Janice McGeachin served for 10 years as a state representative from 2002 to 2012. McGeachin earned her BSBA in finance and accounting from the University of Arizona and has owned and run several successful small businesses in Idaho. McGeachin and her husband have two children and live in Idaho Falls. Below is a summary of the interview.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for lieutenant governor?
I would say that my combined experience in both government and business is unparalleled. I’ve had 10 years of legislative experience. I have a proven track record voting on a lot of different issues, whether it’s tax policy, healthcare or Medicaid. For 10 years I helped manage the Medicaid budget for our state, and I recognize how important the program is, and it should be protected for a community that needs the resources the most. It is designed for those who are most needy in our community. The experience I’ve had doing that, helping to navigate the state through the 2008 recession, was a very difficult time for all of us, and helping to navigate our state through that was a valuable experience. I have a voting record, the voters at home know where I stand on any given issue. I think that is a lot to bring to the table. That, combined with my 30 plus years of experience in business and knowing how to create new jobs and keep businesses growing and thriving. Those are two things, two qualifications that I bring to the seat. I am excited to continue my service to the state in the capacity of lieutenant governor.
Q: Propositions 1 and 2 are on the ballot this election. What is your stance on them and why?
I’ll talk about Proposition 2 first because my knowledge is strongest in that area. I am opposed to Proposition 2. What it is, is an expansion of Obamacare and Medicaid, and I’m opposed to that because Obamacare has done nothing but increase the cost of health care. We were promised if we would just read the bill and pass it we would be able to keep our doctor and our health insurance costs would go down. That hasn’t been the case. We’ve had triple-digit increases in the costs where families now are paying around $23,000 a year for health care costs, and it’s not even the best health care that they’re receiving. We should be outraged about that, that we could be buying a brand new car every year in our family budget, but this is where we’re at in our country. Health care costs are now 18 percent of our gross domestic product. So I’m opposed to the initiative on the ballot for that reason; it’s an expansion of Obamacare. Secondly, I’m concerned with it because the initiative itself does not come with a funding mechanism as some of the other states have offered up to the voters. I’m concerned about that because even today, the growth in the Medicaid program is growing much faster than the money the taxpayers’ dollars are contributing to our education budget. So it’s really a matter of priority as a state. If we’re not willing to come up with a way to pay for the program, what are we as voters willing to reduce in funding in order to pay for this expansion. So I would just ask the voters to consider that part of the initiative. My effort, if I have the honor to become Idaho’s next lieutenant governor, will be to focus on policies that will work to reduce the cost curb of the growth in the health care that we’ve all seen. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the income scale, I’m gonna work on policies that will reduce the costs for all of us. For those who are the most needy in our community that need help, the state of Idaho needs to be able to prioritize our spending in those categories and be able to make the determination of how to best serve those people. With this Obamacare expansion, we don’t have that, we just have to do that the federal government way and not what works best for Idaho.
Q: This election is unique for Idaho, as three of the four major party candidates for either governor or lieutenant governor are women. What does this say about progress for women in America, and what will you do as lieutenant governor to further that progress?
I think it is great. And it is a testimony to women all across the state, all across our country that we believe in ourselves. As women we wear many different hats. I’m a wife, I’ve been married for 31 years, I’m a mother of two adult children, both of them are in Idaho Falls helping us run our company. I’m a best friend, I’m a daughter, a community activist, I’m a successful small business owner and I’ve served the public. Like so many women who do the same, we wear a lot of different hats, we know that if we believe in ourselves and if we apply ourselves and work hard and commit to building relationships with other people that we will be successful no matter what we choose to do.
Q: Many BYU-Idaho students are from a different state and are left to decide whether to vote absentee from their home state or to register here in Idaho. What would you say to encourage them to register here in Idaho?
I would just ask and strongly plea to consider voting here in Idaho this year because Idaho is one states that many people think is conservative enough, that it is not a concern, but we are at a crossroads here in Idaho. There are others that are running for positions across the state that don’t share these same values that we hold dear to us here in Idaho. We believe that we have faith in ourselves as an individual and we want government off our backs. We don’t want more rules and regulations and there are those that are running for positions that don’t share that, they want more government, they want more control over our lives. I would just ask that you go down to your county office today and register to vote Republican. It’s really important that we don’t sit this one out.
Q: Across the nation, politics seems to be getting uglier. If elected, what would you do to reassure those who may be discouraged with the current state of polarized politics and to show that there is integrity and class in public office?
The way that I best know how to do that is to lead by example. We can disagree with each other on policy, and I can attack a policy, but I do not attack the individual. I think that’s what we need to get back to, is to have civil discourse in our country. One of the things that I loved about serving in the legislature for 10 years is that on the floor of the House and even sitting on the committee, we dealt with a lot of really tough issues. When we were going through the holdbacks after the recession, I was tasked, as chair of the health committee, to find $20 million in savings in our Medicaid budget, and it was tough, it was really tough. But the way that we did it was I worked with members of House leadership, Senate leadership, the governor’s office, the agency, the advocates, even members of the minority party. I asked people to come together and try to work this thing out so that the outcome — as best as possible — will be the best for the people of Idaho so we can do across-the-board cuts rather than eliminating single programs, and that is how we do it. I had 500 people that came out and testified on those public hearings, and it was tough and there were people that came before the committee and were angry and they were emotional, but we were able to conduct ourselves, through courtesy and respect, from both sides, from the members of the public coming to testify and from members of my committee. Through respect and dignity toward each other we worked our way through that and the debate that we would have on the floor over very contentious issues, we were very strict about following rules of decorum. You could say what you want and argue against a policy, a position, but there is absolutely no toleration for disrespect or questioning the motive of the individual. That’s what I loved about serving is learning that process and that is how I conducted myself when I served, it is how I ran my campaign so far for lieutenant governor. It was a contentious primary, but I kept a positive message, so I want to bring civility back to our discourse in our state. We may not be able to control what happens in the rest of the country, but we are going to have our own courteous and respectful discourse here in Idaho.