By Ben Olson
with reporting by Cameron Barnes
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador spoke to about 30 constituents at Farmin Park in Sandpoint on Monday. The stop in Sandpoint is part of Labrador’s tour of the First Congressional District to talk with “everyday Idahoans.”
Labrador fielded questions from the audience about everything from land management to climate change. In one question from the audience, a Trump supporter asked Labrador that if Trump were elected, would he stand with Ted Cruz to help uphold the Constitution.
“I’m frustrated with Republicans saying to not support Trump,” said Labrador, who later stated that he would support the Constitution no matter who was elected.
Local author and historian Jane Fritz attended the talk and expressed dismay that Labrador didn’t believe in climate change.
“I do believe in climate change,” Labrador addressed Fritz’s question. “I just don’t believe it’s man-made, like you do.”
“There are about a million scientists who disagree with you,” said Fritz.
When Fritz began asking about oil and coal trains passing through Sandpoint, the crowd began to boo her, prompting Labrador to tell them to “be respectful of her, even though she has been very rude to me.”
“This meeting wasn’t for the constituents, it was for his groupies,” Fritz told the Reader later. “When a fellow citizen can’t even express their point of view without being booed, that’s too bad.”
When another member of the audience expressed concern about military violence in the Middle East, Labrador responded that he was a “…civil libertarian. War should only happen when the vital interests of the United States are at risk … it’s not our job to nation build in the Middle East.”
Labrador was also asked whether he supported designating the Scotchman Peaks as a Wilderness Area, to which he responded that he “saw no benefit to establishing that area as wilderness.”
Labrador also disagreed with the Convention of States (COS) movement, which is a project that aims to “restore the checks and balances on federal power,” according to their website. Under Article 5 of the Constitution, two-thirds of the states may call for a constitutional convention to propose amendments that would be ratified by three-fourths of the states. So far, eight states have joined the movement.
Though Labrador said he is a proponent of Article 5, his fear with COS is that there would be no way to limit the convention.
“The problem is the moment you call a convention, you open up the entire Constitution, not just the things that you and I agree on,” he said.