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The live blog session with U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco is over, and it's all recorded for posterity in the Comment section after this post.

Online With Larry LaRocco

The live blog session with U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco is over, and it’s all recorded for posterity in the Comment section after this post.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

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  1. Greetings. This is Larry here. I’m looking forward to participating with you in this live blog over the next hour.

    I was able to reach out in this way earlier this week on IdaBlue, and I really enjoyed the exchange with many people interested in public policy and the future of our state and country.

    Let me just throw out the idea that my public service has been guided by the premise: Do right, risk consequences.

    I am running for the US Senate because I believe we need to chart a new direction in Washington, DC in many, many areas. I look forward to answering your questions and having a dialogue with you that starts today and extends until November 2008.

  2. Julie in Boise

    Larry, with all the really tough issues facing our nation right now, why would anyone want to go to the US Senate? Why do you?

  3. Public service has always been a major part of my life starting with my military service during the Vietnam War. As a US Army military intelligence officer I learned the true meaning of public service.

    I worked for 6 years for a great mentor, Senator Frank Church. Those 6 years were spent in Idaho and I worked on constituent relations and problem solving.

    I truly believe that politics is a noble calling. Yes, there are tough problems. As a super power and interntional leader we are continually faced with tough issues at home and abroad. It just means that we need to send people with strong and varied backgrounds to the Congress who truly believe in our system of checks and balances.

    I love working with people and interacting with them where they work, play and live. It’s our Idaho and national tradition and I want to serve all the people of Idaho. We should remember that public service is about the people that are served not about those who are serving.

  4. Irwin Horowitz


    First let me say thanks for responding to my question on the earlier blog concerning what the current admin would consider a “win” in Iraq under the present circumstances.

    Another issue that has gotten “hot” lately is global climate change. Have you put together a basic energy policy and if so, can you give us the highlights?

  5. Senate 2008 Guru

    Congressman LaRocco, thanks again for taking the time to field our questions.

    Galvanized in part by former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, global climate change and other environmental issues have garnered significant attention in recent months.

    I was particularly impressed with how Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, in his 2004 gubernatorial bid, approached environmental issues and framed them in a way to appeal to usually right-of-center voters like hunters and ranchers.

    What role will environmental issues play in your Senate campaign and how would you characterize your approach to these issues?

    Senate 2008 Guru

  6. Mr. LaRacco,

    What is your plan for the Alternative Minimum Tax? I am particulary worried about this tax and feel it has out lived its purpose and will impose an unfair burden on middle America.

    Thanks for your time.

  7. Yes, I have and I am going to post it on my website,, in the very near future. It is based on alternative sources of energy for our country and Idaho. I have put together a plan that makes sense environmentally and economically for Idaho. It is based on wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear power. I truly believe the INL will play a major role in solving our nation’s energy problems in the very near future.

    The proposals we read about in the paper today by Bush are mere photo opps to change the subject. He needs to back up this rhetoric about a conference with true substance. After all we are in the 7th year of this administration and we are still facing the same questions about energy independence and climate change. And, thank you for your work on this subject.

    I just noted that Senate2008Guru has asked a question. Schweitzer has done a very good job of addressing energy issues and placing them in an environmental and economic devleopment context. We must realize that many corporations now realize that “green” translates to the bottom line.

    Also, he touched on issues of access to our public lands and ranchers and hunters have felt they have been swept aside by a huge rush to open up lands for drilling by this administration. He has been coal oriented. I have done some work in the past on coal gasification as one way to use coal in a cleaner way. I do think we are going to see a whole new generation of nuclear plants coming on line. Again, our facility in Idaho Falls will play a key role in security and environmental issues on this topic. Waste disposal is one area that I will weigh in on very forcefully. We can’t ignore that China is moving forward with a massive commitment to nuclear. We can stand aside and simply observe or we can insert ourselves in this issue by promoting the safest and most environmental sound technologies.

  8. The AMT must be addressed. And it must be addressed soon. It has caught too many middle income in its net. We must recognize that the segments of income that constitute “middle income” are now higher for American families and adjustments need to be made. If there is any area in tax policy that must be fixed first – the AMT is where to start.

  9. Larry, right now Idaho ranks lowest among the states – lower than Guam and the Virgin Islands, even – in congressional delegation clout, largely because we have four Republicans in office and the Democrats are in power. How is this hurting Idaho and our interests?

  10. I think it’s brave for a politician to say, “do right; risk consequences” even though it’s clearly a basic value we should all hold dear – because the political consequences can be brutal in today’s Congress. Who is out there right now Doing Right and Risking whom you admire?

  11. The statistics you cite really speak to the argument for bi-partisanship in a congressional delegation. In 1991 there were two Democrats from Idaho in the US House of Represenatives: Richard Stallings and me. Of course, there were two Republicans in the Senate from Idaho and we worked with them often. Stallings and I covered the House Ag and Interior Committees so important to Idaho. We worked with the Bush Administration whenever we could and delivered for Idaho. That healthy tension in a bi-partisan world was good for Idaho.

    Right now the seniority status doesn’t really tell the whole story because Bill Sali is so far to the right of the entire Congress. His far right ideology really puts us further in the hole in terms of clout.

    Idahoans want problem solvers in Congress. The congressional delegation should be made up of people who will work across the aisle for the good of the entire state not just the ideological fringes.

