It’s no secret that Idaho’s economy has consistently outpaced the rest of the nation. Boasting less than a 3% unemployment rate, robust economic growth — even amid the pandemic — Idaho’s success is a direct result of pro-business and limited government leadership.
As the president of the College Republicans at Boise State, I applaud Gov. Brad Little, Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Congressmen Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson for their steadfast conservative leadership.
When it comes to energy and climate issues, Idaho’s Republicans have a proven track record in conservation, environmental stewardship and leadership in the public and private sectors. We share their overarching skepticism of an unproven regulatory approach that would ultimately harm Idahoans and fail to deliver genuine environmental protection.
In the private sector, Idahoans are already making strides to address the risks of climate instability. In a historic move, Idaho Power committed to 100% clean energy power by 2045. This is one of the first announcements of its kind from a publicly traded power company — one that supplies power for more than a half-million customers in Idaho and eastern Oregon.
The result of this market-based approach has been an accelerated transition to clean energy sources. In 2019, 79% of Idaho’s electricity production came from renewable energy, the third highest percentage of any U.S. state, and — notably — the highest for any Republican-led state in the nation.
A brand of conservative leadership that focuses on using market forces to drive innovation is a surefire way for Republicans to deliver real results, and win the support of the rising generation of voters. More than half of young Republicans wish to see policymakers doing more to advance climate and clean energy solutions. Moreover, with the blessing of a state rich in natural resources, Idahoans know the importance of preserving our environment and protecting it for future generations. This is clearly a winning issue in the Gem State.
A limited government, free-market approach, as opposed to more regulations, will reward Idaho and U.S. manufacturers, as well as small businesses for the strides they are already making in reducing emissions. For instance, a recent analysis found that the U.S. economy is more than three times more carbon efficient than China’s, reinforcing America’s role as a leader in clean manufacturing.
Republicans in Congress are already exploring ways to capitalize on this competitive advantage, with a policy such as a border carbon adjustment, that would strengthen U.S. manufacturing and create jobs for Americans. All the better, this would also hold polluting bad actors like Russia accountable, as Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, recently explained, and boost the production of cleaner, American energy.
We encourage our elected officials and party leadership to continue their responsible energy and environmental leadership, and further the cause by adopting free market solutions that put Idaho, and America, first.
John Koenig is president of College Republicans at Boise State University. Any elected official mentioned in this article is referenced only in their official capacity. College Republicans at Boise State University does not endorse any candidates during a primary election.