On The Issues

Conservative Values

Scott is conservative up and down the line; his life and initiative into public service are both deeply rooted in American and Christian values. Like so many, he came to Idaho because of its limited government and respect for individual liberty.

Since moving to Idaho in 2004, Scott Herndon has served his community for five years as a volunteer Bonner County jail chaplain and is now the chairman of the Bonner County Republican Party. He has raised his family here and is a local, small business owner.

Under Biden, a woke Congress, and woker bureaucratic agencies are trying to stop Idaho from being Idaho. The government in Boise has not been strong enough in response. It needs a voice that will turn back the tide.

Scott Herndon is that voice.

Want to learn more? Click on any issue below to get details about Scott’s position on these important issues. 

Economy and Reopening Idaho

Unconstitutional lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic cost hardworking North Idahoans their livelihoods, and it is time to continue to rebuild. There is also a need to put in place protections for you, your family and your businesses against the ability of government to overreach and shut you down.

Scott will work to ensure that North Idaho’s economy is never at the mercy of the government and politicians.  All Idahoans will have the liberty to pursue their dreams and provide for their families.

Taxes

Idaho is growing. On an average day 180 people move into the state while 137 move out. The demographics are changing, and the economy is booming. Unemployment is low.

As a result, Idaho’s personal and corporate income taxes and sales tax collections have boomed. As of August 2022, Idaho is projecting a $2 billlion budget surplus at the end of the current fiscal year. The state had had budget surpluses in the hundreds of millions for several years. That means Idaho is collecting far more in taxes than it plans to spend.

Idaho’s savings account, or the “rainy day” fund, is ready for downturns and is stocked with hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funded “savings”.

This means Idaho is well positioned to cut taxes and relieve an excess burden of taxes on Idahoans. Income taxes were cut slightly in the 2022 legislative session and will be considered again for very slight cuts in September 2022. But here is what is possible now for Idaho:

1 – Property Taxes. Idaho’s local taxing districts like cities, counties, schools districts and library districts collect $2.1 billion from taxpayers every year. With Idaho’s $2 billion surplus, it is actually feasible to consider eliminating property taxes altogether and funding local taxing districts with the current rates of sales taxes and income taxes.

Short of that, the property tax circuit breaker needs a repair. It is designed to allow people on fixed incomes and at lower income levels to stay in their homes if property taxes become unaffordable. The legislature made adjustments to the circuit breaker in 2021 and 2022, but with massive home price inflation in both years, the circuit breaker backfired. Instead of more people qualifying after the “fixes”, fewer people now qualify for the circuit breaker and are at risk of losing their homes to unaffordable property taxes. Scott Herndon will introduce a bill in 2023 to repair the way the circuit breaker is calculated and to accommodate the massive rise in real estate prices that broke the circuit breaker formula.

Also, the homeowner’s exemption is a fixed dollar amount and is meant to benefit primary homeowner’s by reducing their assessed values significantly. Unfortunately, the exemption was set as a fixed dollar amount and not indexed to inflation nor to a massive rise in the market value of homes. Scott Herndon will introduce a bill that makes the homeowner’s exemption responsive to real estate values and reduces the burden of property taxes on Idahoans who live in the their home as their primary residence.

2. – Sales Tax on Groceries. Only 13 states charge sales taxes on food, and Idaho is one of them, charging 6% on all Idahoans. That means for every $100 you buy in groceries, you pay an additional $6 in state sales tax. When you file your income tax return, you get most of that back as a tax credit, but in the meantime you were money out-of-pocket for months. In a time of high food inflation, every dollar counts, and Idaho should eliminate the sales tax on food.

With a $2 billion budget surplus, Idaho can afford to give-up the $221 million in revenue it borrows from Idahoans in the form of grocery sales tax (it borrows the money in the sense that it gives you back your sales tax on food when you file your annual income tax return long after you gave up the sales tax when you purchased your food throughout the year). The grocery sales tax is unnecessarily harmful to Idahoans in a time of massive food price inflation.

3. – Gas Taxes. Idaho’s gas tax is higher than the tax in 28 other states. At a time of historically high gas prices, you are also paying at the pump 32 cents per gallon in gas tax to the state of Idaho. The Federal government also taxes gas at the pump at 18.4 cents per gallon. Every year, Idaho collects about $360 million in gas taxes.

But, with the current and projected $2 billion budget surpluses, Idaho is overtaxing its residents. Cutting the gas tax would have an immediate effect on the pocketbooks of Idahoans everyday, providing tax relief and reducing the overtaxation of Idaho citizens.

