Idaho governor says he understands rural Oregonians
Senior Staff Writer
The governor of Idaho told Fox News last week he understands why rural Oregonians would want to join his state.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s comments followed news that voters in Douglas and Josephine counties may see ballot measures this November asking their approval of the idea. Co-Chief Petitioner Valerie Gottschalk told The News-Review earlier this month that the dream is for southwestern and eastern Oregon to separate from the northwestern counties and join Idaho.
If they did, Idaho’s population would increase by 71% and the state would for the first time have a coastline. Proponents of the measure say they want to join Idaho because Oregon’s legislature is too liberal and doesn’t listen to what rural Oregonians want. They believe they’d benefit from lower taxes, fewer business regulations and less gun control.
Little told Fox News he believes Greater Idaho supporters want more freedom.
“It’s their call. I understand what takes place in the Portland area has a big impact on those rural parts of Oregon, and I understand they’re looking at Idaho fondly because of our regulatory atmosphere, our values. That doesn’t surprise me one bit,” he said.
The legislatures of both states and Congress would have to approve before the state’s boundaries could change. The countywide votes wouldn’t really control anything, though they could give supporters a feel for how popular the idea is in rural counties.
If rural counties do divorce Oregon and marry Idaho, there’s one condition the governor made clear in the interview: Idaho plans on keeping its name.