State Senator Jim Patrick, ID (SD-25) Responds to Critics
This originally appeared on MagicValley.com on April 4, 2014.
I laughed when I read that the editorial board “discovered” from “internal documents acquired by SourceWatch.org” that I am the American Legislative Exchange Council Idaho State chair. Perhaps those documents include a picture of the Exchange Council website, since I’m listed right there on the state chair webpage.
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a forum whereby policy analysts, industry experts and state lawmakers from around the country can gather, share ideas and exchange data and experiences. Similarly, I am also a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments, as well as PNWER, Pacific Northwest Economic Region so my membership with ALEC is not particularly noteworthy — many legislators are members of these four organizations.
If I can learn from the successes and failures of policies tried in Mississippi or California or other states — without harm to my constituents or spending unnecessary tax money on programs that don’t work — that’s exactly what I want to do. Likewise, I can inform legislators in New Hampshire or Illinois about reforms that have worked right here in Idaho.
At meetings, we educate and debate one another, then decide whether proposals are consistent with ALEC’s motto of limited government, free markets and federalism. If a model policy is adopted by legislator members, it is posted at www.alec.org for anyone to access, read and consider.
My participation in any organization doesn’t mean I agree with everything I hear, but the American Legislative Exchange Council provides a valuable educational opportunity for me to make more informed legislative decisions. I want what’s best for Idaho, and exposure to a variety of resources helps me better advocate for the people I represent.
I encourage all readers to learn more about the American Legislative Exchange Council by going to www.alec.org and perusing the model policies, downloading the economic and educational reports and reading the policy discussion on the blog. I especially invite my constituents to let me know if they see anything on the ALEC website they think would work to improve Idaho.
Speaking of which, some have asked me about my animal security bill and a few other recent pieces of legislation. These policy proposals originated in Idaho and if the reporter had been present at the hearings for the Ag Security bill and the Payday Loan bill, she would have learned exactly how they were crafted in Idaho by many people and ideas. Some members of the media like to portray legislators as unable to think for themselves, but if they engaged in investigative journalism, they might learn how these issues arise and would find that constituent concerns do come first.
But back to the hubbub about ALEC: if all this information is available to the public, why couldn’t the Times-News find it? Why did the editorial board rely on false characterizations by SourceWatch.org, which regularly smears ALEC and its members?
By the way, what is SourceWatch.org?
Answer: it’s a webpage run by the Center for Media and Democracy, a leftist group funded by billionaire George Soros. The Center for Media and Democracy just announced a merger with The Progressive magazine, so their reporting clearly is biased.
It appears billionaire funding is not the problem with which the editorial board takes issue. Believing in limited governments, free markets and federalism is.
Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, represents District 25, Jerome and Twin Falls counties. He serves on the Agricultural and Education committees and is vice chairman of the Commerce and Human Resources Committee.