2nd Amendment

Scott is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

When North Idahoans were subject to a gun ban at The Festival at Sandpoint, held in a public park, Scott personally led efforts to fight for their right to carry.  A former varsity rifle team member and expert at competitive shooting in military school, Scott is a proud member of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and a lifetime member of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Scott will work to restore in Idaho the original intent of the 2nd amendment. Your lawful right to possess and carry firearms is not just about your right to hunt or practice shooting sports. The right to keep and bear arms must be vigorously defended against those who would take away this right.

ABOLISH ABORTION

Scott is a strong advocate for the sanctity of human life and opposes all abortion in the state of Idaho. Quite simply, the intentional killing of living, preborn children should be stopped, and there should be equal protection of all human life from womb to tomb.

Scott championed an official change to the Idaho state Republican Party Platform supporting the Idaho Constitution’s Right to Life. The Republican Party embraced this change overwhelmingly.

There were over 1,500 abortions in Idaho every year. With the reversal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in the June 2022 Dobb’s decision, it is likely the abortion fight will continue in the state courts and in the State Legislature. It is important that we have legislators like Scott Herndon who can articulate the inestimable and precious value of all human life. There is a constitutional right to life for all human beings in the 14th amendment, and the anti-homicide laws of the state of Idaho should not be denied to any disfavored minority, including preborn children.

Covid-19 State of Emergency

In March, 2020 Idaho Governor Brad Little declared a state of emergency related to Covid. Late in 2021 the declared state of emergency was still in effect. The Idaho legislature passed two bills in early 2021 that would rightfully have ended the state of emergency, but after the governor vetoed those bills, 5 Republican senators joined 7 Democrats in the senate to sustain the governor’s veto. As a true conservative, Scott Herndon would have voted to end the Covid state of emergency.

The long-running state of emergency was used to funnel billions of dollars in federal debt to Idaho to enrich certain large corporations and government, and this debt will burden future generations of Americans, including our children and grandchildren. We are already paying the price in the form of massive inflation.

Scott Herndon is also a strong supporter of the Idaho Constitutional Amendment on your November 8, 2022 general election ballots. SJR102 will restore a balance of power between the Idaho legislature and the governor.

Covid-19 and Religion

On March 25, 2020 Idaho Governor Brad Little issued a Covid-19 proclamation that made it a crime to go to church or to meet with your pastor for communion. It was a crime to even gather for prayer and a bible study. Under the governor’s proclamation, all religious expression was completely banned. Being a clear violation of the 1st amendment, the Idaho constitution and state statutes, Scott Herndon was the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed in April 2020 against the Idaho governor (Herndon v. Little).

Within weeks of the suit (May 2020), the governor relented and lifted the ban on religion, and months later a federal judge issued a clear warning in the case to the governor not to ban the exercise of clearly enumerated constitutional rights like religious expression. The freedom of religious exercise is fundamental to the American way of life, even in pandemics.

Health Freedom and Informed Consent

Taking any medical product is your personal decision alone. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 “vaccine” has been weaponized to create division and mistrust among neighbors. Specifically, those who are opposed to the vaccine are being ostracized by vaccine adherents. Even Idaho governor Little has attempted to browbeat Idaho citizens by claiming their only way to properly “love their neighbor” is to get the jab.

In agreement with the Idaho Republican Party, Scott Herndon is opposed to any mandate by government to get the jab. Scott is also opposed to private businesses mandating the jab of customers in order for customers to be able to conduct business. Further, Scott is opposed to employer mandates and coercion of employees to get the jab as a condition of employment.

Where there is risk, which there is with these medical drugs, there must be personal choice. Some Idaho Republicans have suggested that “conservative” government has no business interfering in the business relationship between employers and their employees. But, consider the Declaration of Independence, which states in part that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The government’s job is to secure individual liberty and to guarantee equality. In a world where many employers instituting jab mandates are goliaths in their industry, the relationship between the employer and the employee is not equal – the employer has vast power above the individual employee. Idaho’s duty is to guarantee that the individual liberty of the employee in the area of medical freedom is not trounced by the coercive force brought to bear by the significantly more powerful employer.

Finally, consider that it would not be new for Idaho to intervene in the affairs of private business. Idaho has long done that by instituting all sorts of mandates on employers that include permits, board registrations, insurance requirements and a plethora of requirements of employers in relation to their employees, particularly in the areas of discrimination in employment, ADA workplace access, workers compensation insurance, and employee safety and fair labor laws.

Scott Herndon will always champion true Health Freedom and truly informed consent.

