North Idaho Rep. Eric Redman, R-Athol, has announced that he won’t seek re-election after his current term ends next year.
“I’m going to term-limit myself,” said Redman, who’s in his second two-year term. “I would be 73 in my third term, and I just feel that’s plenty old. … And I do believe in the citizen legislature-type program.”
Plus, Redman said, “It’s a lot of work.”
He noted that he retired several years back, when he sold his insurance agency to his two kids, and said serving in the Idaho House has proved to be far more work year-round than he anticipated putting in during his retirement.
“I really work hard at it,” he said, “and do what I feel is the best work in my conscience, based on owning businesses for 47 years and socially because I’m a born-again Christian. I’m going to continue to work hard through this next session in 2018.”
An ardent Christian conservative, Redman said, “I still have some bills I’m working on that I’m going to work hard to try and get passed and signed by the governor, along with paying attention to what comes to my committees.”
Top on that list, he said, is his “no foreign laws come over our state and U.S. constitutions” measure, which seeks to ban Shariah law or other foreign laws from being recognized in Idaho courts. Redman has introduced the proposal repeatedly, but it hasn’t advanced. At a 2016 committee hearing, it drew heavy flak from Idaho parents of children adopted from overseas, who said it would threaten the process by which such adoptions win legal approval. This year, the bill was introduced, but didn’t get a hearing.
Redman also plans to continue to push for a convention of states to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget. “I don’t see our federal government, particular politicians, ever trying to reduce the debt,” he said. “That affects your children as well as my grandchildren.”
Redman’s faith has helped form his strong views on social issues, including fervent opposition to abortion. But it’s also made him concerned about the needs of Idaho’s “gap population,” those who make too little to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the state insurance exchange, but aren’t covered by the state’s limited Medicaid program. He hasn’t favored expanding Medicaid, but wants Idaho to design an Idaho solution to help that group.
“The reason I got in there was because I didn’t think the federal government should impose health care on the states and the citizens of the states,” he said. In the insurance industry, he said, “I’d spent 25 years in health care funding. … Idaho, I thought, had some pretty good programs.”
Redman faced a challenge from the right in the 2016 GOP primary election, when challenger Alan Littlejohn, a California transplant who’s a tax-cutting, government-shrinking, anti-regulation, anti-vaccination conservative, charged that Redman wasn’t conservative enough.
Redman, who like Littlejohn home-schooled his kids, said, “I’m not for real, real far-right type actions.”
The affable Redman has lived in Kootenai County for more than 45 years, and serves on the boards of two Christian organizations, Reach America and Highway Evangelism.
The legislative district he represents, Idaho’s District 2, is among the most conservative in the state; it’s the seat formerly held by tax-protesting state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol.