IDAHO FALLS — Tommy Ahlquist, a Boise business developer and medical doctor, made his first campaign stop in east Idaho Wednesday afternoon just hours after formally announcing his candidacy for Idaho governor.
Ahlquist, a Republican who has never run for political office, shared his vision and spoke about why he’s entering the race to dozens of people gathered at Bill’s Bike and Run in Idaho Falls.
“People have been asking me to run for quite a while,” Ahlquist said in an interview with EastIdahoNews.com. “I’ve got a lot of great ideas to improve education, the way we develop our economy and the way we take care of our kids to match them up with Idaho jobs.”
Ahlquist is a former emergency room physician who says he has cared for more than 40,000 patients all over Idaho. He has started several small businesses and describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur” who has developed more than two million square feet of retail, office, residential and medical space.
“I’m known as a fixer and a doer,” Ahlquist says. “I get things done when I get involved. I have the skills to address issues that are important to Idahoans.”
TOMMY AHLQUIST UNEDITED IDAHO FALLS REMARKS
When asked his thoughts about President Donald Trump, Ahlquist says it’s “refreshing” to have someone in the White House who understands small businesses.
“He understands that regulations stifle small businesses,” Ahlquist says. “It’s refreshing to have ideas from outside of Washington.”
Following his Idaho Falls visit, Ahlquist was scheduled to hold events in Kimberly and Coeur d’Alene. He plans to visit 97 towns around the state to meet voters and lay out his platform.
“As an ER doctor, you learn about your patients by asking questions and listening,” Ahlquist says. “I want to go listen to people in their communities. When I internalize and listen to all their ideas, it will make me a better candidate and governor.”
Ahlquist joins Brad Little, Idaho’s lieutenant governor, and former State Sen. Russ Fulcher in the race to succeed Gov. Butch Otter, who is not running again.