Listen to KID NewsRadio’s interview with Senior Fellow at the Madison Liberty Institute, Ron Nate
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — An outgoing east Idaho lawmaker is the latest recipient of the Outstanding Republican Legislator Award from the Idaho Republican Party.
Ron Nate received the statewide award in a ceremony in early January 2019. Bryan Smith, vice chair of the Idaho Republican Party Awards Committee, told KID NewsRadio it Nate’s commitment to the Republican platform, conservatism and free market principles that qualified him for the award.
“[The recipient] must possess highest ethics and superior character,” Smith said. “Ron’s Ph.d in economics did not hurt either.”
Nate, who also works as an economic professor at Brigham Young University – Idaho, said he is honored to be considered for the award.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by our state Republican Party,” Ron Nate, former legislator and senior fellow at the Madison Liberty Institute, told KID NewsRadio. “I worked hard as a legislator and it’s nice to know that those efforts are recognized and appreciated. So, it’s truly an honor and I’m happy to receive the award.”
As the 2019 Legislative session begins with several freshman lawmakers, Nate said the culture shock for a citizen legislator can be a little daunting.
“We have a citizen legislature in Idaho and so, you know, it’s typically not housed with professional politicians,” Nate said. “So, you come there as a citizen and all of a sudden you’re in the capitol and lobbyists have now become your best friend, leadership and the establishment wants to take you under their wing and everybody wants your attention and really, ultimately it comes down to your vote.”
Keeping above the political game, Nate said, takes work and a commitment to the principles voters want in a legislator. Most of all, he added, lawmakers need to remember they’re no different than their constituents.
“It is easy to get caught up in all the pomp and circumstance, and think that you’re more than you are,” Nate said. “Basically, what you are as a person representing about 45,000 citizens, and if you keep your focus on that and keep to your principles, then you’ll do fine.”
Idaho isn’t just seeing new faces in the legislature. Governor Brad Little addressed Idahoans in his first State of the State address on Monday, January 7. While many on both sides of the aisle applauded Little’s commitment to rolling back regulations and doubling down on Idaho education, Nate said the governor’s remarks continued to echo a big governor approach to politics.
“The governor spent about 30 minutes laying out his agenda and referring to his budget items,” Nate said. “He offered a few glimmers of conservative hope, but mostly it was, it was a lot of big government, expanding government, types of proposals. He wants to expand government, spend more money in health care and corrections and education and land management and a variety of other areas.”
Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the governor’s remarks, Nate said, was what Governor Little didn’t say.
“[There] was virtually no mention of some of the issues that are very important Idahoans,” Nate said. “Family values, religious liberty, our social values, and there was no mention of that. No mention of protecting life and our personal liberties and protecting idahoans from the onslaught of a far-left, anti-religious agenda.”
Heading into the legislative session, Nate said the Madison Liberty Institute plans to keep a close eye on the proposed bills and signed laws, in addition to acting as an advocate for the principles not mentioned in the opening events of the 2019 lawmaking session.
“Holding legislators accountable and just letting the people know what kind of votes are being cast on their behalf,” Nate said. “Being ready to champion bills that do support a liberty agenda and come out strongly opposed to those that are an attack on our liberty or an attack on families or faith.”