Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Know the audience before you open your mouth

Last night former US Senator Rick Santorum, who is a Republican presidential candidate, visited and spoke here in Boise. His visit was planned and announced just a few days ago. Mitt Romney will be here on Friday.

When you travel as a speaker, you need to be aware that the audience may have very different beliefs and concerns than you do. One of the topics Mr. Santorum mentioned was that he would work with Congress to transfer federal lands to states and sell lands to the private sector. In his home state of Pennsylvania that’s small potatoes - they were settled so long ago that only about two percent of the state is federal lands.

Out here 64 percent of Idaho is federally owned. Talking about changing that is a big deal and upsetting to us. Thirty-nine percent of this state (shown in green) is covered by national forests - an area just slightly larger than the entire state of South Carolina (32,020 square miles, shown in red). 

States are very different in many ways. There is a pair of maps showing the best and worst for each one. People are different too. One of the former Canyon County commissioners called the AM talk radio station before it aired Mr. Santorum’s speech. He griped that he wouldn’t attend because he and his wife long ago had made dinner reservations for Valentine’s Day.

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