These Issues Matter to Idaho

These are some of the critical issues voters will consider in the congressional campaign and election on Tuesday November 6.

Senator Nicole LeFavour is a teacher and former small business owner who grew up in rural central Idaho. She’s served eight years in the legislature standing up for education, small class sizes and to stop budget cuts which have eliminated thousands of Idaho jobs.

 

 

I’m an Idaho Democrat because Democrats care about working people, families and small businesses. We believe in communities and that people pull together to overcome great obstacles. We believe a strong public education system and a more affordable college education are the foundations of the American dream.

Our nation needs new congressmen and women determined to solve problems and lead our country back to prosperity and the values of compassion and cooperation that made us great.

THE ECONOMY

Our nation’s job creators are not millionaires or corporations but small businesses and regular working people. Americans create jobs when they can participate fully in the economy, when they can afford replace a broken washing machine, buy clothes for their children, fix the car, eat out at a restaurant or afford a home or college degree.

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Congressman Simpson voted again and again to loosen the federal banking regulations that led to our nation’s financial crisis.  Sadly he also voted to spend $700 billion to bail out banks without providing any help for the small businesses struggling to get loans to create jobs across Idaho.

FAIRNESS

Our nation has reduced taxes on millionaires at a time when our national debt has reached record levels. Congress should allow the Bush era tax cuts to expire for everyone making more than $250,000 a year and keep the cuts and credits in place for working families and seniors. If the most wealthy 1% in America again paid their fair share we could trim more than $1.2 trillion from the deficit.

EDUCATION

Four years of budget cuts have created fiscal crises in our neighborhood schools, caused property taxes to rise and led to a loss of critical resources teachers need to make sure every child achieves his or her full potential. I strongly oppose forcing kids to learn in crowded classrooms as a result of state and federal budget cuts.

HIGHER EDUCATION

No American should feel that taking on a lifetime of debt is the only way to complete a college degree. We can lower the cost of a college education by using federal funds to incentivize colleges and universities to lower student fees. Increasing accountability for tuition increases and using $1.50 federal incentive for every $1.00 reduction in tuition I believe would pay for itself in the economic benefits of making a college education affordable to more Americans.

SENIORS

Unlike Congressman Mike Simpson, I oppose further cuts to Medicare that jeopardize the security of American Seniors. The nation's budget should not be balanced at the expense of school children, people with disabilities or our seniors. Cutting Medicare violates a promise our nation makes to each American who pays taxes or funds these programs that we will have some level of security in providing for ourselves and living out our lives in our communities as we age.

JOBS

I will dedicate myself to restoring jobs, not eliminating thousands with irresponsible budget cuts. Food processing plants have closed and most Idaho products are now exported as raw materials, sending Idaho food producing jobs overseas and across state lines. I’d ensure grants, (not incentives which shift taxes to small business and families) are available for Idaho businesses to open food manufacturing facilities that create jobs and prosperity in Idaho. 

POLLUTION and HEALTH

I believe that weakening the EPA will only put at risk the clean drinking water and air that the next generation of Idahoans must depend on for a healthy start in life. While we all may trust some industries not to pollute our water and air, others we are glad are watched and regulated by an agency whose job it is to protect human health. Sadly, Mike Simpson has made it a priority to weaken the EPA the one agency charged with using science and solid research to protect American children and families from cancer-causing pollution and toxic contamination.

EQUAL PAY AND RESPECT FOR WOMEN

Today, Idaho ranks 43rd in the nation for how much more a man is paid compared to a what a woman doing the same job is paid for the same work. Unlike Congressman Simpson, I support the Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act because it improves families’ ability to bring pay disparities to the attention of our state and nation when they do occur. Fair wages improve our economy and keep families independent and strong.I oppose allowing government to intrude in private matters by mandating that women undergo invasive medical procedures. I believe government should respect the private health decisions of women, families and individuals. 

RESPECT & HUMAN DIGNITY

I have worked for decades to advance human rights and respect across Idaho. In contrast, Mike Simpson has refused to address our broken immigration system in a way that unites families and best serves Idaho communities, agriculture, commerce and our economy. Additionally, in Congress Mr. Simpson has consistently opposed legislation to end discrimination against gay people in employment and military service and has even voted against ending the violence too many still face in their communities.

