Madame lieutenant governor

By Dan Schmidt

For the life of me, I can’t figure why someone would work their tail off for nine months to get a part-time umpire job that makes you live in Boise.

Because, besides the rare occurrence of filling in for the governor, the Lieutenant Governor has the thankless job of umpiring the Idaho Senate when it’s in session January to maybe April. And that’s about it. Take my word for it, it’s not glamorous, powerful, or fulfilling.

It can’t be the money: an annual salary of $37,000 with benefits would mean you couldn’t afford to buy a house in the booming Boise real estate market. It has been a boon to the Idaho taxpayers that Brad Little, our current excellent Lieutenant Governor, lived in Emmett, close enough that all he had to invest in Boise real estate was a modest condo.

It can’t be the power. If slamming the gavel down on misbehaving Senators brings a warm feeling to your heart, maybe a little smile to your countenance, that will fade if you’re doing your job right. No good umpire enjoys calling a strike more than a ball. No, there’s only one reason besides a pure sense of public service that one might fight and work so hard for such a thankless job. It might just be what the job has become in this one-party state: a springboard to a higher partisan office.

Our 34th lieutenant governor, Phil Batt made this a reality, but only because he saw the need to revive the Idaho Republican Party back in 1984. Idaho had suffered under Democrats in the executive offices for 30 years then. He did a great job of it too; Idaho has been dominated by Republicans now for thirty years, thanks in part to his efforts.

Since Phil, the part-time office has served as a farm team job for Idaho Republicans: Butch Otter (36th Lt. Gov.) went on to serve Idaho in Congress, then 12 years as Governor. Jim Risch (38th and 40th) took a swan dive off the springboard into the US Senate. And David Leroy (35th) sat in the office while looking around for any available opening (congress twice, governor twice). And we are about to elect a reluctant Lieutenant Governor (Brad Little, 41st) to our states highest office. It’s like Brad got caught on the assembly line Phil created.

When partisan politics is the game you play, a constitutional office is just a position on the field, or even on the bench. Lieutenant Governor in Idaho is now the backup quarterback position for the party in power. Our founders knew politics could be a profession for those so inclined, and such an inclination does not serve the public good. The office was constitutionally kept so nominal in an effort to discourage its use as such. But our founders probably didn’t imagine how partisan politics could be amplified by Facebook or Russian troll bots.

Does any of this tell you who might best serve us in this position? Do you want to elect a good umpire or a backup quarterback? Do you want your vote to serve the public good or your partisan persuasion? I’m voting for Kristin Collum. Not because she’s a veteran, or a woman, or a Democrat. She’d be a good umpire. I’m not looking for a backup quarterback.

Kristin Collum for Idaho Lieutenant Governor Transcript

The following is a full transcript of our interview with Kristin Collum, the Democratic candidate running for the office of Idaho Lieutenant Governor.

Inland Northwest News: “Could you provide a basic description of your platform? What do you want to see for Idaho as Lieutenant Governor?
Kristin Collum: So as Lieutenant Governor I would like to just see more cooperation, more unity. I’m a moderate, and what I see right now is just the fabric of our communities, even our families, just being divided, and I think we all need to come together and work together on what’s best for Idaho and not so much what’s best for a party.

INWN: For those who don’t know, what are some of the main duties of the Idaho Lieutenant Governor and how do you plan to fill those roles?
KC: There are two primary duties. One is president of the Senate. So Senate is in session from January to March, and it’s overseeing the parliamentary rule – so that’s the primary one. They do have a tie-breaking vote, but in Idaho, we have 35 senators so it doesn’t happen very often, maybe every once every few years. The other thing is the acting governor when the governor is out of state. So that is – the big thing there is just keeping the ship steady, it’s being a calm, collected, steady leader that keeps things in place and when the governor comes back, even better than when they left it.

