BOISE, Idaho — On Thursday, Idaho Governor Brad Little presented a four-step plan to reopen the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Still though, Idaho small business owners say they need help now.
Idaho Rep. Russ Fulcher says that help is coming.
“By law we are preventing people from making a living right now, and as long as that is the case, there is an obligation to provide some relief,” Fulcher said.
Fulcher spoke Thursday on the House Floor in Washington, D.C., about getting help to businesses in Idaho through the Paycheck Protection Program.
That program passed hours later Thursday.
Fulcher says he knows people are hurting.
“The sooner we can hit the gas on this economy, the better. Let’s not think for a minute it’s going to be automatic; it’s going to take time it’s going to take stages, it’s going to take recovery,” Fulcher said.
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Opening up the economy though is a tricky test of social consequences versus community health issues. Fulcher says he thinks there is now a good balance.
“If you are a medical professional, you are going to err on the side of your profession. If you are a business professional, you are going to err on the side of your profession. Where is it a happy medium? I think we are right there. I think we are at that point in the case of Idaho, and I think it is time we start moving things forward,” Fulcher said.
As mentioned, help is coming from the federal government, but Fulcher says Idaho community also needs to come together
“The programs will get reauthorized are designed to try and help you. At the same time, unfortunately government is not the answer to everything. We're going to have to depend on each other through this whole process. We're going to have to depend on the city groups, the church groups, on the community, on our families because, that’s just the nature of the beast,” Fulcher said.
Doing that will help get things rolling.
“The best thing we can do is to try and follow those general health guidelines, but also understand that not having this economy switched on creates a whole other type of pandemic, it’s called poverty,” Fulcher said.
Times are tough though and Fulcher says he knows plenty of people are upset and protesting. He believes the federal government and state of Idaho are acting with their best intentions.
“Understandably people are upset because there have been some liberties that are lost. But, I can tell you I believe that it’s been the president’s best intent to do things in a way that would protect people, and I think it’s the same thing with the governor,” Fulcher said.
Through it all though, Fulcher is proud of the hard work and creativity coming out of Idaho. One example, Percussionaire Corporation making ventilators out of north Idaho. Fulcher knew of their work and was able to connect them with resources to get their ventilators out across the country.
“When you start becoming the part of the solution instead of part of the problem, now were getting someplace. That’s what I typically see of the Idaho way here,” Fulcher said.
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