HEALTH INSURANCE

I was never a fan of the Mitt Romney-style mandate to buy private insurance as it was included in the nation’s health care law. Sadly Congress made the industry more powerful by mandating that everyone buy private insurance. A strong nationwide non-profit program would be far more affordable and could simplify the current system which has created endless administrative costs in every doctor’s office and hospital. There are some important new consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare." Telling insurers they can't deny coverage to Americans because of pre-existing conditions has saved many families and individuals from going without any insurance. I also support the provision which allows young people to stay on their parents plans until age 26. There's still much work to do and it's time for congress members to start proposing solutions and stop playing politics with people’s lives. It's time to fix the law to ensure no American goes bankrupt over medical bills or fear that the cost having of insurance is out of their reach.

Donate: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/go-nicole

To volunteer or get involved go to http://4idaho.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=31

To find out where you vote: http://idahovotes.gov

Even if you have never voted and are not registered you can go to the polls on election day and bring your photo ID and something with your address (like a utility bill) and you can vote! No need to vote in every race for your votes to count.

 

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LeFavour announces candidacy for congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2012

Four-term Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour announced today she will seek election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Idaho’s second congressional district which encompasses North East Boise, Mountain Home, Twin Falls, Ketchum, Burley, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.

Said LeFavour in a Friday twitter post, “I’m running for Congress because I love Idaho and we can do better.”

Stepping down after eight years serving as one of Idaho’s most passionate voices in the legislature, LeFavour said of her move to run for Congress, “This is a hard time in our nation and sadly I feel Congress is not doing all it could to set our economy right. Idaho families want to feel secure about retirement, about their jobs and the opportunities their children will have. I understand that so well. We have a job to do as a nation and we have no time for partisan struggles.”

“I don’t love political parties but I am a Democrat because Democrats care about working people and families, we believe in communities and that people can pull together to overcome great obstacles. We believe that a strong public education system and a more affordable college education are the foundations of our own American dreams. I’m a democrat because I feel it’s time to recognize that the wealthy do not create jobs, ordinary families create jobs. They create jobs when they can afford their doctor bills and can replace a broken washing machine, buy clothes for their children, eat out at a restaurant, travel, or pay for a college degree.”

LeFavour was not a supporter of the Mitt Romney style health care reform adopted in Federal health reform, “No one should go bankrupt over medical bills or fear that the cost having of insurance is out of their reach. We needed to hold insurance companies accountable, not make them more powerful by mandating that everyone buy coverage and offering no other option.”

Well known statewide for her work opposing Tom Luna’s three bills which cut support for teachers to pay for laptop computers and mandatory on line classes, LeFavour is a former teacher. She grew up in rural Custer County in central Idaho where for seven years she worked in water quality, fire fighting and as a wilderness ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.

“I grew up on a ranch which was once a pretty modest place. We took in guests and raised chickens, milked cows, made butter, bread, bacon and raised a lot of vegetables. My sister waited tables in the restaurant and I worked in the kitchen. I’ve always worked hard.”
 
“Working for the forest service I saw how the federal government works. It creates a lot of important jobs for rural communities protecting our drinking water from pollution, our forests from devastating fires and making sure Idaho still has amazing places to hunt and fish. At the same time government can feel huge and can grow uncaring if we don’t have people representing us who watch out for our communities and our families.”

In the legislature LeFavour served for four years on the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee while Idaho balanced its budget through some of the worst economic times in the nation’s history. LeFavour was an advocate for Idaho’s schools and reducing prison budgets by increasing funding and access to mental health and substance abuse treatment statewide. “Balancing a budget is about cutting spending and about understanding how cuts will affect jobs, families, the economy and next year’s budget. Some cuts don’t make economic or human sense because we eliminate thousands of jobs, create greater costs in our prisons or in emergency medical care. Congress needs to recognize this.”

LeFavour continued, “We all want our tax dollars to be put to use for the betterment of our country, keeping wages livable, ensuring seniors and people with disabilities stay independent in their homes, making a college degree more meaningful and more affordable, lowering health care costs for small businesses and inspiring American companies to increase their manufacturing and create jobs here in America to make us strong again.”

Senator LeFavour can be reached for comment at208 724-0468

Those wishing to donate, volunteer or help build a base of support across eastern Idaho should contact the campaign at contactnicole@4idaho.org

I can now accept checks of $30, $60, $100, $500 or ANY amount up to $5,000 before the Primary May 15 or $2500 after May 15. P.O. Box 775 Boise 83701. The more quickly I get my first $100,000, the more likely I can win Nov. 6!

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LeFavour will not seek another term

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feburary 24, 2012

Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour announced Friday that after eight years serving in the Idaho legislature she will not seek a third term in the Idaho Senate. “It has been such a deep honor to represent the amazing people of Boise’s district 19 where I live. The district has been so good to me and I like to think I’ve been a dedicated voice for those here and for many statewide who otherwise might not have had someone to speak for them.”

