Pocatello – A.J. Balukoff kicked off his statewide tour in Pocatello, officially launching his bid to be the next governor of Idaho. 

Speaking to supporters outside Alameda Middle School, Balukoff called for meaningful investments in Idaho’s schools and students, expanding Medicaid to cover Idaho’s “gap” population, and protecting access to Idaho’s public lands from private special interests.

“When I ran four years ago, Idaho was at the bottom of the barrel in education investments, education results, and household income, while being a national leader in minimum wage jobs.  Here we are four years later and nothing has changed.  A generation of Idaho children are coming of age without the skills they need to succeed.  If elected, I will work every day to make sure the next generation doesn’t suffer the same fate.” Balukoff said. 

“If we are going to provide opportunity for Idaho’s children, families, and communities, we must get serious about investing in their future - that means providing a quality education and access to healthcare.”

Balukoff is calling for expanding Medicaid in Idaho – something lawmakers have steadfastly refused to do even though close to three dozen states have opted into the program.

“There are close to eighty-thousand Idahoans – our trusted friends and neighbors – who wake up every day not knowing what they’re going to do if they get sick or injured.  That includes nearly four-thousand Idaho veterans who fought for our freedom but can’t see a doctor.  We simply must expand Medicaid in Idaho instead of using our tax dollars to fund it everywhere else.”

Balukoff, who has been outspoken about the need to preserve access to Idaho’s public lands, pledged to do whatever it took as Governor to protect Idaho’s lakes, rivers and forests from outside special interests.

“I will take the fight to politicians who pursue policies that will lead to our public lands being sold off to rich, out-of-state billionaires who will lock us out from hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.  The love of the outdoors is a big part of what makes all of us Idahoans.  I intend to protect that to my last breath.”