Being “fiscally responsible” runs far deeper than just being a campaign buzz phrase; it is values-deep. I am, at my core, fiscally responsible because of a lifetime of circumstance and discipline.
My father raised three children while working multiple jobs to make ends meet, so my education on frugality started before I even knew the meaning of economy. All I saw, therefore all I knew, was a functional existence on the fewest dollars possible. I come from a Depression-era father who has socks older than me and washes and reuses his baggies! This is what informs my view of financial management and responsibility.
When I graduated from high school at 17, college simply wasn’t an option financially. I joined the Army because I knew I could make a living and get an education on a lean but predictable budget and serve my country at the same time! Proudly, I have been financially independent since then, learning to budget, balance my checkbook, and plan for the future. I left the Army with a master’s degree and a means to further support myself and my family.
I built my home 21 years ago here in Idaho and raised my children, mostly as a single mother and on a single paycheck. I’m not saying it was easy, but because I understood the power of a budget, how to live within my means, and very luckily stayed healthy, I was able to make it work. I started a college fund for each of my children the month they were born, and even when I could only afford to put in $5, I continued to save for their futures.
Because being fiscally responsible is part of who I am, it has shaped the actions and budget in my campaign. I was told I needed to raise up to $500,000 and I balked! I understood that each of those dollars would come from donors, and I knew every cent must be spent wisely. I believed if I operated on an honest, grassroots, lean budget, I could ask for less while delivering on 100% of my supporters’ expectations and still spread my important message across Idaho.
We made a promise early on that our donor’s hard-earned dollars would not be spent on restaurant food or motels. Fortunately, generous people (who are now dear friends) have stepped up throughout the state to offer beds, couches, and even floors, so we can stay true to our promise. We pack our food for each trip: our cooler has thousands of miles on it now…and has saved our donors hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on what might have been drive-through or restaurant food. As promised, every cent goes toward the true necessities of a campaign…toward a win in November.
As a candidate, I offer you myself, my values, and my life experience. All those things bring us to the same end: a public servant who is respectful of money, where it comes from, and how it is spent.