By LORI ANN EDMO
BOISE — Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Rudy Soto announced his candidacy for Idaho’s 1st Congressional District November 18.
Republican Russ Fulcher currently fills the seat. The 1st District covers the western portion up to north Idaho.
Soto was born and raised in Nampa an is also a son of a Mexican immigrant. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college. He also served in the Idaho National Guard.
Soto announced the day his father passed away from cancer five years ago. He died prematurely after he lost his job and health insurance. He said while it is a sad day for his family, it’s also a reminder of the need to transform tragedy into triumph. “In Congress, I’ll fight for a pathway to quality and affordable health care for all Americans. No family should have to go through what mine has.”
He said seeing what’s going on in national politics helped convince him to run and he sees a need for people to work with all backgrounds, all political affiliations. There is also a lot of challenges with affordable housing.
He intends to be a voice for all Idahoans, “I am excited and up to the task.” He’s participated in training programs for veterans trying to get people who have served the country to continue that service into elected office. After participating, it prepared him.
Soto said he’s well versed in health policy issues because of his work with the National Council of Urban Indian Health. He knows the importance of funding shortfalls in the Indian Health Service. He understands and respects treaties and tribal sovereignty. He said he will be a strong proponent for protecting tribal sacred sites and believes it’s important for all Idahoans to maintain public lands. He believes in land conservation, protecting the outdoors, the water we drink – it’s essential to everybody.
When it comes to issues, he plans to do a listening tour throughout Idaho and looks forward to getting up north. He also plans to visit with the Fort Hall Business Council to get their endorsement sometime in December and have a meet and greet.
When asked about his campaign and fundraising to cover costs, he said he feels very fortunate and blessed to have made a lot of friends from his journeys. He’s made a lot of connections where ever he’s been and is hopeful they will help. He’s hoping to secure the support of Idaho tribes and those from many different backgrounds. A “digital grassroots fundraising campaign” is also in the works to reach people in Idaho.
Soto received endorsement from Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding who said, “Rudy Soto’s roots in Idaho and experience fighting for strong bipartisan policies make him the right candidate to protect Idaho’s public lands, expand public education and grow our economy.”
A.J. Balukoff, former president of the Boise School District Board of Trustees endorsed Rudy’s plans for education. “After hearing Rudy’s vision for education in Idaho, I’m proud to support his candidacy,” said Balukoff in a news release. “He prioritizes listening to educators and investing in all levels of education for students across Idaho. That’s the kind of transformation our education system needs.”
Soto worked as an intern, a congressional legislative assistant and as legislative director for the National Indian Gaming Association.
He encourages people to visit his web site www.rudysoto.us
“I look forward to being back and doing my best to represent myself, my family and my community,” he said.