BOISE – A building industry group has endorsed U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick in his bid for a second term, saying Idaho’s lone Democrat in Congress has proven himself to be “fair and proactive.”
The Idaho Associated General Contractors, which represents more than 800 companies, has traditionally supported Republicans, including Minnick’s 2008 Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Bill Sali.
In backing Minnick, the group shunned Raul Labrador, the Republican challenger to the 1st Congressional District seat. Labrador, a two-term state lawmaker from Eagle, opposed the governor’s proposal to boost gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to pay for road construction during the 2009 Legislature.
The group cited Labrador’s opposition as a factor not to support him.
“He was very proud of the fact that he helped kill transportation funding in the Idaho Legislature. We think that jeopardizes safety and economic development in the state of Idaho,” said Idaho ACG Executive Director Mark Dunham.
Labrador said he fought the plan because it was the right thing to do for Idaho and in these economic times “we simply cannot afford to pay more taxes for inefficient government programs.”
“The endorsement made by the Associated General Contractors today shows that they are in favor of raising taxes to fund the liberal spending policies of Minnick and his Democrat friends, even in the middle of a recession,” Labrador said.
Minnick, a former wood-products company executive, pledged to do all he could to help rebuild the state’s economy.
He said the endorsement meant a great deal to him personally, given his background in business.