TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — As the newly elected 33rd governor of Idaho, Brad Little toured the state to promote his plan for his term in office, and he made a stop in Twin Falls.
“You’ve got to be proactive, you know, as jobs change, as kids change, as the population changes, as challenges from the federal government charge you have to be adaptive,” Little said.
He told KMVT the first thing on his list is better education for Idaho children.
"We’ve got to have good schools. We've got to give them the skills needed for whether it’s for a career in the CTE field — where we have a lot of work to do, or have them prepared for college," he said.
The base of his plan to improve education in the Gem State is simple, and he said it starts in elementary schools.
"At the very lowest level, we got to get all of these kids reading proficiently by the end of the third grade," he said.
Little also has a plan to keep more students in Idaho after they graduate with a hope that they will become future Idaho educators.
"We want those best students to go through our K-12 system and get their bachelor's degree and go back to their local community, whether it’s Filer or Kimberly or Twin Falls or Jerome and be part of that magic that takes place in the classroom," he said.
With a shortage of teachers across Idaho, KMVT's Emily Duke asks for details on how he plans to make that happen, and he said it begins with the budget.
"Starting teacher pay, which is one of the initiatives of my budget, (we need) to get that up to a higher level so once again we don’t have our best and brightest leaving Idaho," he said.
Little was Idaho's lieutenant governor for 10 years, but he said he doesn't plan to stay in the long shadow cast by former Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. Little said in his time serving Idaho, he’s learned to always be open to new ideas.
"Idaho is such a fast growing state, what was right thing to do three, five, 10 years ago is somewhat out of date," he said.
Little says education is his main priority because he has a dream to leave a better Idaho for the next generation.
"I want parents and grandparents to know that when their kids go across the high school graduation, that they've have got a good education and they’re going to have the skills and want to come back to Idaho and that’s everything," he said. "The more of that that happens the more I will consider my tenure in this incredible honor that I have been bestowed by the people of Idaho a success."
KMVT plans to publish a couple more articles talking with the newly elected governor about some hot button issuers like medical marijuana and better jobs for Idahoans.