Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, says “Americans are being held hostage and terrorized by the fringes. That’s what’s going on here. It’s not like 50 percent of Americans thinks one thing and 50 percent thinks another thing. No, 15 percent on each side are effectively controlling the conversation and 70 percent of us don’t hate each other.”

Do we have fringe views in Idaho? My metrics are around issues where surveys suggest most Idahoans agree. For example, most agree that Medicaid should be expanded to provide predictable health care for low-income workers. Fringe views oppose this.

Most agree that the state Constitution is correct when it states, “The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”

Most agree that keeping public lands accessible and open to the public is important. Most Idahoans agree that all people including women, Muslims and LGBT should be allowed to fully participate in the economy without discrimination or opportunity roadblocks.

Most Idahoans agree that prisoner incarceration cost in terms of dollars and lost productive lifetime can be reduced through better education, crisis intervention, drug rehabilitation.

Most Idahoans value our rural communities. Most recognize we are becoming a technology-based economy so improving our talent base is important. Some fringe views oppose these generally agreed positions.

I believe that elected officials can provide leadership for deliberation and compromise leading away from fringe positions and more toward common good solutions on which most Idahoans agree. I will not vote for candidates I perceive to be aligned with fringe views.

There are good Republican and Democratic candidates from which to choose. Based on my experience and assessment in this election season, I think that Paulette Jordan, Kristin Collum, Cindy Wilson, Mark Nye and Christine Stevens will be best.

Larry Gebhardt,

Pocatello