Idaho governor candidates gearing up for election

We spoke with four candidates who are running for Idaho governor in the May primary.

BOISE -- The race is starting to heat up in the Idaho governor’s race. The candidates have just a little over three months until the primary elections will take place in May.

KTVB caught up with all the candidates to find out why they are running for governor and what their top priority would be if elected.

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TOMMY AHLQUIST

Republican candidate Dr. Tommy Ahlquist explains why he’s running for governor.

“It’s because we need leadership. This state is built on incredible values and amazing people. It is time to have new ideas, a fresh approach. It’s time to have real world leadership come in and take us where we can go next,” Ahlquist said.

Dr. Ahlquist explains what would be his top priority if elected.

“We will stay laser focused from dawn until dusk on health care, fixing it; education, getting us to the top of the nation, and small business. Right now, small businesses and families are forgotten in Idaho. We need to focus on small business and family and if we do that wages will rise,” Ahlquist said.

A.J. BALUKOFF

Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff explains why he’s running for governor.

“We need to give kids all over our state the equal opportunity to quality education. As a state we are not living up to the constitutional mandate to provide that general, uniform, and thorough system of public schools,” Balukoff said.

Balukoff explains what would be his top priority if elected.

“Improving our education system and making sure that kids in rural districts get the same type of opportunity and education that the kids in the urban area get, and I think one of the ways we do that is spend our money more wisely,” Balukoff said.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little

Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little explains why he’s running for governor.

“I’ve got a passion for Idaho. My family has been here for generations and I know how important it is that the people of Idaho have the best possible opportunity to succeed, thrive, and for the kids to stay here,” Little said.

Little explains what would be his top priority if elected.

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“One of the best ways to keep people here is to continue to work on education, which has been a big priority for mine and I think that's the best bait to get people to stay here, is they want to know that their kids are going to have the best education,” Little said.

PAULETTE JORDAN

Democratic candidate Paulette Jordan explains why she’s running for governor.

“Primarily to keep Idaho first. Idaho certainly deserves to be number one in every situation and right now the people’s voices are not being heard,” Jordan said.

Jordan explains what would be her top priority if elected.

“I would certainly look to address education reform and of course health care and the issues that are not being discussed or addressed at this point, which is our main streets and trying to connect all of Idaho because when we want to talk economy and building up economy you have to look at one, connecting education with local businesses,” Jordan said.

Jordan, a state representative from Plummer, had announced earlier in the week that she would resign to focus on the gubernatorial race. However, she said Friday that instead of resigning, she will bring in a substitute for the remainder of the 2018 session. Jordan said that she changed her plans after taking a closer look at state law, and realizing that her seat could be vacant for as long as a month if she had resigned.

CONGRESSMAN RAUL LABRADOR

Republican Congressman Raul Labrador explains why he’s running for governor.

“I love Idaho! I love its stunning beauty and I love the people. Becca and I have been so blessed to raise our children here around people of good character and strong work ethic and I want to make sure Idaho’s future is as bright and prosperous as it has been for my family,” Labrador said.

Labrador explains what would be his top priority if elected.

“My priority will be to implement My Conservative Vision for a Stronger Idaho, which will strengthen Idaho’s economy through lower taxes, fewer regulations and by getting government out of the way of market innovations; will dismantle the power and perks of establishment politicians; will make government fairer, more transparent and more accountable; will vigorously defend Idaho values and our God-given rights; and make Idaho a beacon of opportunity through top-notch schools and consumer-focused health care,” Labrador said.

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Labrador was traveling back from Washington, D.C. and was unavailable to go on camera, but sent us his response to our third question asking what he believes the biggest challenge facing Idaho and how he plans to address it.

"Idaho’s economy continues to be the most important issue for the state. My economic plan will strengthen Idaho’s economy by sharply reducing tax rates for families and businesses by dropping the sales tax, individual and corporate tax rates to 5%, and eliminates the sales tax on groceries. It also reforms government programs that prop up private businesses with public funds, modernizes existing urban renewal laws, reigns in wasteful spending, eliminates growth-stifling regulations, and makes Idaho’s workforce more competitive. Additionally, it helps protect citizens from reckless federal over-spending by reducing the state’s reliance on the federal government," Labrador said.