In her four terms in the legislature LeFavour was well known for her work on tax policy, prison sentencing reform and improving Idaho’s treatment and support for those facing mental health or substance abuse issues. She also has advocated for adequate services to keep Idahoans with disabilities independent and healthy in their homes and communities.

“It is with the deepest sense of regret and sorrow that I leave the legislature, a place that has taught me so much about politics, policy, process and people. Idaho is a tough place to be in the minority. I took very, very seriously my duty to speak for those who were to be harmed by the policy we passed. That’s not a popular role to play and one simply can’t do it forever. It is especially hard knowing that speaking up for a wrong about to be done was so often not enough to change the outcome. You hope for the best in people and I always have hoped my colleagues would rise to that. Last year was tough and I left the session knowing this would be my last.”

In the legislature, LeFavour served for four years on the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations committee, for six years on the Judiciary & Rules Committees of the House and Senate and for four years on the Senate Education Committee where she led efforts to oppose Tom Luna’s 2011 Education reform bills which make it law that the state would increase public school class sizes by using drastic cuts in funding for teaching positions to pay for new lap tops and mandatory on line courses.

LeFavour was elected by her peers in the House and Senate three times to serve on Legislative Council. For more than four years she served on the Commission on Hispanic Affairs. All eight of her years in the legislature she served on the Joint Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee where for five out of the seven years she had the closest year end revenue estimate of any legislator on the committee.

First elected in 2004, LeFavour was Idaho’s first openly gay elected official and the only openly gay person elected to Idaho’s legislature.

“The four or so months of the legislative session are hard on family. My partner Carol has put up with a lot of stress and has stood by me as I dealt with a lot of loss. She’s so smart and keeps me laughing through the hardest times but you can only ask that of someone for so long.”

LeFavour hopes her district will work to make sure that she is replaced in the legislature by another openly gay member.

“It is so critical that the house and senate have openly gay members. If I weren’t here there are times I’m certain that some in this Capitol would say they didn’t know anyone gay. And then how would they ever know that they cared about what happens to gay people in our state?”

LeFavour says she’s seen progress,  “After all these years, finally this body of 105 people is beginning to see that people do still discriminate and do intentional harm to gay and transgender people in our state. I know for a fact that a majority of my colleagues also finally feel that doing intentional harm to gay people is wrong. In a civil society it is our duty to say this is wrong. If we don’t, we might as well be saying that we condone the harm and don’t care about the lives of good people who lose their jobs, housing or educational opportunities for no other reason than that they are gay.”

“I began this session knowing I would not be returning and had one of the most amazing experiences of my legislative career. In August I began working with a group of people who became known as Add the Words, Idaho. Many, gave their every spare hour over the last five months strategizing and organizing to help the Idaho legislature see that Idahoans believe it is time to include gay and transgender people in our existing human rights act. I love the group of people I’ve gotten to know these past months. I think they’ve changed history on this issue. For the first time in all my years working on this issue I have two votes shy of a majority supporting the bill in both the house and senate with at least three maybes and several I’ve not talked to yet. That alone keeps me hopeful about what may still be possible this year.”

“I leave the legislature knowing I did everything I could last year to try to stop the cuts to education and the radical change in priorities from teachers to technology. I put my whole heart into stopping the cuts to Medicaid and to mental health treatment therapy and to services that keep people with disabilities independent in their homes. This year I will continue to do everything I can to get my politically fearful colleagues to acknowledge that this may be the only year in the next ten years that we have such a clear opportunity to pass legislation to include gay people in Idaho’s human rights act. I hope it weighs heavy on their consciences that in history they have the choice to do that now or to continue to allow good people across the state to live in fear every day.”

Senator LeFavour can be reached for comment at208 724-0468
Texting is an efficient way to reach her as well.

Add the Words 3rd VIDEO: Only Stronger

On February 10 the bill to Add the Words to include gay and transgender people in Idaho’s Human Rights Act was killed without a word of public testimony. For six years the Idaho legislature has refused to allow a single public hearing on the legislation to ban discrimination in employment, housing and education. Tell your Idaho law makers it is finally time to stand up and say discrimination is wrong. http://addthewords.org

Send your message now respectfully asking the Senators to reconsider the bill and Add the Words.

