Text of 2012 Re-Election Campaign Kick-off Speech

Posted on Feb 27, 2012

Thank you, Superintendent Luna and Governor Otter for that warm introduction and for joining me. Thank you also to Treasurer Crane and Speaker Denney for standing by me from the beginning. Your friendship means more than you know.  
 
I also want to thank all of my friends from the legislature that are here today.  One of the greatest honors of my life was to serve with all of you in the Idaho Legislature.
 
I would like to recognize my campaign team and the many volunteers, both old and new, without whom today would not be possible. 
 
Please say hi to my beautiful wife of 20 years, Becca, as well as four of our 5 children: Katerina, Josh, Rafael and Diego. My oldest son Michael could not be with us, but he remains in our thoughts and prayers as he serves a mission for our church in Uruguay. 
 
As always, the absence of my mother is deeply felt.  I would not be at this point in my life had I not been blessed to be raised by her. 
 
Friends, I was honored to earn your trust in 2010, and I’ve worked every day since then to maintain it.  I have made some tough decisions, but I hope you agree I’ve made the right ones. 
 
I told you that if you sent me to Washington, putting the people of Idaho back to work would be my number one priority. In my first year, our primary focus has been jobs. Since arriving in DC, Republicans in the House have passed nearly 30 bipartisan bills that would get businesses hiring again.  Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats have failed to act on them. 
 
I also told you I would be a voice for fiscal responsibility.  I voted to reduce spending–not just by a little, but by a lot–back to 2008 levels.  I voted for Paul Ryan's budget and also for a more aggressive plan that would have balanced the budget in ten years.
 
I was one of the most vocal supporters in Congress of adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. I believe that the best way to fix the taxing, spending and borrowing mess in DC is to balance our budget every year just like these legislators have to do every single year here in Idaho. Because of my efforts, the house actually voted on a balanced budget amendment this year for the first time since 1995.
 
During my campaign, I promised to vote to repeal Obamacare. That’s why the first bill I cosponsored in Congress was to get rid of this job-killing law.  And I will continue to fight to leave healthcare decisions in the hands of the citizens of Idaho and not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. 

I also said that I would defend the Constitution at all costs.  I did so, following the example of Governor Otter, by voting against reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which erodes our Constitutional liberties.  I also voted against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) because it failed to clearly protect U.S. citizens from indefinite detention. 

I said that I would fight the excessive red tape government imposes on all of us. I voted to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases because such an action would wreak havoc on our economy.  I also co-sponsored regulation that would place a moratorium on all new job-killing regulations on American small businesses.   
 
I said I would protect the lives of the unborn.  I voted to make the "Hyde Amendment" the law of the land, prohibiting taxpayer-funded abortions and I stood firmly against giving Planned Parenthood your hard-earned money.  In light of this administration’s most recent assault on religion, I have co-sponsored legislation providing conscience protections to faith based organizations. 

I promised you I would stand up for American energy independence and security. That’s why I voted to restart the energy industry in this country by allowing oil drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and construction of the Keystone pipeline. 
 
I told you I would stand up to corruption in Washington, D.C. As the first member of Congress to formally call on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign, I have fought tirelessly to get to the bottom of “Fast and Furious” and finally bring about justice for the death of Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.
 
You might have seen my exchange with Mr. Holder earlier this month. I know he was a little bit confused during our exchange about which state I was from, but I doubt that he will ever forget that I am from Idaho.  And, yes, Mr. Holder, to answer your question – that is how we do things in Idaho.  We ask direct questions, and expect direct answers.
 
Finally, I promised you that I would not allow Washington to change me.  And Washington has not changed me.  I have kept my promises.  
 
My friends, things are improving in America and in Idaho, but I realize there is still much more to be done.  Without much help from the Democrats in Congress or the White House, we have been able to restrain spending, alleviate the regulatory burden facing America’s small businesses and steer this economy back on track.   As Americans, when we face adversity, we always persevere.
 
This is the attitude I took with me to Washington.  I believe that Americans, without government interference, are the driving force in this country.   The government just simply needs to get out of the way.
 
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that I have chosen to seek another term as the Congressman for Idaho’s First Congressional District!  I share your values and vision for America, and I would be honored to continue to serve the great state of Idaho in Congress.
 
Thanks for being here today.  I want to thank again my family, friends and colleagues who stood by me since the very beginning.  Many of you spent countless hours helping me win in 2010.  Now, I will be counting on all of you to help me win in November.
 
May God bless you, may God bless America, and, together, let’s continue to fight to keep Idaho strong!