This story was originally published by High Country News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
On December 2, 2017, onstage in a cavernous auditorium at Boise State University, two of the three Republican hopefuls for Idaho governor, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and businessman Tommy Ahlquist, discussed their views on public lands in front of a crowd of hunters and anglers. The forum, sponsored by the Idaho Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, and 16 other sportsmen’s groups, was a pivotal one in a state where public lands are a defining issue. The third candidate was conspicuously absent: Representative Raúl Labrador, whose voting record in the House already proved him a staunch public-lands critic.
In a political climate marked by public-land threats, Labrador’s absence spoke volumes, and he lost the primary to Little by five points. “In not coming to a sportsmen’s forum, you allow everyone to fill in the blanks,” said Michael Gibson, Idaho field coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Governor-Elect Little was willing to come in front of hunters and anglers and say he supports public lands.” In a state where only 12 percent of voters ar... Read more