Candidate for: Idaho Senate, 1st District
Age: I abstained from adding my age, because I do not want to be judged for how old or young I am. I am in my 20s. But I would prefer people judge me by the content of my character and by my actions.
Years of residence in Sandpoint and Bonner County:
Marital status/family: Single
Recent or pertinent employment history:
Co-Owner of Avanti Web Services and Founder of Fioravanti Consulting
Public offices held:
Never held public office.
Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong:
• Founder of Republicans for Independence in 2012
• Host of the Idaho Politics Radio Show
• Founder of NorthIdahoPolitics.com
1. Why are you running for public office?
I have become more than concerned about the state of our government and the direction of our nation. The way to protect Idahoans from this economic mess is at the state level. I do believe we are getting further away from prosperity with every passing day. Nearly 40% of our state budget comes from the federal government. We are heading into an even greater economic depression. I have solutions and I want to fight for them in Boise. I don’t feel our current Senator is providing solutions we need right now.
2. Describe the top three to five issues you believe are most important; why you believe they are important; and your position on these issues.
Attracting new businesses to North Idaho by reducing taxes and regulations that keep businesses from coming to Idaho and hiring new employees.Did you know Idaho offers incentives for businesses interested in moving here? Yes. Unfortunately, these incentives are mostly available for mega corporations. That is called “crony capitalism,” picking winners and losers. How is that fair?Most businesses looking to move to North Idaho, specifically, are typically much smaller companies. They may have 5-25 employees. Being smaller, they do not qualify for the same incentives. So, rather than come here, they move to another state like Wyoming or Texas.If we are going to offer any tax reductions and incentives, it must be an even playing field. For example: If we offer a 10% reduction in all taxes across the board for new businesses moving here for the first 2 years; we should also provide this incentive to all current businesses within our borders. And, let’s not forget about small mom and pop businesses, which is the backbone of our country. They should receive equal incentives as well. Otherwise, aren’t we just picking a select group of “special cases” to support?
I want to fight to see REAL action in the legislature regarding tax and regulation reform. How about we start eliminating these overbearing regulations/taxes, instead of just talking about it?
Our economy is in too desperate of a situation to keep playing status quo, “do nothing” politics. However, with that being said, I do not truly believe it is the proper role of government to provide incentives for businesses. In a perfect world, we simply wouldn’t have overbearing taxes and regulations, so businesses wouldn’t need incentives in the first place. Government needs to get out of the way and let these businesses thrive on their own. My current proposition is one for the short term only. Long term, I hope to develop new revenue streams for the state that will allow us to reduce most taxes without burdening our budget.
- Transferring federally controlled public lands to Idaho. If we can facilitate the transfer of these lands to Idaho, we can create thousands of new jobs and start a new economic boom across Idaho. When this happens, we can have a significant tax base to fund our government operations. Can we then fund our schools, infrastructure and future growth? Absolutely!
- Repealing Idaho Healthcare Exchange and replacing with affordable free market solutions. Obamacare is going to put a massive burden on our economy. It will halt the growth of business; rewind the economic success of individuals and not even deliver the quality of care promised at a price affordable for everyone. In fact, people on social welfare will receive better care than the middle class families who are paying for those programs. This new system is crippling to many families! In Idaho, 70,000 individuals have signed up for Obamacare, however, 105,000 individuals have lost their medical insurance.
I believe this model of is not our best approach. I have solutions, such as “Direct Primary Care,” that will provide better care for individuals at extremely affordable prices, even for low income residents. We can implement this type of care alongside Medicaid and it can be an alternative that actually reduces the number of recipients and ultimately, reduces the cost to the tax payers.
Several months ago, I spoke with Dr. Garrison Bliss of Washington State who is using this model of care. His practice covers up to 90% of all healthcare, including caring for those with pre-conditions etc. He charges a flat membership fee of just $60-$100 per month! There is no co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles involved in his services.
I also support the implementation of health savings accounts, especially if we can repeal the healthcare exchange. There are multiple superior free market options to healthcare. We just need legislators willing to act and make a change.
- Dismantling and replacing Common Core with local control and new higher standards
Common Core is untested and we do not truly know how detrimental it will be to our children. We won’t know for another several years. By then, our children who have just been used as “guinea pigs” in this new operation will have gone through a destructive education system that may seriously damage their future. Do we really want to take that chance with our youth? I advocate for dismantling Common Core in Idaho and replacing the SBAC testing system. I believe we must return control to our local school boards, parents and teachers. I do support higher standards, but not Common Core. I say we let our local school districts compete and see who can create the perfect system that results in the highest achieving students. Other districts will follow as they see progress and success elsewhere in Idaho.