State Sovereignty and Balance of Power

Benjamin Franklin said America is a “republic if you can keep it”. But, what kind of republic is America? Even North Korea is called the Democratic REPUBLIC of North Korea. Clearly, in order to keep America, we must know what is the design that we are to keep.

America is the first ever in history seven boundary republic.

The first boundary is between state and federal power. The federal government has limited, expressed and enumerated powers that are specifically listed in the US constitution. Federal power is greatest when America is in a time of war with foreign nations. By contrast, the states possess all of the rest of the powers, and it must be kept in mind that the states created the federal government, not the other way around. This balance between federal versus state power is called dual federalism.

Then, six additional boundaries of the American Republic are the divisions of power between the courts, the executive branches and the legislatures at both the federal level and the state level. 3 branches at 2 levels of government = 6 boundaries.

Too often in recent decades, Idaho has ceded authority to the federal government that the federal government does not possess by law. Worse, Idaho has ceded authority to the un-elected judges of the federal government, particularly the United States Supreme Court. We see many cases where that court’s opinion is clearly unconstitutional and has harmed Idaho’s authority and sovereignty. Examples include the acceptance by Idaho that abortion is a “constitutional right” according to the Supreme Court, and that homosexuals may be legally married even though the Idaho Constitution states the opposite.

Most recently, Idaho’s Fairness in Womens’ Sports Act, a law passed by Idaho that prevents biological males from competing in girls’ sports, has been “blocked” by a federal appeals court.

The way forward on some of these critical topics is that where the federal courts are constitutionally wrong on matters of life, death, liberty and morality, Idaho should should vigorously pursue a remedy in the courts while also exercising its constitutional authority under the 9th and 10th amendments to implement proper, constitutional laws.

Tackling Growth in North Idaho

According to the census, Bonner and Boundary County added 7,317 people between 2010 and April 2020. But, because of a Covid exodus from other states, growth has accelerated in the last year. Prices of real estate are at all-time highs and are unaffordable for many. Infrastructure like roads, bridges and water tables are also impacted by growth.

The supply of land in Bonner and Boundary Counties is particularly limited because a significant portion of our land area is owned by the state, the federal government and private timber companies. The land supply in the face of rising demand will definitely mean continuing high prices for land.

We as a community are going to have to find solutions to the high prices for land and housing if we want to have our children and grandchildren be able to live here.

Businesses in North Idaho have faced increasing demand for their services, and the labor market is particularly difficult the last two years. Scott Herndon will look for opportunities at the state level to improve the labor market for small businesses. Scott will also work to ensure budgets are asequate to maintain and improve state maintained highways and infrastructure in Boundary and Bonner counties.

Public Land in Idaho

Idaho’s Republican Party platform states “We believe Idaho should manage and administer all state and federal lands.”

The top-down federal control of federal public lands in Idaho has not generally worked well for healthy forest, wildlife, watershed management and recreational access. The federal government owns 32.6 million of Idaho’s 52.9 million acres. East of the Mississippi, the federal government owns less than 5% of the land of the states, but in Idaho it is 62%.

Part of the problem for federal land managers is that many of their intended management actions get tied up in extensive litigation by national and international environmental groups, paralyzing management of federal land.

For every $1 the federal government invests in public land, they lose at least 22 cents. For every $1 Idaho invests in public land, they gain $2.80. Idaho land management accrues to the benefit of Idahoans for public education, wildlife habitat, economic diversity, recreation and wildfire mitigation.

Idaho already successfully manages much state owned public land among several state agencies that include the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG). The Idaho Department of Lands is one example of an efficient agency for public land management. IDL currently manages 2.5 million acres of endowment land, which produces revenue that benefits public schools and public universities. These lands are also accessible for recreational use by Idahoans, and responsible and active forest management results in a healthier forest.

The federal Congress of the United States has generally opposed the transfer of ownership of public lands to the states since 1976. But, the federal government has been willing to consent to state management of certain aspects of federal public land. For example, IDL is assisting in the successful timber sale administration and providing valuable forest management expertise for timber sales on federal land in Boundary County.

Timber sales on lands IDFG has managed have helped to support the costs of wildlife habitat management throughout the state.

One of the great benefits of state management of public lands, whether for conservation, wildlife, wildfire control or timber harvesting, is control closer to home from a relatively small, responsive state government that is subject to the voters rather than management by a huge federal bureaucracy 3,000 miles away in Washington, D.C., to which Idahoans have no effective redress.

An excellent resource for Western public lands issues is the American Lands Council.

There are only Two Genders

Male and female.

