Tom Sullivan for U.S. Senate


This was the official website for the 2010 campaign of Tom Sullivan for U.S. Senate from Tetonia, Idaho. Tom Sullivan ultimately lost to the Republican incumbent, Michael D. Crapo.
The content below is from the site's 2010 archived pages.



ABOUT Tom Sullivan

Man is a composite of his culture, his country, his life experiences and his family. So, I'll share a little about my family first.

My father, L.Patrick Sullivan, was a Korean War vet. Both my sister and brother served honorably in the U.S. Air Force. My sister served during peace years, but with the advent of the Iraq war, my brother has been stationed in all the hot spots: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, and more. My older brother studied engineering at F.I.T. and worked at N.A.S.A. The threads of public service to our country weave a strong fabric throughout the history of our family. 

After my father's death, my mother's natural curiosity and adventurous spirit led us from the East Coast to the Midwest to California's most western shores and finally to northern Idaho's panhandle where I spent my teenage years. We homesteaded a 10-acre plot near the top of the Hoodoo Mountains. We hewed a log cabin out of the wilderness with axes and a 2-man saw. The family motto in those years emphasized: self-reliance and cooperation. 

Overall, these maturing years taught me the importance of understanding people with varying backgrounds. They may have cultural differences, but above all, they are Americans, united in the love of our great country, literally from sea to shining sea. 

Education is highly prized in our family. So much so, that when a teacher's strike delayed the graduating class's diplomas, I was encouraged to take the GED exam, so I could enter college in the summer term. Continuing education could not be delayed because of a teacher's strike! 

The Great American Dream of entrepreneurship lured me into the business world where I established my first successful enterprise-a paper company, using recycled paper, and built upon the premise that if it was environmentally sound it would benefit our nation. We were one of the first to go green. 

With each step, working my way up the economic ladder, from my first job as a paperboy while still in elementary school through my teenage years of bucking hay and changing irrigation pipes, on throughout my business career, I have endeavored to think first of what is beneficial for my local community, my family and my country. To use a very old cliche', I have literally pulled myself up the ladder of financial success by my bootstraps, I am today the owner of a merchant processing firm and a partner in a small weekly newspaper. 

It is time to reestablish a fair shake and honesty between big commercial banks and small businessmen! Which is one of the reasons I am running for Senator. The 2008 recession hit us all hard. As a merchant banker, I can do little to change the laws which devastated our communities, but as your Senator, I can use my experience and expertise in this field to help promote renewed prosperity for our business community. 

I have two children, my daughter Aidan who is 13 and my son Liam who is 10. Both are happy, healthy and 100% supportive of my bid for United States Senate. 

Seeing my wife develop a successful career as a self-taught artist has reinforced the principles I learned many years ago; you don't need a degree to make a difference in the world, creative thinking is a simple concept and a powerful tool, and persistence pays off. In watching her career over the years, I recognize the parallels of politics and art. Anyone can have pretty colors on a palette, but they will never create beauty if they can't get them to work together and relate to each other. Kelly has been a driving steady force in my life for over 14 years, and I am a blessed man to call her my wife. 

Together, we hope to make an appreciable difference towards the peace, prosperity and the values of our state's, and our nation's, ultimate destination. 

You know me. I am Tom Sullivan, a self-reliant problem solver who believes in cooperation and diplomacy at all levels of the human endeavor, a devoted husband, a doting father, a successful businessman, and a good neighbor. 

"It takes a village" are more than just idle words. Working together, you and I, as Americans, can make a difference as we step into the future and, hand-in-hand, hold to the values of democracy while strengthening the constitutional goals of our great country.

Like what you hear?  Please support the Sullivan for U.S. Senate campaign.


