Idaho, like the rest of America, has a history of racism. The Aryan Nation came to North Idaho in the 1970s and has kept a presence ever since. Many people around the U.S. hear Idaho and think first of potatoes, and then white supremacy.
As I’ve traveled Idaho’s 44 counties and met the men and women who make up our state, I know that we are so much more than the hate with which we are sometimes associated.
I recently had the honor of attending the Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. There, I was among nearly 200 people who took part in changing the narrative of racism here in Idaho — last year, this very site was vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti. This didn’t happen a generation ago, or even a decade ago, but in May 2017.
Organizers quoted Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus, who said, “Let us always reject the forces of hatred and bigotry.” I believe that we can answer that call for a brighter tomorrow, but it requires us to think deeply about who we want to be, and what we want from our community. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with so many Idahoans who are resolutely committed to an anti-racist future, I believe we can achieve equality for all Americans.
Some Idaho politicians, including my opponent, Janice McGeachin, have actively supported divisions within our state. By thanking racists commenting on her social media and by attending events supported by groups linked to and supportive of anti-immigration and white nationalist agendas, she condones a future in which Idaho remains unequal, an Idaho whose future is clouded by division. I believe we are better than that, that we can, as Andrus said, “reject the forces of hatred and bigotry.”
Idaho is, truly, too great for hate. As your Lieutenant Governor, I will stand up for the rights of all Idahoans and I ask you to open your heart. Vote for those in our society who feel left out. Together, we can stand for the well-being of all creation, for religious equality and freedom, for integrity and character in our leaders, for the safety of all in public and in private, for the poor and vulnerable, and for the prosperity of all who work hard for their families and communities.