Here’s another detailed account of the first debate between Gov. Butch Otter and challenger Keith Allred on Thursday in Idaho Falls, this one from Times-News reporter Ben Botkin. Here’s an excerpt:
“Allred took Otter to task for not giving voters an answer as to what changes are needed to pay for the state’s roads needs, criticizing his 2009 efforts to raise fees for cars at a higher rate than for heavy trucks in an economic downturn. “Governor Otter, that’s just wrong and you should come clean on this,” he said. Otter said he’s waiting for his task force on transportation to finish its report, which isn’t due until December. “Why would I create a task force and get out in front of it?” Otter responded, adding that heavy infrastructure is crucial for Idaho exports. Allred said the December deadline of the report was purposely put in place, and that a study the task force received shows heavy truck drivers underpaying their share of road maintenance by the millions. “If you’re serious about it, get your friends in the trucking industry to pay their fair share,” Allred said.
Otter took aim at Allred’s description of The Common Interest’s role, saying that citizens already give input to legislators without the organization. When Allred said The Common Interest’s approach is “different from the six or seven lobbyists who show up at the tax committee,” Otter gave a quick retort: “Being a lobbyist, you probably understand that better than anybody else.” Allred fired back, alleging Otter awarded a $60 million contract for a statewide broadband system to Qwest Communications because of donations the company gave his campaign. Otter said Syringa Networks, which disputes the state’s award, has also contributed to past campaigns.”
And, with a hat tip to reporter Aaron Kunz of KPVI-TV, here’s a link to audio of nearly the full debate; all that’s missing is most of the two candidates’ five-minute opening remarks, in which Otter opened with, “Hello Idaho Falls - it’s great to be here,” and closed with, “Leave Idaho alone - let us be the architects of our own destiny.”