in our state.
Unlike my opponents I have been very active in the local Republican Party supporting other conservatives get elected. I raised significant sums of money and volunteered hundreds of hours to help other local conservatives get elected. In the first year I volunteered on the local Republican Central Committee, we raised more money than any other year on record.
WHY SHOULD VOTERS ELECT YOU, RATHER THAN AN OPPONENT?
The Wuhan coronavirus pandemic reinforces the need for elected leaders with experience in dealing with large-scale challenges. Idaho also needs someone deeply committed to the U.S. and Idaho constitutions. I am that candidate. I have met many threats to our nation for many years, and as your State Senator I will put that expertise to work.
Unlike some, I enjoy talking to my neighbors, presenting ideas, and getting feedback. I will always seek your input on decisions going on in Boise. You can often find me at Georgie’s Rathdrum on Saturday morning for breakfast, and you can always email or call me directly.
I am an abortion survivor. Many people want to end this practice, but I am uniquely aware of abortion’s evils. I am incredibly passionate about protecting life from the moment of conception.
I am the only veteran in this race. That experience has led me to understand we live in a very fragile world. America is exceptional with a unique culture and heritage. We should teach the greatness of this nation and our State.
I am the only engineer in this race, and would be one of the few engineers serving in Boise. I have successfully implemented highly sophisticated systems to address tough challenges for decades. I have worked with large teams made up of multiple disciplines, providing an advantage in finding solutions to a myriad of problems.
We are facing uncertain times today. With the Lord’s help, communities that unite as neighbors, friends and family in the pioneering spirit that made American and Idaho great will flourish. I look forward to helping usher Idaho into a new generation of greatness while promoting freedom, economic opportunity and moving conservative values forward.
Find out more about my “Opportunity and Freedom” agenda at alexanderbarron.com. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (208) 981-8048.