There must be more to politics--particularly in these important times--than blind partisanship. Our country faces too many challenges here at home and around the world for us not to put the very best people in high public office.
I am a Republican and proud to be one. But I also pride myself on being a clear-eyed pragmatist who knows that from time to time my party won't put forward the very best candidate. Most of the time I'm more than comfortable with the Republican candidate, but that is not the case in one important race this year.
So, I'm doing something that is rare for me. I'm supporting a Democrat--former Micron general counsel Larry Grant--because he is, plain and simple, the best candidate for Idaho.
My decision to make a rare journey outside my party, and I submit most of us should apply the same test in granting our support, is based on the fact that Larry Grant will bring to the Congress the kind of fresh, business-oriented, Idaho-centered attitude that he has brought to his successful business life. He has proven time and again that he can work with all kinds of people. He's tough, but fair. He will be his own man in Congress, but he will find ways to work with folks of all political persuasions to make progress on the issues that are important to all of us.
At a time when the nation faces serious and very difficult problems--genuine concerns about the long-term strength of the economy, worries about national security and whether our educational system is keeping us competitive--we simply must send to Congress people who can help solve problems for Idaho. I'm convinced Larry Grant is such a person.
Larry is not a politician. He has spent his life in business. He played a pivotal role in the early days of Micron. He understands trade issues. He is an expert in Idaho's growing high-tech sector. By the positions he has taken, he has proven that he can work effectively with the other members of the Idaho delegation.
Unfortunately, Larry's opponent, State Representative Bill Sali, doesn't have such a record. In fact the contrast in approach, temperament and experience between Larry and his opponent is truly dramatic. Mr. Sali has proven time and again that he is not a person who works well with others, even fellow Republicans. He has his own, personal agenda, which often has little to do with providing real leadership on issues that matter to Idaho.
You likely will hear a lot in the next few weeks about the importance of this race in Idaho. Don't buy the line that control of the House of Representatives can--or will--turn on the outcome in the First District. The truth is this: If control of the House comes down to one seat in Idaho, you can bet that the margin will be so close that moderate leadership in both parties will come to the fore.
As I said, I'm a Republican, but having partisan leanings shouldn't ever mean that one sacrifices principles about who and what is best for our state. This is such a case and principle really does mean more than partisan labels. Put me down as a Republican for Grant.
Don Nelson is a business owner in Boise.