The Economy

American families should be working their way into the middle class, not falling out of it. Yet today, so many families are living month to month, hoping their car doesn't break down because they have no idea where they¹d find the money to fix it. And those are the lucky ones who have a job. Ten million Americans out of work isn't some abstraction. These are real people, and one out of three Americans who gets laid off has to go home that night and explain to their kids that daddy or mommy isn't going to work tomorrow and things are likely to get pretty rough, and they might stay that way for a while. So I don't want to hear how we can't afford to pay unemployment insurance to people who've lost their job through no fault of their own. I don't want to hear about how we need to lay off police, firefighters, and teachers, leaving us without protection and our kids without the first-class education they'll need to compete someday in the global economy. I don't want to hear how we need to cut Medicaid for poor children, many of whose parents are working three jobs to get by. I want to hear a plan for putting Americans back to work.

Working in small business I have learned to celebrate efficiency and congratulate common sense. Anyone with a little of either knows that as federal deficits and debt rise we chart an unsustainable course. The way out is job growth and government efficiency. Job growth will increase revenue without increasing taxes, and will save the government money in benefits. Cutting government spending will lower deficits. So question one is, who is going to create more jobs?

Between 1992 and 2000, the Democrats created 22.5 million jobs, 92% in the private sector. In his decade in the Senate Mike Crapo has essentially created zero jobs. In eighteen short months in office this administration has taken massive inherited job losses and turned them around. The past five months have all seen positive job growth. In April there were 280,000 new jobs, 231,000 in the private sector. Case closed. Democrats are better on jobs.

And who are you going to trust to cut wasteful government spending? Mike Crapo, the 20 year incumbent? For all their talk of “Smaller Government” the federal government grew exponentially under George W. Bush and Mike Crapo. I would think that if Mike were going to cut the federal budget he would have done it by now. I’m a twenty year small business owner. I will root out inefficiency and waste and cut it no matter where it lives.



We can't settle for anything but the best in America's classrooms, because the countries our kids will be competing with for the jobs of the 21st century‹China, Japan, India aren't settling, either. In tough economic times, education is an easy a target for budget cuts, but nothing could be more short-sighted. When parents are stressed at home because they've lost a job, children need strong, nurturant, effective teachers more, not less.

When jobs are scarce, there's no better time for young people to get that degree or for workers who've been laid off to go back and retrain. You don't cut education when the unemployment rate for workers with a college degree is half the unemployment rate for those without one. You don't cut education when eight out of ten new jobs will require retraining or a higher degree by the end of the decade. You don't cut education when you know that countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. It's time to recommit to our kids, our workers, and our future by making sure America has the best educated children and workforce in the world. 

Every day, another several thousand teenagers drop out of school. Without a diploma, these kids don't stand a chance: Boys who quit school are far more likely to be unemployed and to cycle in and out of prison. Girls who don't graduate are ten times more likely to become teenage mothers. But this is one problem we can fix. The first place to start is with the 10% of schools that produce 50% of all dropouts. The problem isn't just the schools.

They're underfunded and dilapidated, and their students often come to school hungry and surrounded by violence. And their parents need to be more involved, taking responsibility for their children's education. The second place to start is with high-quality early education, which has enormous effects on graduation rates over a decade later. And the third is to turn to innovative programs, like those that mentor kids at risk, engage members of the community who can serve as role models, and provide work experience to students while they're still in high school. The best cure for poverty is a good job, and the best place to start is with an education.



We MUST, MUST, MUST reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It is killing our troops and our environment. Alternative energy sources such as biodiesel, wind, solar, nuclear and geothermal can all play a substantial role. There is also massive potential for jobs and savings simply in retrofitting commercial and residential buildings for greater conservation. 

And no state is better primed to take advantage of new, green energy than Idaho. 28% of our economy is science and technology, and we have a willing and able workforce ready to take on high tech, green energy manufacturing that can build the 21st century economy. With the state and federal incentives already in place, Idaho should be a hub for the kind of secure, well-paid jobs we all want.



We live in Idaho because there are more trout than people and more wilderness than asphalt. I like it that way and will fight to keep it that way. 

We all want clean water and clear skies. We all, hunters, hikers, fishermen and conservationists alike, want access to the amazing backcountry we call home. Therefore, environmental policy must be comprehensive, and pay particular attention to risk and reward. Of course business can work in conjunction with protection and access, but in general we should be wary of risk. 

