(PartiallyPolitics.com) – Retired public employees from California are migrating to Eagle, Idaho, bringing their substantial pension funds and causing a stir among some local residents. This influx, as reported by The Los Angeles Times, includes a significant number of former police officers and firefighters. Many of these retirees, while identifying as conservatives, are perceived by Eagle’s long-time residents as comparatively liberal due to their sizeable pensions from California.
This demographic shift has even influenced local politics, with the most recent mayoral race in Eagle being contested between two California transplants. The central debate was about who was less representative of Californian values. Former Mayor Jason Pierce, who moved to Idaho over two decades ago without a public pension, lost to a newcomer with a substantial pension from his career as a California fire captain. Pierce criticized these new residents for labeling themselves as Republicans despite carrying what he sees as ‘liberal baggage.’
According to Pierce, these Californians are advocating for similar benefits and government services in Idaho that they had in California, which he views as contradictory to Idaho’s conservative ethos. He expressed concern that their demands for more government services, like better street cleaning, imply a willingness for higher taxes and more government intervention.
Eagle’s newly elected Mayor Brad Pike, who relocated with a $123,000 pension, considers himself a lifelong Republican. He sought a respite from what he describes as California’s liberal governance. Yet, Pierce sees a disparity between Californian and Idahoan interpretations of Republican values, especially regarding taxes and gun rights.
The Los Angeles Times noted that nearly 90,000 members of California’s primary public employee retirement system receive their pensions outside the state, with Eagle, Idaho, receiving the most pension money. California’s population saw a decline from January 2020 to July 2022, partly attributed to strict pandemic lockdowns, with a significant number of residents leaving the state.
Concerns are growing among some Idaho locals, like Pierce, that this influx of Californians might alter the state’s political landscape and values, similar to changes observed in Colorado. A retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant now living in Eagle remarked that many like him would have stayed in California if not for the state’s political leadership driving them away.
Copyright 2024, PartiallyPolitics.com