Jim Vandermaas – US Senate

Why I’m Running


Since I was a kid, I have been curious about our government, how it worked, and how it kept us safe when so many scary things were going on; The Cuban Missile Crisis, air raid sirens going off frequently, having to hide under our school desks (as though that would protect us from a nuclear blast),  the clear feeling that Russia wanted to destroy us, and that strong feeling of fear and uncertainty.

And in spite of all the internal turmoil, racial hatred, inequities, and the fear of nuclear attack, I wondered how our leaders could make us all feel safe and secure, make us think that the good of our country was more important than thinking of ourselves, and that we should forget our differences for the common good, that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do as a country if we worked together and put our minds to it, inspired by a sense of purpose and the hope of a brighter future. True leadership.

I grew up in very humble beginnings. My father abandoned us when I was one year old, and mom raised three kids by herself. As a kid I was always fascinated by how things worked – I took apart my mom’s toaster when I was six, just to see how it worked, and then negotiated my first peace treaty by convincing my mother not to spank me if I could put it back together – in working order… I started working to help support the family at age 10, and was out on my own at the age of 16. As each of my children turned 16, I would look at them and wonder how I survived on my own at that age. And do they feel as inspired and hopeful as I was at their age?

That sense of shared common values, being inspired by our leaders, and that sense of hope we all used to feel seems lost now, or more accurately, has been destroyed over time by those leaders who use fear and anger to divide us for their own advantage.

I have never lost that idealism, that sense of hope or purpose, because I know that things are better for all of us when we come together, working toward our common goals, shared values, and the common good of our country. And those feelings are not unique to that time, but rather unique to those visionary leaders that inspired us to challenge ourselves to be better – to make a better country, and gave us the hope to persevere.

We have the power to effect this change, because the solution is within each of us. We need only look for these values and that hope within ourselves to be able to recognize it others. This change can be organic, but we still need leadership with the vision and dedication to make it happen.

And if you’re wondering, the toaster worked and that spanking was avoided…

My entire life has been dedicated to public service, and in spite of being retired, I know I am not done, as there is so much more to do. 

I am ready to work for all of Idaho!


Jim’s Brief Bio…

My father abandoned my family when I was 1 year old. My family lived in poverty and I had to start working at age 10 to help pay the bills.  I volunteered at the local fire station at the age of 15, was on my own at age 16, then became a firefighter and paramedic as soon as I was old enough. I spent more than 30 years working in law enforcement: 911 communications, union shop-steward and negotiator, IT, project manager, crime analyst, member of the SWAT Team. I started and ran a successful telecom business, which I sold after 9 years. Then I worked in consulting, and was on the county Search and Rescue Team doing cliff & dive rescues, and with 2 others in our department, I started a Police Activities League, which created diversion and mentoring for at-risk youth. 

All of these activities show my dedicated history of public service, my commitment to making lives better, sound business acumen, and a strong sense of the value employees bring to any organization–experience and a perspective all US Senators should have.

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