Reed DeMordaunt's family reunions are never boring. He's the oldest of seven siblings and he has six children of his own. For more than seven years, DeMordaunt lived in the Middle East, working for Exxon in Cairo, Egypt; Proctor and Gamble in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and WordPerfect in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
They also lived in Vancouver, Canada, and Tokyo, Japan, before returning to Idaho in 2000. DeMordaunt is CEO of Med Management Technologies, which develops and markets medication management solutions under the QuickMAR brand name. In 2010, DeMordaunt, a Republican, entered the political arena, winning the House seat for Idaho District 14 vacated by now-Congressman Raul Labrador.
You probably look at the front page a little differently than the rest of us.
I have lots of friends in Tokyo, so I have great concern for what's been happening in Japan. As for the Middle East, I would hope that I understand the people a little better. Obviously, on the front pages you see the extremist points of view. That's really a minority.
Had you run for office before last year?
Never. I had been involved in different committees exploring education issues, and I had presented before the state legislature before, so that got me involved in some of the political process. I think it was evolutionary. I thought that in order to affect change, I needed to get off the sidelines and get into the game.
Was the experience of raising funds and running a political campaign surreal?
To have your friends and neighbors write out checks for you and offer their support is very humbling. It's something I don't take lightly. Plus, my kids were amazing. They pounded in lots of signs and campaigned through a lot of neighborhoods.
What are the boundaries of District 14?
Five Mile Road on the east. Can Ada Road to the west. Ustick Road on the south and then we go north to the Foothills of Eagle. Population wise, we're the largest district in the state.
But your district will change through redistricting.
No question about it. The magic number for each district should be about 45,000 people, and my district is currently well over 75,000.
You sat on the House Education Committee this past legislative session. Are you happy with the passage of the three laws that will reform education in Idaho?
We were at a turning point. I think we have put some tools in place that will provide a foundation for our kids to compete against a global workforce. This is a very big ship, and we've turned the ship with some of these changes, and yes there will be some course corrections. There were some misconceptions that, with the introduction of more technology, somehow teachers would be out of the equation. That couldn't be farther from the truth. If anything, teachers become a greater part of the process, but this is really about allowing them to be more productive.
What would you say to those students who expressed frustration over this issue?
I would tell them that this is simply about extending your normal life into the classroom. One of the things we've found is that when multi-computing devices are extended into the classroom, discipline problems go way down. Students have technology in the rest of their lives, but when they got to school, they would become bored. When these technologies are introduced to the classroom, students become engaged at a much higher level.
Would you support some type of local option tax for larger municipalities in Idaho?
I like the idea of local option because people would get to vote on it. Fundamentally, that's a good thing. Primarily, the pushback that you hear from the cities is that they would like a simple majority to approve a tax as opposed to a super majority [two-thirds of the vote]. Fifty percent plus one? That's not a strong enough indication. At the end of the day, I believe when tax dollars are on the line, a super-majority should be required.
Did your constituents' phone calls, emails and letters influence your votes?
It's great to have that dialogue, but at the same time my constituents elected me to do the hard research as well. I make certain that I'm as informed as I can possibly be.
Is politics still a noble calling?
Representing people is. I don't think that you see as much of the ugly side of politics in Idaho as you see elsewhere. Does it exist? Sure it does. I'd like to think that I thought long and hard about all my votes and hopefully most of them were the right decisions. I think they were.