COEUR d’ALENE — Incumbent Rep. Eric Redman is running his first-term record against challenger Alan Lilttlejohn, who wants to shake things up in Boise.
Both Athol residents are running for the Republican nomination for Seat B in the Second Legislative District on May 17. They squared off for a debate during the Reagan Republican luncheon at The Fedora Pub and Grille on Thursday.
Both Republican candidates were cordial during the debate. In their three-minute opening statements, they said they considered each other friends but also outlined completely different reasons for running.
“I don't think the citizens of District 2 have been represented properly,” Littlejohn said opening the debate. “The government is overrunning the citizens with regulations.”
Littlejohn said he would also like to see the way the Legislature appoints its committee leaders changed in the future.
Littlejohn said he moved to Athol 10 years ago from Placer, Calif., where he worked as a firefighter for 29 years. He had about two years of firefighter training in community college, he added.
Redman said he grew up in the Palouse area and joined the U.S. Air Force after after a brief stint at Washington State University. After the Air Force, Redman spent 40 years as a businessman, but he has since sold his insurance agency to his son.
“I never planned to get into politics,” Redman told the audience, adding now that he is in office he would like to be elected to a second term.
Redman said he has been working on four bills during his first term, two of which he thinks he might get through the next Legislature if given the chance.
He said House Bill 568, which he calls his Idaho laws for Idaho Courts bill, got printed and vetted by the House State Affairs Committee, but stalled in the legislative process.
Redman said the bill would ensure no foreign laws would supersede the constitutions of the United States or Idaho in any Idaho court.
“One of those foreign law intrusions is Sharia law,” Redman explained. “This is the national law of Saudi Arabia and 57 other nations.”
He said the United Kingdom has already been “forced to accept” Sharia law.
“In the U.S., as of 2014, I have documented proof of 142 Sharia law court cases in 32 different court jurisdictions, where the court upheld Sharia law in 27 of those cases.”
Redman said if he is elected the first thing he would do is finish that bill.
Littlejohn said the first thing he would do is try to change the way leadership is selected for the legislative committees. Currently he said the leadership selects the chair and vice chair of each committee.
“To me that is not the correct way to do it,” he said, adding every committee he has sat on has selected its own chair and vice chair.
“The other thing I would like to do is raise the bar on school bonds and school levies,” he said.
Right now, Littlejohn said, in order to pass those bonds and levies it only takes 50 percent plus one voter. He would like to see a supermajority requirement to pass those, or a two-thirds majority vote.
Redman said the second thing he would do is revive a bill that addresses marriage to protect Kootenai County Clerk Jim Brannon.
“It would create an affidavit of marriage that is treated like a deed of trust,” he said. “You sign the document and give it to the records clerk and they just record it.”
He said that bill didn’t gain much traction this year because it is an election year.
On healthcare Redman said the Legislature needs to address the Medicaid gap that was created when the state exchange was established, but he does not favor expanding Medicaid. Littlejohn said he would work to repeal a law that passed in the 1950s that prevented medical insurance from other states to be sold in Idaho.
Littlejohn said if medical insurance was allowed to be sold on a truly free market, competition and other free-market forces would drive down the cost of insurance.
Both said they oppose overreach of the federal government, and Littlejohn said he would advocate for a system where Idaho could manage federal lands for the resources.
Redman said “If you don’t oppose federal overreach, you are not a Republican in Idaho.”
One of the final questions the candidates were asked at the forum was who they support for president of the United States.
Littlejohn said he would support whoever the party nominates, adding he doesn’t see a candidate he would vote for in the nomination process. Redman said he is supporting Ted Cruz, but he will support whoever wins the primaries later this summer.