A few thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...

Idaho Should Reclaim a Native Son. In the U.S. Capitol in Statutory Hall each American state is able to place two statues honoring prominent residents.  Idaho’s two are for former high-profile Idaho U.S. Sen. William E. Borah, and our first governor and early U.S. senator, George L. Shoup. 

Maybe it is time for Idaho to make a change. Utah has decided to remove the statue of Philo T. Farnsworth, one of the key players in the development of television, and substitute suffragist Martha Hughes Cannon.

Utah’s loss of Farnsworth could be Idaho’s gain. He went to high school in Rigby and there outlined in a class what became the modern television camera. He later went to Utah and the East Coast but the origin of his television developments were here in Idaho.

Maybe Idaho should purchase the Utah statue, swap out Shoup and redeploy Farnsworth as a symbol of our state’s embrace of technological advancement.

Eastern Idaho Primary Races. The May primary is around the corner and a bunch of legislative races will be contested on the Republican side.

Some of those interesting races will be in Eastern Idaho.  It looks like newly appointed Sen. Tony Potts (R-Idaho Falls), Sen. Jim Guthrie (R-Inkom), House State Affairs Chair Rep. Tom Loertscher (R-Bone), Rep. Ron Nate and Rep. Karey Hanks (R-St. Anthony) are all facing what could be significant challenges. There are also open contests for those previously held by retiring Sen. Jeff Siddoway (R-Terreton) and Rep. Dell Raybould (R-Rexburg) and the one Rep. Kelly Packer (R-McCammon) is stepping down from to run for Lt. Governor.

Risch on North Korea. A couple of weeks ago Idaho Sen. Jim Risch drew widespread attention for remarks he made in Munich, Germany, that a conflict with North Korea could erupt “of biblical proportions”.  He is a leading Republican voice on U.S. foreign policy given that, if Republicans hold the U.S. Senate after 2018, he is likely to chair the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.

So what does he think about the just-announced meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un?

In an interview with the Altantic in the past week or so Risch expressed cynicism concerning diplomatic efforts: “I subscribe to the president’s theory that talking is good . . . Our history of talking with the North has not been good. …” He pointed out that in, in the past, North Korea had attempted to impose extensive preconditions on talks.

Risch stated that Kim Jong Un faces only one of two paths going forward: “One path will result in the consequence that his regime … stays in power, and he continues as head of that state. The other path ... is going to result in all likelihood in a termination of his regime. It is not the policy of the United States to pursue regime change. We do not want that. But these are his choices, not ours.”

Rush to the Finish Line. One thing I’ve been surprised is how few Idaho candidates have done early advertising this year. At the statewide level only Republican gubernatorial candidates Brad Little and Tommy Ahlquist have done much so far, with Ahlquist deploying by far the biggest barrage.

That is about to change. With roughly 60 days left before the May primary every GOP and Democratic candidate with a primary contest will be striving to attract attention in paid media, spending every dime they can. The strength of the message and the cleverness of the ads will be determinative as to whether voters are persuaded. But, many candidates’ efforts will simply get lost with all of the contrasting messaging. 

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..