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Commentaries and editorials

Attorney Joins Race
for House District 24 B

by Lorien Nettleton
Twin Times-News, February 24, 2022

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
-- Mark Twain

Map showing location of 4 lower Snake River dams and reservoirs being considered for removal TWIN FALLS -- Attorney Brian Tanner has announced his campaign for the Idaho House of Representatives in District 24B, which includes rural Twin Falls, Gooding and Camas counties.

He is seeking his first elected office, and will contest the Republican primary against candidates Steve Miller and Chreighton Knight. The primary election will be held on May 17.

Since Rep. Clark Kauffman announced his retirement and the redrawn legislative districts were upheld by the Supreme Court, both seats of District 24 are in play. Tanner said his interest in legislation that helps average Idahoans led him to seek election.

"This is in my wheelhouse," Tanner said, " I've been interested in law and policy for 20 years."

Tanner was raised in Boise, and obtained bachelor's degrees in economics and Spanish and a graduate degree in public policy at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Tanner began practicing law after obtaining a juris doctorate from the University of Idaho. He has practiced law in Twin Falls for 16 years, and owned his own law practice for 12 years, where he uses his bilingual fluency to handle a high volume of Spanish-speaking clients.

"I've been representing clients for 16 years and fighting to make life a little bit better for them and I think I can do the same (for District 24)," Tanner said. "I like to fight for the little guy, it's what I've been doing for a long time. I am concerned about people who are just having a hard time getting by."

As a kid he traveled the state with his dad who was a bankruptcy attorney, visiting farmers who were feeling the effects of the interest rate hike of the 1980s.

"A lot of farmers were having a hard time servicing their debt, and were about to lose their farms and their lands," Tanner said. "We helped them, so I'm sensitive to that."

Facing increasing inflation today, Tanner said his background in economics and policy will drive him toward a data-driven evidence-based approach to crafting legislation that can limit some of the damage of inflation.

Eliminating the grocery tax is one step Tanner said could help Idahoans struggling under the weight of inflation. Citing a recent survey that said most Americans have a thousand dollars or less saved in their accounts, Tanner said the daily costs of living are putting a strain on ordinary people.

"And that's becoming more difficult because of rising rent," Tanner said. "So if there are insecurities like food insecurity, and that's an additional concern because of inflation, I think not having a grocery tax would be something we can do to help out."

Education policy is an area he feels he can contribute, and he has been looking into charter schools for decades. When he was a graduate student in Utah he designed a study to compare standardized performance between charter schools and public schools.

"When I was doing this 20 years ago, the idea was that schools should operate like businesses, it's a competition. And I'm not completely sold on that," Tanner said. "I don't know if students should be a product. I think every student is different."

Tanner is in favor of giving parents options for how their children are educated, and said that a voucher system for education funding would help parents do what's best for their child, while providing some healthy competition for schools.

Three of Tanner's four kids are in public schools (the youngest is still in preschool). He said he is very appreciative of teachers, and they deserve compensation in line with the demands being placed on them.

"I'm very very appreciative of our teachers, I think they're doing a good job, and I don't think they are recognized enough," Tanner said. "I think we need to pay them a living wage, and I don't think we're doing that."

Other issues at the top of his priorities include water issues and aquifer recharge, something he said requires a lot of foresight and planning.

"The Magic Valley would not be magic without water," Tanner said. "The legislature is important because the water coming from the Snake and coming from eastern Idaho is not something we control with the counties." Tanner is in favor of funding cloud-seeding programs to increase snowpack, and is against Rep. Mike Simpson's plan to remove the Snake River dams.

Lorien Nettleton
Attorney Joins Race for House District 24 B
Twin Times-News, February 24, 2022

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