INWN: Medicaid expansion is obviously a major issue for this election with Prop 2 on the ballot. Where do you stand on that measure? What does closing the healthcare gap in Idaho look like to you and do you have any plans to address that, if elected?
KC: Yes. So I’ve been to each of the 44 counties in Idaho as a candidate and this issue has come up in every single county. I’ve heard some just heartbreaking stories – very large concern about people, even if they’re not directly impacted, they know somebody who is and they’re really worried about that. So I do expect Medicaid expansion, Prop 2, to pass, and then it’s a concern of will the legislature listen to the votes of the people. There have been times in the past when Idaho’s legislature has not, so it would be a matter of watching that go through, making sure it’s shepherded safely, and then it’s up to Health and Welfare to implement. So it impacts at least 62,000 people. They’re working families, they’re really needing just that ability to stay healthy so that they can work so that they can prosper and go on, and it’s also a big deal for rural hospitals. They have to write off tens of thousands of dollars every month because they’re providing the service to the people in the gap, and yet having to write it off. We need to be helping those rural hospitals so that they don’t have to close down. That would be a travesty. And also once we pass Medicaid expansion, it attracts medical professionals from other states to come, and, you know, we have a dearth of medical professionals, behavioral health professionals. Those people would then be more attracted to coming here because they know that they would get paid, and we have such a lack of those, especially outside of our cities that Medicaid expansion really is that big first step, and the thing that we’ve so desperately needed for the last six years.

INWN: Education has also been a big issue for Idaho in recent years. What are some of your thoughts on the current educational system, and do you have any plans to potentially help improve education in the state?
KC: So my thoughts come from when I was in the military when I was in the tech sector, you know, decades of this, what I see are the symptoms of low morale. So you look at the high attrition rate of teachers, you look at the inability to backfill teachers, and the basic thing is they’re feeling disrespected, not appreciated, not listened to, not paid really. There’s a very, very deep problem there that needs to be solved, and that’s where I would start. That’s, you know, when I was in the military when you saw morale problems, you had to go talk to the soldier, you know, when you’re in big corporations, you had to go talk to the workers, the people on the front lines. They are the experts. They need to be listened to and they know how to fix this, so that’s where I’d start.

INWN: What do you feel makes you the best candidate for this position, or, what qualifies you to be Idaho’s next Lieutenant Governor?
KC: My decades of leadership. So my background is 12 years in the military and I started out enlisted, but I worked in NATO, I worked two years in the Pentagon for Colin Powell, I led as a signal officer platoon leader in an infantry division, and then the last 21 years being in charge of increasingly larger teams and complex, international programs of hundreds of people. I’m the one that my senior executives chose to parachute in when there was a project that was off track or to launch a big program that absolutely had to succeed because I have those leadership qualities. I pull in the experts and the stakeholders and the opposing sides and we come to align on winning goals, and then I lead to mission accomplishment. It’s that leadership. It’s that ability to work up, down, and across to collaborate with anyone – anyone that’s going to get it going further and get it going in the best interests of Idaho.

INWN: Is there anything else you think prospective voters should know about this particular race prior to the election?
KC: Well it is unique in that it will be a woman this year, and so my opponent, also a woman, and it will be the first time that Idaho has elected a woman lieutenant governor, but I would say that the most important thing is that in Idaho no matter what governor you vote for, you can always vote for me for lieutenant governor. I am the one veteran – lieutenant governor candidate or governor candidate. So the governor, of course, is in charge of the Idaho National Guard. We have a very high percentage of veterans in our state. I represent those veterans and our families, and I can help with the Idaho National Guard. Also with my tech sector background, I’m very invested in helping Idaho with the cybersecurity risks that we have in our state. So that is something very unique that I can help with, that I can help protect. The last thing we want to do is have a hacker attack and steal the identities of Idahoans or attacks information, or voter information, or anything like that. We need it protected. That’s my background, and Lieutenant Governor Little started the cybersecurity committee. I’d like to take that and actually expand that and galvanize it.”

This is part of a series of interviews with candidates running for offices impacting north central Idaho and eastern Washington.

Letter to the Editor: Elect Kristin Collum

Here’s why it is important to elect Kristin Collum to be our next lieutenant governor:

Medicaid expansion: The majority of Idahoans favor Medicaid expansion, and so does Kristin. Her opponent? Not so much.

Leadership: While in the Army, Kristin learned leadership skills from Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She then worked as project manager for major tech companies in Idaho. Kristin’s largely volunteer campaign staff is drama-free, thanks to her leadership.

Fiscal responsibility: Kristin doesn’t waste thousands of dollars on private planes like her opponent. Kristin’s campaign respects the grass-roots donors who give so generously to her campaign. You can trust her to spend tax dollars responsibly.

