At a time when politics seem more divisive than ever, Nampa native Rudy Soto says he offers voters the chance to elect someone who will work across the aisle.
“My tagline is that I’m a different kind of Democrat by way of being raised conservative in Idaho. That’s why I served in the United States Army. I am my own man. And in Congress I’m going to be working as a problem solver. Not a bomb thrower,” Mr. Soto said.
Mr. Soto, 34, is running for his first elected position, US Representative of Idaho’s District 1. He faces incumbent Republican Russ Fulcher. He hopes voters in the consistently Republican district will choose him over the continued partisanship that Mr. Fulcher offers.
“My opponent is ranked—he is the sixteenth most partisan member of the House of Representatives. He’s right there with The Squad and AOC (Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) on the other side of the coin. It’s made it to where he has passed zero bills and is totally ineffective. And we need more people who can get stuff done,” Mr. Soto said.
As for what he wants to get done, Mr. Soto said his priorities will be creating opportunities for working class Idahoans, improving infrastructure and improving upon the Affordable Healthcare Act.
He credits his time with working as a staffer on the Natural Resources Committee where he focused on issues of environment, agriculture and transportation as preparing him to act on behalf of those employed by timber and agriculture industries.
“Because I come from a working class background and I know what it’s like to have family put out of a job because of things on a higher level. I would never seek to take away from people’s ability to put food on the table and make ends meet. In fact, it’s the opposite, I want to create pathways. My campaign is about every day Idahoans from all walks of life, struggling to make ends meet, simply seeking a shot at the American Dream,” Mr. Soto said.
Mr. Soto said he will work to improve Idaho’s infrastructure.
“I think there a couple ways of going about it. One is public-private partnerships to identify shovel-ready projects. Like here, if everyone knows there is a particular intersection, or a bridge, or a road that needs expansion and it’s a priority where if the money is accessible whether it is through a loan guarantee or a federal grant that it can be expedited and made to happen relatively soon,” he said.
Mr. Soto wants to see a public option for healthcare that will force private insurance to be competitive and offer coverage for those who make too much for Medicaid but don’t have employer based coverage.
“My focus, really, I’ve been talking about the need for a public option. I think the problem with Obamacare is a number of weaknesses and shortcomings that need fixing. And I think creating a public option would be of benefit,” Mr. Soto said. “The private health industry has no checks on them, so premiums are really high and I think a public option for people who need basic coverage would be a competitor for the private health insurance market place.”
To voters concerned that he has not held office, Mr. Soto points to his years of public service in the military and with various service organizations.
“I’ve dedicated my entire career to non-profits, child welfare and public health,” he said. “I’ve worked on Capitol Hill longer than Fulcher.”
Mr. Soto’s professional experience includes work with national non-profit organizations and as a congressional staffer. He served in the United States Army from August 2008 to February 2018. He has participated in the American Political Science Association’s Congressional Fellowship Program and with HillVets. He also holds a bachelor’s degree with studies in criminal justice, communications and conflict resolution.
To learn more about Mr. Soto and follow his campaign, see his Web Site www.rudysoto.us or follow him on Twitter @Rudy4Congress.