    Let’s look at the Iraq War for a minute. Larry Craig has been a rubber stamp for the administration. He has never asked a tough question about the direction or implementation of our policy in Iraq. This is very unhealthy for our state and nation. A member of Congress should make certain that the executive branch is accountable to the taxpayers of the nation. Larry Craig has really been asleep at the switch and has contributed to the delusional policies in Iraq. That’s why we need a change and a new direction in Congress. And I believe that is why Idaho is ready to elect a Democrat to the US Senate.

  12. Irwin Horowitz


    Given the fact that Idaho has tilted strongly towards the right since 1994, what strategies are you working on to improve the electoral outcomes for Democrats in our state next year?

  13. In 1991 I put my congressional job on the line with a vote of conscience to support the Hamilton/Gephard Amendment calling for increased diplomacy and sanctions before we went to war in the Persian Gulf. That was an early and clear example of putting what I felt was the right policy ahead of my political aspirations. As a Vietnam-era veteran I felt I needed to represent the views of so many that got pulled into that swamp. The Middle East has attracted many in the past to intervene and I was wary of our intervention from the very beginning.

    What we found in the Persian Gul War and in the Iraq War is that Americans will always rally around their brave men and women sent into harms way.

    Once the commitment of troops is made the policy arguments and differences are set aside. But those discussions should not be shelved for too long. That is the trouble with the Congress before the last election. It was a rubber stamp for a delusional policy.

    And when Bush had the opportunity to unite our country with a bi-partisan policy (Iraq Study Group) he refused.

    I admire Senator Hagel for his independence on Iraq. I admire Al Gore for his tenacity and forcefullness in raising a critical issue while he’s under fire from some who think we can pollute our way into the future.

  14. I ran for Congress in 1982 when I was 35 against Larry Craig and lost narrowly. I returned to that race in 1990 and won.

    I am constantly recruiting good candidates to run for office in Idaho and encouraging those that have run before to run again.

    Idaho is in transition. Just like Montana and Colorado. While the Democrats picked up 6 seats in the House in Idaho, 3 Demo candidates came within 500 votes of winning in the Idaho Senate.

    I believe that there is a real responsibility on the part of the candidate to run exciting and energetic races. We must make sure that all Idahoans understand our policies through campaigns that reach the grassroots – just like we’re doing now.

    In 1982 I took 22 jobs in 8 months to connect with Idaho voters and understand their issues. In 2006 I shook 22,209 hands across Idaho to listen to their concerns about government and our policies. My opponent in 2006 refused to debate me on statewide television in the traditional format and snubbed the voters. We must continue to reach out wherever we can even if our opponents are arrogant and aloof.

    The 2007 session of the legislature was a real waste of time and I believe most Idahoans feel the same way. There was no grocery tax relief in spite of the fact that every Idahoan’s sales taxes were raised 20%. 20%! There will be a price to pay for that tax increase by the Republicans in the near future.

    Basically, it gets down to connecting with voters and having the opportunity to communicate to the voters. In 2008 I don’t want to see Idaho Democrats outspent as they were in 2006. By the way, a great deal of that GOP money came into Idaho from outside in the form of the Club For Growth. It wasn’t a grassroots effort by any means.

    The full answer to your question revolves around the fact that I am starting early in this 2008 race. I will cover the state, raise the resources and go the full length of this campaign. Idahoans will get a clear choice when they go to the polls in November, 2008. They will see an energized candidate and campaign that will respond to their issues and solve their problems.

  15. Julie in Boise

    The hour is almost done. I just want to let everyone know that Larry will be live blogging again next Tuesday (June 5) at noon in the diaries at Daily Kos …. We hope to see some of you there.

  16. Congressman, thanks for coming to NewWest.Net/Boise today. As the campaign progresses, we’ll do it again, yes?

  17. Thanks so much for sharing this time with me today. Jill, thank you for your hospitality. Please pass on my best wishes to the whole NewWest team. Your work to democratize our elections is truly commendable.

    Yes, it is early in the 2008 election cycle. But it’s not too early to get involved to chart a new direction for our country. We only need to look at Montana and Virginia in the last election cycle to see the importance of the netroots.

    Please take a look at my website: and continue to send me your thoughts and counsel. I certainly ask for your support. As we get to know each other better it will be very important for you to tell your personal network that Idaho will pick up a seat in the US Senate in 2008 for the first time since 1974! We’ll make political history together.

    Jill, yes I would love to return. Just let me know when you think would be a good date and I’ll make every effort to be on-line with you once again.

    Have a great weekend. Best wishes. Larry

  18. I don’t know who selected the questions for this forum, but I didn’t see any questions about immigration. I would like to believe the omission wasn’t intentional, but I find it hard to believe that nobody asked any questions about it, as it is one of the most serious issues facing our country today. If Mr. LaRocco wants to run for the Senate in this state, he needs to make a stance on this issue before voters go to the polls in 2008.

  19. Thanks for asking, Ms. Steiner. NewWest.Net/Boise doesn’t select questions at all – nobody did. It was a completely open forum for anybody to post a question or comment, and what you see is precisely what was posted. We didn’t “omit” anything; it was a free-for-all, as we believe these forums should be. There was no vetting, choosing, or censorship of any kind. Nobody asked a question about immigration that day, but why don’t you ask one right now? Mr. LaRocco will answer. It’s an important topic, as you say. — Jill Kuraitis, publisher NewWest.Net/Boise