Idaho deserves a Senator who understands that our greatest natural resource is the state itself. We must protect it for this and for future generations. 

One specific and immediate policy objective; repeal and modify the Mining Law of 1872, which is a giveaway to foreign and domestic mining companies, denies any royalty to the state of Idaho for its natural resources, and makes no sense in the modern world.



The new health care law may not be earning members of Congress who supported it many votes, but if kids could vote, things might be a little different. 

Why? Because the most immediate impact of the new law is on kids, and that's a good thing. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions, like asthma, diabetes, or severe food allergies. They can no longer place annual or lifetime caps on coverage. So if your child develops cancer, like leukemia, you no longer have to worry that you'll be one of the millions of Americans who has been thrown into medical bankruptcy by treatments that can be incredibly expensive, because your insurance can no longer tell you that your child has maxed out on benefits. And in this period of high unemployment, with 1 out of every four young people unable to find work, it's a good thing this new law allows you to keep your adult kids on your insurance plan until they're 26. So you won't find any members of Congress apologizing to kids for supporting the bill although they might wish they'd also lowered the voting age to 8. 

We need to protect the health of kids in this country no matter what happens with health care reform, and that means following three principles. First, don't make it worse. About a third of our nation's kids get high-quality care designed for children whose parents can't afford insurance, mostly because their employer doesn't offer it or they've lost their job in the recession. Second, health insurance for children of working parents needs to remain a standalone program like Medicare for seniors, not something rolled into health care exchanges that aren't scheduled even to start for 4 years. 

There's a reason we have pediatricians, because kids aren't just little adults. They have distinct needs, which require care from professionals who understand the needs of growing children. And third, we need to protect employer-based coverage, so people with good plans now won't lose them. We may not know what health care is going to look like in 10 years, but the least we can do is to insure that children in this country never again suffer from pain or illness just because their parents can't afford to take them to the doctor.

But it's not just kids who need good health care and we need to set good examples & high standards of what that means for everyone. Sometimes the answer lies in preemptive care or in avoiding situations that can harm our health. Like pollution, or second hand smoke. We want to encourage healthy habits like staying physically fit, by exercising and eating healthy food. Avoiding certain kinds of behavior, like smoking or drinking, or even over exercising. Former Queens assistant district attorney Benjamin Pred tells a great story of how over exercising almost killed him. After an overly rigorous spinning class caused him to experience a debilitating bout of rhabdomyolysis, it led to three days in the hospital while doctors worked to stabilize his kidneys and his liver. Fortunately he had health insurance, another huge issue for out citizens, many of whom continue to lack coverage for even the most basic care.



I was raised a Catholic and was an altar boy as a child. I know that religion plays an invaluable role, an irreplaceable role in American life. And while my spiritual life is a source of great comfort and constant wonder personally, I firmly believe in a separation between church and state.



I believe the Second Amendment to the Constitution gives private citizens the right to own a gun.


Medical Marijuana

In 2010 when Tom Sullivan for U.S. Senate Idaho had some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. Possession of any more than three ounces of pot is a felony, and a conviction for selling marijuana could mean ten years in prison and $30,000 in fines depending on how much is involved and how many prior convictions a person had. Despite current legalization efforts in other states, marijuana possession and sale, even for medical reasons, remains prohibited. For someone such as myself who offers bulk vape supplies for an online wholesaler, I don't venture across the state lines of Washington or Oregon where I supply numerous vape stores and medical marijuana dispenceries. Sadly, in 2017 the Marijuana Policy Project was vetoed by Gov. Butch Otter. Now, the Gem State is one of only three states that lacks any type of medical cannabis law whatsoever. Tom Sullivan never had ti address such an issue when he ran for the US Senate. Idaho’s Cannabis Laws are outdated and make criminals out of non-violent, responsible (and often extremely ill) citizens. It is obvious, that our elected officials ARE NOT speaking for us.