TWIN FALLS — A Baptist pastor is running for the Idaho Senate. Paul Thompson has filed as the Constitution Party candidate for District 25, which is mostly within the city limits of Twin Falls.
He will face Republican Representative Linda Wright Hartgen in the general election in November.
Originally from Colorado, Thompson has been a pastor in Idaho since the late 1990s, when he worked in a ministry in Fairfield. In 2001 Thompson moved to Twin Falls, where he leads the Eastside Baptist Church. He was a frequent contributor to the Faith Corner column in the Times-News for about 11 years.
Thompson ran for state representative in 2020, winning 26% of the vote in a general election against incumbent Republican Representative Lance Clow.
If elected, Thompson said he would fix family issues, try to reform the foster care and adoption system, secure parental rights in education and push for property tax relief .
For the past several years, Thompson has defended his pro-life stance and asked the city council to sign an anti-abortion proclamation in 2021and again in 2020. Individual council members signed the symbolic proclamations, but largely deferred to national and state laws on the matter. Thompson had previously pursued a citywide abortion ban when he presented and order to the board in 2019. It was not adopted.
This week Governor Brad Little signed legislation effectively banning abortion after six weeks gestation, but Thompson said he doesn’t think it goes far enough and will continue to push for an outright ban. simple abortion.
“I think it’s a good step in the right direction,” he said. “I think the state has an obligation to defend life at all stages, not just certain stages of gestation.”
Thompson has also been a vocal opponent of LGBTQ+ rights.
“We have done our state a disservice by granting marriage licenses to those whom God does not ordain as male and female unions,” he said.
If elected, Thompson said he would push for Idaho to create its own definition of marriage, rather than accept the definition provided by the federal government.
“At this time, the people of Idaho haven’t had a chance to say what we think family or marriage is,” Thompson said. “We’ve been told that’s what the Supreme Court says so you have to abide by it.”
The Idaho Constitution states that “marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union which shall be valid or recognized in this State”, but the United States Supreme Court has ruled that such language is in violation of the United States Constitution.
Thompson favors school choice and would work for legislation to allow school funding to follow students into private schools or other options. He said he doesn’t believe parents who have chosen homeschooling or private schools should have to pay for public education they don’t use.
Property tax relief is another priority for Thompson, he said. Recent legislative discussions of a property tax exemption for homeowners are more akin to a tax shift than a tax cut, Thompson said, and he would like to see broader tax relief.
“This conversation obviously happens on a regular basis, but it doesn’t look like we’ll ever end a legislative session with real property tax relief,” Thompson said.
This would be his first publicly elected position, but said his experience on boards and committees for various nonprofits has given him experience in negotiating, closing and moving organizations through committee processes, and is very similar to the operation of legislative bodies.
Another qualification, Thompson said, is that he is a taxpayer, not a professional politician.
“I am a tax-paying, God-fearing, country-loving citizen, and I want the best for my people,” Thompson said.
Thompson came to national attention in 2010 when he was imprisoned in Haiti for three weeks with a religious group suspected of kidnapping and trafficking children. The group said it was trying to help orphan victims of the earthquake. They were released by authorities and returned to the United States. The church in Thompson has since established a shelter for haitian girls.