SANDPOINT — Lt. Gov. Brad Little made his rounds through the local high schools Thursday and, as Gov. Butch Otter was out of state, pointed out that he was actually acting governor.
"He always comes back though, so I don't do anything too crazy while he's gone," Little joked with the students of Clark Fork Junior/Senior High School, which was the first stop on his tour.
Little made stops at Clark Fork, Lake Pend Oreille and Sandpoint high schools where he gave a brief introduction before turning it over to the students for questions — and did they have questions.
"I think the awareness, in all three instances, the political awareness is pretty impressive," Little told the Daily Bee as the tour came to an end. "I was surprised I got two net neutrality questions."
Students at Clark Fork and SHS asked Little about net neutrality because of the upcoming vote by the Federal Communications Commission on whether to repeal current net neutrality rules. Little said while it is the role of the federal government, he could make "both sides" of the argument.
Little said he views the internet as a utility that is "so important," the government has to have a role in it. If there is a provider using 85 percent of the capacity, he said the government should look at it and figure out how to keep one person from consuming so much.
SHS students, of which the majority in attendance were from government and related SHS classes, asked about gender and racial issues in Idaho, sustainable agriculture, the stereotype of Republican attitudes toward public education, healthcare and more. In Clark Fork, students also asked about North Korea, climate change, mining and illegal immigration. Students at both schools also asked about Little's stance on marijuana legalization and gun laws, as well as the process of getting into politics.
The students at LPOHS were a mix of government and science students, so many of their questions surrounded energy in Idaho. One student, for example, asked "Is it possible to completely convert Idaho to renewable energy sources?"
"You are going to have to get energy storage technology up there because the sun doesn't shine all the time and the wind doesn't blow all the time," Little said. "... The technology for storage is going up all the time ... It's important that you have a very reliable energy supply and I am not an advocate for anything other than very reliable power."
LPOHS students also asked about nuclear energy, education funding, Idaho's grocery tax, the economy and employment rates.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.