Heart of a small state

by State Rep. Randy Armstrong

(R – District 28)

I love living in a small town.

For the very same reasons I love living in a small state (population-wise Idaho is a very small state).

We have a mentally-challenged man in our town. In a larger place he would probably be considered a nuisance. But we have watched him grow up; we know his sweet mother and father. On sunny, summer days we see him with his fishing pole heading for the river, he works at the grocery store on Tuesday morning when the freight arrives, and he’s worn the same vampire costume on Halloween for the last 35 years. In our town he is beloved. We know his heart. And our tiny community embraces his idiosyncrasies and respects his exuberance. Small towns just understand and assist in living.

About a year after I moved here I was having car trouble. I took the beast to our local repair shop; to a group of men who are fortunately in the center of everything that happens. They are the emergency room for anything mechanically amiss. I so admire their unrelenting conscientiousness and their exotic vocabularies. After a few days I called: “we’re waiting for parts.” The next morning as I was driving my old pickup into town I saw a car coming towards me that was eerily familiar, it was filled with children going to school. “Whoa, that’s my car!” Right then I got a huge smile on my face, “Oh my…, I’ve arrived, I’m an official citizen.” If they feel comfortable enough to use my car to take their kids to school, I’m on their team. I’ve known their hearts; they finally know mine.

I’ve been meeting with all of the state departments the last few weeks: Department of Environmental Quality, Fish and Game, Transportation, State Taxes, Judiciary, Education, to name a few. It is so refreshing to meet these diligent folks, to take their measure, and to gauge their hearts. We live in a small enough state to meet them all and I can warmly report that these are very good people. They are anxious to do an exemplary job, they are responsible and approachable. Even the tax guys are nice. They are all fellow Idahoans. They, just like us, love the state, and want it running efficiently and prudently.

We had a luncheon with 15 of the judges from the Sixth Judicial District. These are serious men. Never once during the entire lunch did I need to stifle an urge to break out a toga or lampshade. These are some somber and sober characters. If you are planning on a raucous party anytime during the holidays, you will probably not want any of them on your invitee list. But if you are looking for someone to give a steely-eyed, objective assessment to an unfathomable enigma; these are your men. They are citizens with stout hearts and sound minds, people living in our neighborhoods who we can watch and admire. As I was listening to all of these good people speak, from virtually every state agency, I thought of my small berg and could imagine all of us living side by side (maybe even driving each other’s cars). They are people you would like.

This level of intimacy and caring only comes from living together in a small place.

But these administrations can get confusing. I’m offering my service, as your legislator, to get you to the right person. The exact person to answer your earnest questions. Call me, text me, email me. But I’m not alone; every legislator wants to help, that’s why we went through the unsavory task of getting elected. We care.

In our modest neighborhoods we get to examine character on an intimate level, learn to care for each other, and build an abundance of affection.

That’s why we all love living in our small towns.

And dearly love our small state.


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