POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Correction:
State Representative Paulette Jordan, 37, of Plummer announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Governor in December. Jordan is a former member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Council.
AJ Balukoff has officially announced his campaign for Idaho governor. This isn't the first time he has run for this office. He ran in 2014, but was defeated. He says he's running this time because he hasn't seen a lot getting done in our state government.
"My campaign is first and foremost about education, making sure it's accessible and high quality education so that kid's are prepared for college, career and whatever they want to do after high school," Balukoff said.
If elected, another one of his priorities will be expanding Medicaid. He also talked about getting equal pay for women. Protecting Idaho's public lands is another key focus.
"And it worries me that some of our politicians would like to put in motions some things that would ultimately lead to selling off a lot of our public lands," Balukoff said. "And I'm totally opposed to that."
Balukoff is the first democrat to officially announce he is running for governor so far. Running as a democrat can be difficult in Idaho, but he says he's up to the challenge.
"I feel great responsibility to represent the party well and to run this campaign to the best of my ability," he said. "And give us a real chance to bring a new vision to the state on what we can become."
Several people stepped out this morning to show their support for Balukoff. They say they are ready for change and believe he's the man to bring it.
"The message that's being sent it is that we can do better in Idaho," Mike McLamore, a Balukoff supporter, said. "We can do better for our schools. We can do better for our healthcare. For how we conduct and oversee our lands here in the state. And so I just think it's a refreshing voice in a new direction that will bring Idaho into competition with our contiguous states."
Balukoff says he wants to visit communities around the state and hear about their priorities and concerns.
"That's gonna be the heart of the campaign is one-on-one and small group talking face-to-face with people and letting them get to know who I am and not be intimidated by party labels," he said.
Balukoff is traveling around the state now that he's announced his campaign. He was in Idaho Falls this afternoon before going to Twin Falls, then off to Ketchum and will make his way up toward Couer d'Alene. He will also be talking to "Reclaim Idaho" about Medicaid expansion.
The primary election will be held May 15th.