Bipartisanship: Kristin will work across the aisle to accomplish Idaho’s goals. Electing her to lieutenant governor will give Idaho some much-needed balance. Her opponent cultivates support from extremist groups who will further divide us.

Please join me in support of Kristin Collum for Idaho’s lieutenant governor.


A conversation with lieutenant governor candidate Kristin Collum

By Peter Lopez

Kristin Collum was born and raised in Great Falls, Montana and joined the U.S Army after graduating high school. During her time in the U.S. Army, she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in information systems, worked at the Pentagon under General Colin Powell, served as a Signal Officer Platoon Leader in an Infantry Division and after 12 years of military service was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant. Before deciding to run for lieutenant governor, she was a software engineering manager for Xylem. Collum and her husband have four children and live in Boise, Idaho.

Q: So far you have visited 42 out of 44 counties here in Idaho. Why is going to every county important and what have you learned from the people of Idaho in doing this?

Every county is unique. It’s been such a blessing to visit each one and find its uniqueness and find their landmarks that they’re proud of and it’s been just amazing. I love learning and I’ve been kind of geeking out on the adventure of seeing so much of Idaho. Where they have all been unique and have had their differences, they all care about their public lands but each public lands issue is different and shows the character of that county. All of us, no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we all love our children, we love our freedoms, we love the constitution and we want things to get better. I think we’re all suffering and feeling the division in our communities, the last couple of years have been rough as a nation, even as a state, community and even in some families. There is pain there and I feel that pain and I want to just help heal that, I’m an uniter and I want everyone’s voices to be heard. I want to work across all parties.

Q: Both you and the Democratic nominee for governor, as well as your Republican opponent for lieutenant governor, are women. What does that say about progress for women in America and what will you do to further that if you are elected?

It is a very exciting time in history. What inspired me over the last few years, you know I’ve always worked in male-dominated fields, whether it was my 12 years in the military or my years in the tech sector, they were both male-dominated words and I know no different. I’ve always found the way to success was hard work and emphasizing what we have in common, and I have been chosen by my male peers to lead and I bring my experience into this job and it’s no different to what I have done over the past 30 years. I have four daughters and I want them to have equal opportunities, equal pay, equal ability to work in any field that they want and I think in order to make that happen I think women need to be about 50% of every vote, of every decision, especially when they affect us. So that means every level of government, local, state and federal we need to be running for office and we need to be serving. I am very excited that three of the four major party candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are women and I’m very excited that we will have our first woman lieutenant governor and we want to make sure that that first woman lieutenant governor is the one that strongly and proudly represents women and will protect our rights to pay, protection and healthcare benefits and would not support or show admiration for anyone who puts women down or disrespects us.

Q: As the only candidate running for either governor or lieutenant governor that is a veteran, how will you help your fellow veterans here in Idaho if you are elected?

I’d like to take that on as the special project. You know, each lieutenant governor has a few areas that they focus on and actually Brad Little as Lt. Governor has two projects and I think they’re the same for me, veterans and cybersecurity. I’d like to take those areas and expand them and as a veteran, I think I can actually make some goodness happen. Homeless rates are high, we have a lot of veterans coming back with missing limbs, traumatic brain injuries and PTSD, they struggle with a lot of things, but what I’ve found is that there are a lot of programs already established either by the government or volunteer groups and part of the problem is connecting the veterans with the right programs. As well as letting them know that it is okay to ask for help and letting them know that these groups are there and they have brothers and sisters who can understand them. I know what they feel like when they come back and we can reconnect them with their community. l think it’s a public service campaign to connect the problems and to help people identify veterans who are in the problem areas to the resources because there are a lot of us and I would be very vocal about that.

Q: In a largely conservative state as a Democrat, what would you say to voters who see certain nationally covered and polarizing issues, such as abortion rights, marriage equality or gun control laws, as deal breakers but who are maybe concerned about education and healthcare and like your stance on those issues?

