DFO: Do you still think you're a better cowboy than Butch Otter?
Keith Allred (Web site here): I've certainly stayed on my horse more consistently. I actually worked as a real cowboy. In 1981 the cattle market had plummeted, which meant I was the lone hand on my grandpa's 1200-acre, 400-head cattle ranch. We wondered if we were going to lose the ranch. He had to focus on his real estate business. And asked me to run the ranch. That wasn't dressing up and playing cowboy. The family business was on the line.
- DFO: You are an unusual mix of cattle rancher/Mormon/Harvard prof. How do those things help in an election like this?
- Keith Allred: It goes to heart of my approach to governing which is based in the founding father idea that broad and diverse support is the best indicator of wisdom. We live in this highly partisan era where we draw lines and say I'm one thing of the other. That's never what the founders intended. They intended for us to take the best from all sides. That's what I tried to do in my life. I absolutely loved running my grandpa's cattle ranch on my own. I learned so much re: practical problem solving. I loved my experience as professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government. My specialty was conflict resolution.
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- DFO: What is Butch Otter's Achilles heel?
- Keith Allred: It's hard to pick. There's so many of them. He cut education for first time in Idaho history. He has advanced special interests at the cost of every day Idahoans. For example, trying to raise car and pickup fees by more than double while asking heavy trucks to pay only 5 percent more. On Highway 12, he talked only to Imperial Exxon and Port of Lewiston, which had vested interests, and didn't talk to all the folks upstream who will bear most of the burden and see little of the benefits.
- DFO: How can you explain the poll numbers that saw you 32 points down a few months ago and now show you trailing by 11 points (when you're still relatively unknown)
- Keith Allred: Its' clear that the more people get to know me the better they like me and you can't say the same about Butch Otter. We are a little ahead of where we hoped to be at this point. Most people don't tune in until after Labor Day. We expect the pace of our gain to increase through election day.
- DFO: How would you use the Internet differently than the current governor?
- Keith Allred: The internet provides whole new opportunities for the governor and everyday citizens to partner together. For example, by using the Internet, I can work with tens of thousands of Idahoans to identify the tax exemptions that should be closed, so that we can reduce tax rates. It's the only way we can get that done, with everyday citizens involved. The internet makes that possible.
- DFO: Who's the best Republican governor of Idaho in the last 20 years?
- Keith Allred: Phil Batt. He was a practical problem solver. And he had the courage to stand up for what he thought was right even when it wasn't politically convenient.
- DFO: As governor, what role would you take in human rights?
- Keith Allred: I'm certainly a strong supporter of the Human Rights Commission. I would not cut it. A governor needs to be a vocal champion of the American promise that we're all created equal.
- DFO: Why isn't there going to be a debate in North Idaho?
- Keith Allred: Because there hasn't been an invitation. Candidates respond to debate invitations. If the Spokesman-Review wants to host a debate, the Allred campaign will say yes.
- DFO: How are you helped by the increasingly strong re-election showing of Walt Minnick?
- Keith Allred: It helps substantially because people recognize that Idaho Democrats are a different breed of Democrats. Our politics are similar. We're very independently minded. We're both very fiscally conservative. He's got one of the most conservative Democrat voting records in Congress. You can compare Butch Otter and me on fiscal conservatism. As president of the Common Interest, I led the push to expand homeowners exemption that cut property taxes and I led the effort to defeat Butch Otter's gas tax and registration fee hikes during worst economic downturn in our lifetimes.
- Keith Allred will be returning to Coeur d'Alene for a townhall meeting Sept. 16.