Yesterday, upon the invitation of Jeff Thompson, I attended the luncheon and Governor’s Office debate between C.L.”Butch” Otter and AJ Balukoff. Sponsored by The City Club of Idaho Falls, we met in the spacious Bennion Student Union Multipurpose Room of ISU located not too far from east bank of the Snake River running through the city. Perfect spot. Beautiful fall day in Idaho.
When I parked, I walked with Karole Honas of Local News 8 into the banquet room. She is bright and cheery. I think we were both eager to hear some of the opinions of the incumbent and challenger on the current issues of the day. Before lunch, I ended up shaking hands with our U.S. Representative Mike Simpson and Frank Vandersloot. Mike is an affable character, as I watched him holler for his wife halfway across the room to come grab some of the grub. Lunch is on!
David Adler took the podium to act as moderator. In listening to the debate, Otter and Balukoff chimed in on the issues related to education from pre-kindergarten preparation all the way to secondary education. Who can ignore how big this issue has become for Idahoans? Just google “statistics on Idaho education” and these sites pop on to your screen: (1) Know the Stats / Go on Idaho and (2) Don’t Fail Idaho. Statistical reports through the Idaho State Board of Education are available. Otter emphasized the benefits of technology. Balukoff wanted to zero in on how to attract good quality teachers.
The two men also interacted on small and big businesses, food banks, welfare, health exchange, Medicaid, the INL, nuclear waste, the legality of homosexual marriages, and the Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC) and Correctional Corporations of America (CCA) debacle. The homosexual marriage topic had been a central theme on the front page of the Post Register this week. Balukoff defended full rights for gays. Otter pointed to the state constitution’s definition of marriage and talked about his own oath before God to uphold the constitution. This all brings to memory the civil disobedience of the Add the 4 Words campaign in our state’s capitol.
The debate ended. The men shook hands. Joked and smiled. I thought it was a civil dialogue.
Before exiting the building, I saw Todd Kunz and introduced myself. I thanked him for the brief coverage on the recent prayer vigils for Idahoan, Saeed Abedini. He told me that he will be doing an interview with Naghmeh Abedini in November.
Moving to my vehicle in the back parking lot, I saw Corey Taule walking toward his car. He had yellow legal pad in hand. I could only imagine what he would be writing in the newspaper. But I see that Bryan Clark covered it today.
So here are some thoughts. And I simply share quotes from Jesus in the Bible who died on the cross for both Republicans and Democrats.
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).
“And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?” (Matt. 5:47).
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them” (Matt. 6:1).
“You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24).
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” (Matt. 7:18)
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matt. 7:13).
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24).
“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20).
“But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matt. 9:12-13).
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32).
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).
“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul” (Matt. 16:26).
“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4).
“Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” (Matt. 19:4-5).
“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40).
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:35).