I am an experienced and trained leader and have had decades of experiences both in the military and in the business sector. I’ve always been a hard worker; I come with working-class roots and I’m self-made. I come with values of Idahoans and I would say that I’m in the middle and I’m looking at bringing everyone together, unlike my opponent, and no matter where we are on these divisive things, I would say to open your minds on these things that seem black and white. A wise man once told me there is about one percent black, one percent white and the rest is all gray. With these difficult topics like gun control or abortion, I say let’s talk about this and maybe we’ll find we’re not as much at odds as we think. I’m for gun ownership, I come from a family that owns guns, I’m a marksman and I’m quite a good one too. I’m a Democrat and I’m not out to take anyone’s guns away so that division is artificial. On abortion, nobody wants an abortion to happen on any side of the issue, so what are we doing to minimize that from ever happening and how are we being positive? I want the conversations to turn more positive, not about how we’re different but on how we’re alike and I think everyone needs to come from that place and that we can actually build very strong communities.

The thing that helped me as a person the most was when I was 17, joining the military and celebrating my 18th birthday in basic training and then being sent to Germany and thinking about how I’m all alone on Christmas in this foreign country and I spent a couple years there before coming back stateside. I know at BYU-Idaho a lot of students have been through that or will go through that when they go on missions, it’s the same thing. When you serve a mission, it resonates very strongly with me and my military service. You go away and you serve others and not yourself and it’s that service that opens your heart and opens your mind to differences of other people, to understand that not everyone grew up like you did but they’re still loved in the eyes of the Lord. We all need to help each other, we’re not going to get anywhere if we just stay divisive. And that’s the military service in me and that’s the missionary service in a lot of BYU-Idaho students that we want to serve and bring the communities together, we want to improve, we want to help others and do it through positivity and with love and not with hate. We need to unite and we need to move forward and I believe that I bring that. I’m a military veteran, I’m proud to serve our country, I love my constitution, I love our country and our God and I want this world to be better.

Appeared in the online edition of the BYU-Idaho Scroll on October 11, 2018


By JUDD WILSON Staff Writer

COEUR d’ALENE — “People have to know who I am, know my opponent, and consider who is the better qualified person. And that’s all it takes.”

So said Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor Kristin Collum on Wednesday, when asked what it will take for her to pull off an upset Nov. 6.

The tech sector professional and Army veteran said she has the management skills, dedication to all Idahoans, and experience to further economic development in North Idaho.

Letter: If you support Prop 2, vote Collum

Please support Kristin Collum for lieutenant governor this fall. She’s a vet, serving in the highest levels of the armed services as an aide to Colin Powell.

She’s a business leader, a wife and mother, and supports a good education for all our children. She also supports Proposition 2, so that no Idahoans who need to see a doctor are denied care because of their budget. Her opponent was instrumental in convincing the Republican convention to pledge to overturn Proposition 2 even if it is the will of the people of Idaho.

Lt. Governor race sets up historic first for Idaho


Janice McGeachin, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, is an outspoken opponent of Medicaid expansion, and introduced the successful resolution at June’s state Republican Party Convention to oppose it.

“That is one of the clearest differences — she’s opposed to it, I’m for it,” said Kristin Collum, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. “I helped gather the signatures to get it on the ballot.”

Letter: Vote for the vet

Kristin Collum is both delightful and impressive as a candidate for Idaho lieutenant governor.

In this very divisive time in which we live, I have found her to be a thoughtful and passionate yet calmly assertive voice of reason. I have observed her in a variety of settings, where she has demonstrated that she has an excellent grasp of the issues facing Idaho today. She is articulate in sharing her ideas. She responds with specifics to questions. She listens carefully to the suggestions and opinions of others.

Lemhi Democrats host lieutenant gov candidate

Kristin Collum, the Democratic candidate for Idaho lieutenant governor, is scheduled to be in Salmon on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Collum is to be at the Salmon Grange from 9 a.m. to noon where she will talk with people and listen to their concerns and ideas.

The Democrats of Lemhi County said in a news release that Collum is a veteran and a supporter of Proposition 2, which would expand Medicaid coverage. Idaho voters cast ballots on that proposition in the Nov. 6 general election.

Democratic candidate for lt. gov. shares her thoughts on the issues

Mike Price,

IDAHO FALLS — No matter who wins the election in November, Idaho will have its first female Lt. Governor.

Kristin Collum is running on the Democratic ticket while former Idaho State Representative Janice McGeachin is running on the Republican side. invited both candidates to sit down for an on-camera interview. McGeachin has yet to respond to our request but Collum agreed to discuss her viewpoints on important issues, why she’s running and her background.