I came away from that meeting convinced more than ever that Russ Fulcher is truly the man of our time for Idaho.
I believe his remarks were powerful enough then that they should be shared today on behalf of his candidacy for the U.S. Congress, so I’ve decided to share them with our readers now.
Russ Fulcher Mini Bio – A fourth-generation Idahoan, Russ Fulcher was born in Boise, Idaho and grew up on a dairy farm in Meridian, Idaho. He received an MBA from Boise State and completed a course on electronic engineering through Micron Technology. He enjoys saying that for 24 years of his adult life he was blessed to bounce around the planet mostly with Micron Technologies. He had an opportunity to do business in 60 different countries, 36 of which were on-site and in all 50 different states. He also served ten years as an Idaho State Senator as well as serving as Senate Majority Caucus Leader. He and his wife, Kara Fulcher, together have three children and live in Meridian where he sells commercial real estate. It is obvious that he has gained valuable life skills both personally and in business.
In Russ Fulcher’s opening his remarks he stated that in 1912 the US Congress structured the first income tax and it took effect the following year, 1913. It had a graduated rate of from 1 to 7% to help pay for a massive national budget which was $11.7 billion. That was the total budget 105 years ago nationwide and if we fast-forward to 2017, the graduating tax rate is now 17 to 47%.
He reported, “We do not have the advantage on that tax front that we used to have. We have a number of things that allowed us to continue in prosperity, but we do not have the advantage that we once did.
“Our national budget today is $3.65 trillion with a T. And I don’t need to remind you our national debt is $20 trillion.
“Why has it gotten so big? Folks I would argue with you the reason that it’s gotten so big is because over time and that last 105 years the government programs had gradually taken a lot of the roles of the family. Government doesn’t implement things so well, it costs a tremendous amount of money and it makes us less competitive around the world.”
He said that we are living in what he believes is the most interesting time in the history of this planet and we are seeing changes that other people have never seen before. He pointed out that in 2016 the United States of America came into an entirely new era and the state of Idaho is about to come into an entirely new area as well. He asked, “The question is what is that going to look like.”
“I for one was not a Donald Trump champion on the front end. Full disclosure, I was a Ted Cruz delegate. But when it came down to those final two there is no question where I was going. I’m glad he won.
“But I want him and I want his administration to focus on things that are truly federal in nature in their scope and their responsibility. I want him and his staff to focus on national defense, on immigration, on international trade policies, the federal debt, on Syria and that little nut job over in North Korea that’s got a nuclear weapon at his heels. Those are things the President truly needs to focus on. They are massive issues, for I do not want him to focus his time and his energy on Benewah County or the state of Idaho or any place within our state.
“If you really understand what’s happening in Boise, the state of Idaho truly functions as a subsidiary of the federal government to a large extent because more than 1/3 of our state budget is subsidized through the federal government. And remember, they’re $20 trillion in debt.”
IDAHO’S DEPENDENCY ON THE FED’S MUST END
Fulcher wanted to make sure everyone understands if they’ve ever wondered how some of these policies came into play where laws got passed in the Idaho legislature that’s not in conjunction with Idaho values or the constituency of the state, if it’s healthcare, education or whatever. He said very possibly, the reason they got passed was there was a federal demand that said ‘If you don’t pass this legislation you will not get your grant, you will not get your subsidy.’ “Plain and simple,” he said. “We’re dependent on the federal government.”
He emphasized, that meanwhile our outdoorsman, our sportsmen, our Ag folks, our farmers, ranchers and our loggers have to ask permission to touch some two-thirds of the resource base within this state. He stated that as a result of that a percentage of jobs within the state, Ag. base, resource base jobs, are falling as a percentage of our economy. “We may have a lot of jobs here. I just saw a report that we have a 4.8% unemployment, which is very misleading. Because you can go get a job at a Starbucks but you can’t feed a family off that,” he pointed out.
He went on to say, “As of 2016, 22% of our neighbors are on some sort of state government assistance. That tells more of the real story. And it’s just not right.
“But I believe that with this President and with this Congress we have a unique opportunity to kind of right size that balance of control. I can tell you that there is a significant change in the tenor of politics in the state of Idaho over the last year and it’s because Donald Trump got elected President.
“In 2014, I was runner up for the governor of Idaho. At that time Barack Obama was President and to a lot of people it appeared that the state was the last line of defense to being completely socialized, there was a tremendous amount of urgency. So when Donald Trump got elected President a lot of people went ‘Whew, now I can relax.’
NOW IS THE TIME OF A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY
“I’m telling you now is the time to hit the gas. Now’s the time to put the pressure on because we have a unique opportunity, I think, to right-size a little bit of that balance between the state and the fed. We have hopefully some listening ears in the House, the Senate and the White House.”
He said there are things within the state that can help us do that and he wasn’t going to jump too deep into it, but we have got the potential of a whole new economic leg to add to that resource pool in the state of Idaho, and it’s called energy. He reported that if we were not aware of it, 86% of the electricity that’s powering the room this meeting was in and the rest of the dwellings and businesses in the rest of the state is imported from outside the state of Idaho. He said we have the resources to change that and become an energy exporter. That is one of those things that puts us in a position to dramatically shift that dependency away from Washington DC to be more independent within the state of Idaho.
“Remember the most you and I pay in taxes goes towards education and healthcare and both are very ripe for improvement. Those are all things that we can control here within the state. Yes we are subject to certain things we can’t control that come from Washington DC. There’s also a lot of things right here in the state. It will take planning, it will take aggressive leadership and a lot of work, but we can do it.
“Within our education system, our schools, we simply empower our parents, our teachers and our local school board, instead of relying on some state or federal mandate and shift that whole thing through choice and empowerment locally. The same with our healthcare system, by enabling free market systems and alternatives within our state. Those are things we can do without the federal government that will dramatically change our healthcare system.
“Most importantly, I’ll close with this, by simply following the guidelines set forth for us by our founders, which is really the root of why we are here this evening and to honor the spirit of ’76.
“Back to basics, the guidelines set by our founders, which is constitutional, biblically-based, servant leadership principles that establishes our family and our families as the temple of governance in the state. Tremendous amount of detail and policy, but when it comes right down to it, it is simplified by going back to basics. We have the ability to do that in the state.”
He then repeated what Benewah County Republican Liberty Caucus chairman Hari Heath said earlier that evening, “It is a startlingly small number of people who are going to put elected officials in place. Folks I can’t do it. But we can!”