Running for office is not for wimps

by State Rep. Randy Armstrong

(R – District 28)

I was recently elected to be one of the two state representatives from District 28 (which is most of Bannock and all of Power County). The process started on February 29, the first official day to file.

I filed that first day, hoping that the mere mention of my name as a candidate would strike fear in the hearts of anyone having the notion to run against me. Four other Republicans filed and one Democrat, the highest number of any district in the state. So much for my fearsome reputation.

I had a dream that I would run unopposed and simply be handed the office outright. Clearly that didn’t happen and in hindsight it was the best outcome that could have occurred. It forced me to go out and visit so very many of the amazing men and women of our district, who I hadn’t previously met.

I won’t say much about the election and its torturous process right now except, running for office is not for wimps; and, the other five individuals running, from both parties, are such good souls. This district would have been very well served by any one of them.

Everyone keeps talking about the great watershed moment for America: Tuesday, Nov. 8, and when they do, I am almost certain they are talking about me. My apologies to Clinton and Trump, but I was so anxious about District 28 that I almost forgot that they were also running.

Since the election, my life has become a whirlwind of activities. I was immediately invited to what is called the Northern Idaho Tour. It is to remind legislators that northern Idaho is still part of the state and that good things are happening up there. They were right. We toured campuses, factories and casinos. They carefully explained their concerns and proudly displayed their activities. It’s a beautiful place and as I fondly remember their pine covered, rolling hills, while I look out my back window at the snow covered sage brush, I do wonder for just a moment if my great-grandfather might have possibly misread his GPS and mistakenly ended up in Bannock County rather than the lush Boundary County.

At the multitude of meetings that I’ve attended since gaining office, I have learned more eclectic tidbits of information than I ever expected to know. I’ve learned the average fish consumption for an Idahoan is 22 grams per day, the equivalent of one can of tuna fish per week. But tuna fish doesn’t count, because it wasn’t caught in Idaho. I tried to think of the last “Idaho caught” fish I had consumed and it’s been a really long time. If that’s the average, there must be a lot of folks somewhere consuming massive amounts to make up for my paltry plunge. I’ve learned about the maximum level of phosphorous that I can discharge from my sewer pond (fortunately I don’t have one). We’ve talked about the “aquifer recharge” concern; a situation I thought you only spoke of quietly with your urologist, but no, we have even seen the photos.

This week was the initial training session for freshmen legislators, and it was an experience of mind-numbing complexity. I’ve been assured that it will become clearer very quickly. If you’ve never visited the state capital building you need to put that on your list. It is your building, and it is open 365 days a year and you are welcome to freely visit virtually every part of the place. When you see its majesty, it is stunning to consider that it was built 104 years ago.

The first morning I walked up the stairs I was so filled with anxiety that it was all I could do to keep the butterflies flying in formation. The next day, with a calmer demeanor, the enormity of what I was to be a part of filled my eyes with tears and I couldn’t speak. It is such a solemn and dignified place. The 50,000 citizens of District 28 were proudly given a seat in that auspicious rotunda, and I unwaveringly pledge that for as long as I sit in your chair, representing you, that I will uphold the dignity, desires and direction that you want for the future of your precious children.

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