This should be easy if you watch what they do and not what they say. I have watched Rep. Simpson work his way up the committee structure in Congress to eventually become chair of House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water. The 2020 election flipped the majority in the House, so Simpson became ranking member of this subcommittee. This position is still enormously important to business interests in Idaho. John Wagner, INL laboratory director, recently announced funding for INL is expected to double in the next decade to continue its innovative research in clean energy and cyber security. Simpson played a major role in making this happen, whether he was in the majority or not.
Just look at the new facilities in Idaho Falls. Historically, other Department of Energy national laboratories were better funded than INL because they had much stronger congressional delegations that participated in energy-related committees, accumulated seniority and provided leadership, which led to funding. Loss of Simpson’s seat on House Appropriations would be catastrophic to INL’s mission and high-paying jobs in Idaho.
On the other hand, Smith, Doyle Beck and Idaho Freedom Foundation cronies joined with certain western states to transfer ownership of federal lands to states for development. This is an excellent example of how states become corrupt. If federal lands are transferred to states, they can be sold piecemeal to developers, who just happen to get the prime parcels if they make adequate donations to PACs and legislatures. Never mind legal opinions that this is unconstitutional and in conflict with required provisions territories signed to become states. It took a major protest rally at the Idaho Capitol by hunters, fishermen, boaters, bikers, skiers, climbers and photographers to get the message across — keep federal lands public. By the way, Smith is vice-chair of Freedom Foundation. Later, Simpson voiced support to keep the federal lands and improve them to better meet their original purpose.
Simpson went further and created the Sawtooth National Recreation Area by getting input from all stakeholders with common interests in this beautiful part of Idaho. It now has legal standing that will preserve it for future generations. The next major initiative is in the planning stages. Simpson initiated talks with stakeholders along the Snake River where dams were built for electrical power generation and, unfortunately, pose a threat to Idaho’s indigenous sockeye salmon. Smith’s hysterical campaign ads that removing dams will take water away from farmers and increase their transportation costs to markets is a bald-faced lie. Simpson’s planning process will not go forward without mitigating measures to avoid these problems.
What can Smith contribute? Nothing positive. He owns a law firm specializing in personal injury lawsuits and medical debt collection. While these services are often needed in a community, overstepping the bounds of reasonable ethics is not. Smith’s methods were so egregious that the politically friendly Idaho Legislature passed legislation that created regulations to prevent massive overcharging on legal fees and confiscation of property.
I think the choice is clear.
Find original article at PostRegister.com