In response to Marc Johnson’s April 16 column that calls the movement I lead “clownish”: The greatest political concern of Idahoans is the concern that Idaho will move to the left. Idahoans are right to weigh the pros and cons of adding territory to their state. Citizens For Greater Idaho is a group founded by conservative, rural Oregonians. But we chose a group of counties with Idahoans’ concerns in mind.
The counties we propose to add to Idaho vote exactly the same as Idaho does. In 2020, they voted 63.7 percent for former President Donald Trump, and Idaho voted 63.9 percent for Trump.
Of course, this movement has nothing to do with a particular politician. But presidential elections are the only elections in which people from different states vote on the same person.
This movement is about culture, livelihoods and ways of life more than politics. But the easiest way to measure the similarities between areas is to look at election results.
As a group, the counties we propose to add to Idaho have exactly the same per capita personal income as Idaho, according tothe federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis statistics. Once they are freed of Oregon’s job-killing regulations and taxes, rural industries such astimber, mining, trucking and farming will surge, so that these counties pay more than their share of Idaho’s state taxes.
Idaho could approve and tax projects at the deep-water ocean port of Coos Bay in southern Oregon that were rejected by Portland politicians, such as the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas pipeline. If Idaho approves a project to increase the height of train tunnels into Coos Bay, Coos Bay would become a container port that would reduce the time and expense of shipping for southern Oregon. This would make southern Oregon more prosperous and a bigger contributor to Idaho’s tax revenue.
In fact, this port would help Idaho get products to market because Portland unions have made the port at Portland exasperating to use. No longer would all of Idaho’s ocean shipments pay Oregon taxes to fund Oregon’s budget.
Moving the Oregon-Idaho border is the only way to push Oregon’s drug laws farther from the counties in Idaho where you live. It would change the Boise-Oregon drive time from 51 minutes to more than five hours. Last November, Oregon decided to eliminate any real punishment for possession of small amounts of hard drugs. This brings more addicts to the Idaho border and tempts Idahoans to make a quick drive to get drugs.
Currently, many West Coast conservatives want to move to a West Coast red state, and this trend will accelerate because there is little limiting the leftward direction of California, Washington and Oregon.
If you don’t want overcrowding and traffic in your counties, let Idaho add territory so that these conservatives will have more counties to choose from.
If the border is moved, the people of rural Oregon won’t have to abandon our communities and add to the crowding in your county.
A recent oped pointed out that our movement is a long shot. We admit that. But we’ve listed reasons on the homepage of our website — greateridaho.org — that explain why the Oregon Legislature should want to get rid of these counties.
If Idaho chooses to move the border, Idahoans will have the sense of purpose and the satisfaction of freeing 1.2 million people from immoral blue state law. Oregon’s regulations and taxes make it difficult for rural people to preserve their way of life and their means of making a living, working the land as their forefathers have for five generations.
We want to preserve the American way of life in our communities as a part of Idaho. As your fellow Americans, we pray that you will answer our call for help.
McCarter is president of Citizens for Greater Idaho. He resides in La Pine, Ore.