COEUR d’ALENE — In a crowded field for the Idaho lieutenant governor’s job, Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls claims something she says none of her fellow candidates can.
“I went home after serving in the Legislature and created 17 new jobs in my community,” she said Thursday at The Press. “That’s the difference between myself and politicians who talk the talk. I’ve actually walked the walk. I know how to put my own resources and my own hard work, my own determination, to actually create jobs.”
McGeachin, 54, has plenty of competition in next May’s Republican primary. Announced candidates include former Idaho Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates, state Rep. Kelley Packer, state Sen. Marv Hage-dorn, Steve Pankey, and state Sen. Bob Nonini of Coeur d’Alene.
Mc- Geachin and her husband of 30 years, Jim, own three Idaho businesses in the automotive industry. When McGeachin “term-limited myself out” in 2012 after a decade of service in the Legislature, she started an Irish restaurant in downtown Idaho Falls — a business that created 17 jobs in her community.
A former chair of the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee, McGeachin says she’s a soldier in the war against federal encroachment and insider influence. As lieutenant governor, she said, a top priority would be standing up to federal overreach.
“I’m advocating reducing our dependency on the federal government,” she said, suggesting that the state accept no additional funding from Uncle Sam while it works out ways to cut into the 35 percent of its budget that comes from D.C. She referred specifically to Obamacare and “the devastating impact that has had on our small businesses and our ability to compete.”
McGeachin said the Trump administration presents a new and exciting opportunity to move away from excessive regulations and taxes. That’s particularly important to Idaho, she said, which ranks 49th in per capita income at least in part because of over-regulation and excessive taxes.
“It’s an administration that takes a different attitude, a different approach to the role of the states in helping to solve all of the problems we face in our nation, especially in health care and education,” she said. “We need a team on the state level that will work with the Trump administration.”
McGeachin describes herself as a “conservative, small businesswoman” who is “the outsider in this race.” With decades of business experience and 10 years in the Legislature, she said, she can make a difference in a role that presides over the state Senate, breaks tie votes and serves as governor when the governor is out of state.
“I want to break away from the mold I’ve seen in Boise too much over the past few years, where it’s politics as usual,” she said. “The Boise insiders and lobbyists run everything in Boise. It’s time for the politics as usual to come to an end.”
The McGeachins have two children, Liza and James, who help run the family businesses. Janice McGeachin is a University of Arizona graduate who majored in finance and accounting.