IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho GOP gubernatorial candidate, Tommy Ahlquist, stopped by East Idaho this week as part of his campaign tour.
Yesterday he was at the AG expo in Pocatello, and he spoke at the Bonneville County Republican Women's weekly lunch.
Today, Ahlquist stopped by our studio and visited with reporter, Tristan Lewis, to talk a little more about his campaign.
Tommy Ahlquist has been quite busy for the past couple of months- 14 to be exact. He has been all over Idaho, talking to people to see what issues they might be facing and share his ideas to "help build an even better Idaho."
As a previous ER doctor, we discussed his views on what should be done with current governor Butch Otter's new health care plan. He thinks that as a state, we should push back on some of the Obamacare mandates and get more flexibility back in the insurance industry.
"I've been preaching this for a year. I don't like the way he did it all. I think it was a stunt. I think having a new duel signed order and now going around the state, the way they are doing it. I don't think they worked with insurance companies the way they should have, they drug the insurance companies into the exchange and without even working with them they had this new order go out. I wouldn't have done the way they did it but I think it's part of the solution. The other thing this is not the only solution for health care. This is part of a bigger plan," said Ahlquist.
He has other ideas, like reforming Medicaid. He also thinks the medical system needs more transparency when it comes to cost and quality- which he hopes to change. Another part of his campaign is something he believes is a crisis, and that is getting more doctors in rural areas of Idaho.
"In rural Idaho, you have a critical shortage already in many areas and you have an aging population that is only going to make that worse. We need all hands on deck. There's a new medical school opening up in the treasure valley, 150 students a year. That'll be fantastic. We need more residency programs, we need a more robust pa- nurse practitioner program and we need telemedicine. We need all of that, to prepare for what's to come in 8 -10 years- where there is more of those aging baby boomers that are going to require and consume a lot of care in rural Idaho," said Ahlquist.
Ahlquist said what he has been about from the beginning is just bringing a real dose of real world experience into state government. He believes Idaho will need a governor who understands business, health care, and the real world. He says with new ideas, and fresh eyes - he hopes to build an even better Idaho.
The Republican Primary Election is May 15th. The General Election will be held November 6th.