In 2020, Idaho was the first state to pass the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” which simply bans biological males from participating in girls’ sports. This is thoroughly common sense and is a question of fairness, because biological males have documented physical strengths over biological females, and thus it is impossible for them to compete against girls on a level playing field. Nationally, the Republican Party overwhelmingly supports banning biological males from girls’ sports.

The fairness bill, H500, passed the Idaho House with 96% of the Republicans voting for it. In the senate, 86% of the Republicans voted for the bill. In both the House and Senate, 100% of the Democrats voted against this common-sense legislation. Republicans stand against the confusion of gender dysphoria that is being pushed on our innocent children by various interests.

The state of Idaho should protect inncocent minors from the agenda of gender confusion being pushed on them in public institutions. We should certainly protect children from permanent surgical alteration of their bodies in response to their confusion about their biological sex.

Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an ideology that suggests America is inherently racist, and those particularly who are white and male need to check their “privilege”. Whereas Marxism promoted class division between capitalists and workers, CRT is a leftist replacement of Marxism that promotes class division based on race.

Sometimes operating under the guise of “equity” and “social justice”, critical race theory is an academic subject that is now deeply rooted in many American public institutions. In public education, critical race theorists would separate all students into the oppressors and the oppressed.

Last year the Idaho legislature considered a $6 million grant that would have paired the Idaho State Board of Education with a private organization that promotes a book called White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Dyson to parents. The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, which would have received the funding from the grant, promotes “Anti-Bias” teacher training, which focuses on making white children aware of their supposedly inherent bias against black students.

The grant was designed to teach the agenda of the leftist private organization to children aged birth to five years old. The Idaho House killed the bill, but the Idaho senate passed a replacement bill, SB 1193, that narrowly passed the Senate by one vote and was never taken up in the House. CRT indoctrination is being attempted in Idaho, and the legislature will need to continue its vigilance to prevent it.

Parental Rights

In 2021, 100% of the Republicans in the Idaho House passed House Bill 249. The bill was the third attempt to strengthen parental rights over the sexual topics taught to their children in public schools. It would have strengthened parental authority of children by adding opt-in language for discussions on “the topics of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, eroticism, sexual pleasure, or sexual intimacy.” The bill gained 100% of the Republican votes to pass the House and was opposed by 100% of the minority Democrats.

Unfortunately, the bill was killed in the Senate education committee.

Scott Herndon would have supported House Bill 249 (the third year such a bill was brought to the Senate education committee) since the authority is given to the legislature in the Idaho Constitution to prescribe curriculum for all Idaho schools, and primary authority over children is given to parents in both the Idaho constitution and in Idaho statutes.

Scott Herndon has already been a champion for parental rights in overly zealous and unwarranted CPS investigations. The state should stand strong for the role of parents in raising their own children.

Public Education and Education Freedom

Scott Herndon supports the Idaho Constitution. On the subject of public education, the Idaho legislature is responsible for maintaining “a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools”. Our Idaho constitution states the purpose of these schools is that “the stability of a republican form of government {depends} mainly upon the intelligence of the people”.

The Idaho Republican Party recently passed a resolution and platform changes at their 2022 convention calling for more competition in public education funding. Basically, some money follows the student, not the institution. Idaho’s mix of public schools, public charter schools, private schools and homeschooling provides the competition that produces a better public educational system and offers opportunities that match the diversity of personalities of Idaho’s students. Scott is in favor of making Idaho public education as excellent as it can be so that Idaho students are among the best in the country, and Scott is a big supporter of education freedom.

On specific public education bills recently considered by the Idaho legislature, here are Scott’s positions:

During Covid, not all public schools offered in-person schooling even 4 days a week. In response to the lack of in-person instruction by local public schools, House bill 293 was passed by 99% of the House Republicans in 2021 and would have allowed parents to take their public education dollars and apply them elsewhere if their local schools did not offer in-person instruction.

Unfortunately, the bill was killed in the Senate education committee. Scott Herndon would have voted in favor of school choice and HB 293.

In 2021, Senate bill 1052 would have allowed advanced, public schooled K-6 students to apply for flexible schedules, allowing students to have partial or full-day absences for the purpose of family activities, enrichment opportunities or home-based educational activities.”  Scott Herndon would have voted in favor of this bill.

2021’s Senate bill 1046 provided for groups of students in public schools to form “innovation classrooms” where teachers can personalize curriculum and teaching methods to students’ individual needs. Parents of students at public schools would be able to enroll their children in these innovation classrooms and have more autonomy over what their children learn. Scott Herndon would have favored some version of SB 1046.