Our entire educational system is fundamentally flawed. It is broken. We keep throwing money at our schools and we still don’t seem to get anywhere. In the 1950’s, our educational system was the envy of the world. Our federal government was not involved in education at that time, nor did it cost us an arm and a leg to fund. So, the question is, how did we get here? I think we need to learn from history and restore our education system to earlier standards.
- Protecting property rights and personal liberties from federally unconstitutional laws
We live in a world where NSA spying is rampant, where the EPA can come into our state and tell our citizens they can no longer use their own land, because they unilaterally decided it is now considered “wetlands.” We live in a country where the NDAA and Patriot Act exist. The government claims the power to indefinitely detain you, a citizen, without due process. Is this America? Is this real freedom? NO.
The Idaho legislature has a responsibility and duty to protect its citizens from Unconstitutional federal encroachments. At this point, they aren’t doing it. We need strong leadership, uncorrupt, with a backbone, willing to fight for our people. When elected, I will support legislation to protect Idahoans property rights and personal liberties from any unlawful encroachments by the federal government.
3. At local candidate forums, many of the candidates have identified the economy and job creation as issues of concern. Do you consider this an important issue for legislators; if so, what specific actions would you advocate or support to improve the economy and jobs?
- We need to lower taxes
- We need to lower unemployment insurance premium
- Repeal over burdensome regulations.
I also feel there should be a campaign in other states to encourage businesses to move to Idaho. I have written more details on this subject in a previous question.
Please feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss this issue further. Here’s my campaign #: 208-502-0253 and website: IdahoSenate2014.com.
4. The state's budget for education was cut back after the recession took hold. The 2014 Legislature approved a $66 million, 5.1-percent funding increase for K-12 public schools this year, yet the budget remains more than $100 million lower than the 2009 budget, and Idaho's per-pupil spending on K-12 schools is second lowest in the country. Do you favor or oppose increased funding for education? If you support increased funding, how should the state pay for it?
I would certainly like to see adequate funding of our schools. I would also like to see increased salaries and bonuses for teachers who perform well. I think too much spending is going towards administration and not enough actually going towards our students and teachers.
Regarding the question of increased funding, I do not support spending what we don’t have. That means, if we need to cut other programs deemed “wasteful spending” in order to fund education, I will support that. At this point, I think the state needs to establish new avenues of savings and revenues in order to pay for education. Does that mean raising taxes? Absolutely not! I do not support raising taxes at all. I believe we need to find ways to reduce spending in all departments.
There is quite a bit of money out there to be saved. This will allow us to funnel millions of dollars back into education, if needed.
Again, I pose this question. Why are we spending so much money on education with such little return? We need to reform our education system, which is seriously broken, in order to adequately fund our schools and properly educate our children.
Throwing more money at a system that is fundamentally broken is not going to improve education. In a case where education will always require more money, we need a solution big enough to fund it. The best option we have in that case is to transfer the 63% of our state lands controlled by the federal government. This will bring not only jobs, but many hundreds of millions of dollars to the state in revenues. Can we fund our schools with say, another $800 million a year in state revenue? YES. That is what we must do. Our future prosperity depends on it.
5. In 2009, governors from 48 states undertook to develop a set of shared educational standards called the Common Core Standards. In 2011 the Idaho Legislature adopted the Idaho Core Standards, which schools are implementing this school year. The new standards have been supported by the governor, superintendent of education, business leaders and business groups; but they are opposed by grass roots groups from both ends of the political spectrum. What is your position on the Idaho Core Standards, and why?
Again, please see my previous answers for my stance on this issue. I do not support “Idaho Core” (Common Core) standards. I am in favor of higher standards, however. Our children are not “common.” We need to restore our education system to a model similar to that of early 1950’s America.
6. With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, Idahoans signed up at one of the highest per capita rates in the country - with more than 50,000 enrollments, second only to Vermont, according to Boise State Public Radio. Although Gov. Otter and most state legislators staunchly opposed the ACA, when it was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court the governor and Legislature authorized a state-run health exchange rather than requiring Idahoans in need of health insurance to use the federal exchange. Do you support or oppose the state insurance exchange, and why? By creating a state exchange, not only did we sign onto Obamacare, we agreed to enforce it as a state. The reality is, Obama did not want only a federal exchange to run healthcare nationwide.
Why? Because, if the states ignore the Unconstitutional law, called the ACA, how can the feds enforce it? They really can’t effectively. They do not have the resources to police the nation over healthcare. But, if they can get a state to sign on and implement a state exchange, the state will be responsible for enforcing it. Governor Otter threw us all under the bus.
Why do I oppose the exchange from insurance and care perspective? Please see my answer to question two. I outline in a quick overview better solutions to the exchange.
7. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government encourages expansion of Medicaid benefits in the states and offered to pay up to 90 percent of Idaho's Medicaid costs for those under or near the poverty line. However, Idaho is one of two dozen states that have not expanded Medicaid, resulting in an estimated 55,000 residents unable to get coverage either under Medicaid or the health exchange. Should Idaho expand its Medicaid coverage? If not, do you propose an alternative to provide coverage or health care for this group?
