Huckleberries: What is the main difference between you and your opponent?
Pete Riggs: The main difference is our professional backgrounds. He's spent almost his entire career working for the government in one form or another, whether it's the police department in LA or homeland security. And I've spent my professional career as a businessman, helping build small businesses and helping others build small businesses.
Huckleberries: Do you have issues with any votes made by your opponent in the last 2 years?
Pete Riggs: Yes, specifically in the 2015 session, he voted consistently against education. I think education and economic development are intrinsically tied. We have to have the well educated kids in this state to be economic viable and self-sufficient in the future.
Huckleberries: You describe yourself as a "conservative Republican," but not one who engages in "obstructionist behavior." What do you mean by that?
Pete Riggs: It's entirely possible to be a true conservative while still promoting growth and positive change. Conservative doesn't mean that you have to say no to everything. It's easier to do nothing than to the right thing well.
Huckleberries: You tout the fact that you're a North Idaho native. What advantage does that give you in this race?
Pete Riggs: I'm a product of the Idaho school system from kindergarten to my MBA at the University of Idaho. I've built businesses here and I've been part of the transition that we've undergone over the last several decades from being a timber and mining community to more of a tourism and business based community. The specific frame of reference that has given me makes me better suited to make the right choices for this area.
Huckleberries: How do you gain traction with voters in House District 3 who may lean toward the Tea Party faction of the local party?
Pete Riggs: I want them to take a chance and listen to what I have to say. I will not shy away from lively debate. I would gladly talk to any of my potential constituents about any issue that is important to them. I want to show them where I stand on the issues in a face-to-face conversation before they jump to conclusions and make a premature decision.
Huckleberries: I notice that your opponent didn't respond to the Coeur d'Alene Press questionnaire for that newspaper's recent Voters Guide. What do you think of that?
Pete Riggs: When you choose to be a representative of the people, i believe you have an obligation to speak to the people, even in difficult forums. In this campaign, Rep. Cheatham has had a habit of not getting back to various organizations, be it the Press or the Reagan Republicans, that are interested in helping the public learn where we stand on the issues and the differences between us, so they can make an informed decision on election day.