No, we absolutely should not expand Medicaid. We honestly cannot afford it! But, there are solutions. If someone cannot receive all the care they need through Medicaid, why not try direct primary care? A low income individual can enter a $30 - $80 per month membership (flat fee) to cover most, if not all, of the remaining health services. Through this model, we can actually bring many people off of Medicaid and reduce costs by millions of dollars to the state. We can expand community health centers and help empower individuals, while saving the state heaps of money.
This savings can also help fund education, roads, and bridges.
8. In their most recent session, legislators passed the so-called "ag-gag bill," a new law that makes it a crime to take photos or videos that document any practices in the animal agricultural industry, including animal abuse. The bill was supported by agricultural interests, but is now being challenged by animal welfare groups, proponents of First Amendment rights to free speech, and workers' rights groups who say it prevents farm workers from documenting unsafe conditions. Do you favor or oppose the ag-gag bill, and why?
This is an issue I still need to research. On one hand, I support private property rights. If you are an individual who decides to enter private property to record video of an agriculture operation, that is not right. You would be violating another’s right to privacy and property. However, if you are a worker at the farm where these crimes are being committed, I would support your action to record video of any wrong doings. These transgressions by large factory farms cannot go unpunished. Knowing what I do about the bill and its intricacies, I believe I would have voted no.
Again, this is an issue I need to study further. My biggest priority is following Constitutional law. We must be sure we are not violating another’s rights in the process of attempting to expose potential error.
9. Another new law passed this year was a bill that overrides no-carry gun policies on Idaho's college campuses. The bill to allow the carry of concealed weapons on campus was opposed by all eight state university presidents, plus the state Board of Education. It was favored by gun rights' groups. What is your position on this issue of guns on campus, and why?
I support this legislation. Honestly, I do believe it has more restrictions and limitations than necessary. The strict requirements in which an individual must follow in order to carry on campus are a bit “complicated.” However, this bill is advancing your ability to carry a firearm. So I support it. Our 2nd Amendment is very clear… “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Period.
Idahoans have a strong culture of firearms. However, did you realize Idaho ranks lower than more than 20 other states for gun rights? Idaho is not even in the top 5 for being pro gun. That shouldn’t be. We can do better.
10. What differentiates you from other candidates? Why should people vote for you?
I believe I am an individual that will hold to principle and not be bullied by group pressure. I feel I have a strong understanding of the Constitution and proper role of government and how it is to be applied. I believe a person should be defined by the content of their character, especially being a representative of the people.
I’ve owned several businesses over the last 7 years, helping individuals and small business owners to grow. I know what it takes to make a profit, and how government regulations destroy small business owners. Through my consulting firm, I’ve trained hundreds of people around the world in the field of internet marketing. I’ve authored and co-authored several books on the subject.
I’ve also been heavily involved in politics most of my life, especially in the last 4 years. In 2012, I founded “Republicans for Independence,” which emphasized PEOPLE and PRINCIPLE, and supported liberty-minded candidates for all levels of office. We successfully helped two of our endorsed candidates reach office in 2012. In late 2013, I launched "Idaho Politics Radio," a show to discuss what's going on in Boise, legislative issues, and for interviewing candidates for office. I also founded NorthIdahoPolitics.com, a website to deliver political news, election alerts, and candidate information, tailored to our North Idaho communities.
I left out much of my background and experience. I’ve accomplished much in my career; however, I do not take credit for these accomplishments. God has blessed me and He deserves all the credit.
I would also like to touch on the fact that I am a student of history. For years, I’ve studied the true history of our founding fathers. Alongside this study, I’ve placed major emphasis on researching our economic and monetary system in this nation. I understand the extremely destructive control the private “Federal Reserve” bank has over our monetary system. I understand the fraud that is “fractional reserve lending.” I know what makes economies boom and bust. It has always been a fascination of mine. Thomas Jefferson and other founders knew about these principles. They worked to establish a nation based individual rights, protection of private property, and limited government. These are the ingredients necessary to create an immensely prosperous economy.
Following these founding principles in Boise, your voice will finally be heard. I do not believe these are issues most of the other candidates understand. We can create jobs, wealth, world class healthcare, world class education, cheap energy, and true liberty if we simply follow these guidelines.
The question is, can I convince enough of our legislators in Boise to sign on to my ideas? I believe I can. I’ve worked in the legislature and have met with many of our Senators and Reps. I do believe if I can present these solutions, I can recruit enough legislators to join me.
Lastly, I humbly submit this; I would not be running if I did not believe I was the best candidate for the job. I’ve sacrificed more than people know to run for this office, because I know it is necessary to ensure a future for North Idaho families and the next generation.