Sen. McKenzie: CMckenzie@senate.idaho.gov (208) 367-9400
Sen. McGee: JMcgee@senate.idaho.gov (208) 455-3950
Sen. Lodge: PALodge@senate.idaho.gov
Sen. Winder: CWinder@senate.idaho.gov (208) 343-2300
Sen. Fulcher: Rfulcher@senate.idaho.gov (208) 332-1340
Sen Davis: BMDavis@senate.idaho.gov (208) 522-8100
Sen. Hill: BHill@senate.idaho.gov (208) 356-3677

Letters to the Editor Idaho Statesman: https://forms.idahostatesman.com/lettertoeditor/

Idaho Press Tribune: You may mail, fax or e-mail your letter to the editor, but letters must include your full name (no initials), home address and daytime and evening telephone numbers for verification. If you have questions regarding your letter, please call (208) 465-8115 or e-mail:
op-ed@idahopress.com

………………………………..

Add the Words Idaho is an all volunteer organization of people all across Idaho working to demonstrate the level of public support for inclusion of gay and transgender Idahoans in the state’s laws banning discrimination in employment, housing education and public accommodation. Add the Words has gathered over 2000 messages to Idaho legislators written on sticky notes from people in more than 60 Idaho towns. http://addthewords.org

Thanks to Lucy Juarez for video footage, and to Jim Huggins and Stacy Ericson for still photos. Thanks to Lisa Perry and all those organizing or participating in positive silent protests across the state.
Thanks to Dave at Rail Tees on Overland for the Add the Words T-shirt design and printing.

Live in Boise? Find out how you can post your sticky note in the statehouse any time, day or night.

http://addthewords.org

Add the Words Events Statewide today

For immediate release
January 24, 2012
Add the Words Continues to Post Sticky Notes in Capitol

In an ongoing effort, members of the Add the Words, Idaho campaign, continue to post sticky notes daily on the doors of the House and Senate Chambers in the Capitol Building.

"It was a bit tense the first week when the state police still seemed determined to stop our volunteers from peacefully posting any of the hundreds of stickies we've gathered from around the state," said Mistie Tolman, spokesperson for Add the Words. "Still, volunteers and members of the community are posting the notes every day on the glass doors of the chambers and committee rooms. In meeting with the ProTem and Speaker they wanted us to understand that the notes will be taken down as soon as they are posted.It's frustrating for some of our volunteers but at least no one is being detained by the troopers. People's words are there in the statehouse. For some of us, that's a start to a powerful conversation that's constantly improving the outlook for the legislation this year,"

Lisa Perry was asked more than once to stop or she'd be removed from the building, "I went in there last week for my gay and transgender friends. We're determined to make sure people's voices are heard since in years past the community's never been given the chance to speak at a public hearing. People still live in fear and too often face discrimination at work and school and in renting houses and apartments."

Add the Words campaign member, Cody Hafer, explained that every day volunteers read the following statement as they post sticky notes: "This is the most peaceful way we could think of to both protest the fact that year after year we are denied a public hearing, and to make sure that those across the state can have their voices heard inside the capitol. Our sticky notes are simply words, not a permanent fixture, just our calm way of respectfully and quietly bringing the voices and stories of thousands of Idahoans here."

"We find that many lawmakers still believe that gay and transgender people have legal recourse when they get fired from their jobs or denied housing just because they are gay or transgender." said Emilie Jackson-Edney of Add the Words. "Many in the statehouse don't know how the Human Rights Act works. It created a process already in use in Idaho to investigate, mediate and make findings to protect both businesses and employees should discrimination happen. Even after six years there's still a lot of education work to do to explain that we are not asking for anything new or different, just to let the Commission work on those cases that involve us."

Add the Words, Idaho is an all volunteer organization of people across Idaho working to demonstrate the level of public support for inclusion of gay and transgender Idahoans in the state’s laws banning discrimination in employment, housing education and public accommodation. Add the Words has gathered over 500 of messages to Idaho legislators written on sticky notes from people in more than 50 Idaho towns. Add the Words is working with organizations and individuals in more than 13 towns to hold public candlelight vigils, rallies and events on Saturday January 28th in support of passage of legislation to add the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to Idaho’s Human Rights Act.

Those wishing to send sticky notes to law makers or hoping to participate in the groups vigils, rallies and other events statewide on January 28 can go to http://addthewords.org , for more information.

For More Information please contact Mistie Tolman 208 861-4371 mistie@4idaho.org

 

Add the Words First Video: The Sticky Note Story

 

You are changing Idaho! TODAY is the day.

Sharing this from Add the Words:

Friends Statewide,
     Today's the day.
From Coeur d'Alene to
Idaho Falls we'll
gather. Bring a pen and,
if you can, a sticky
note all written out. If
there's no event in your
town, PLEASE gather
yourself, a friend, a
sign and take a photo.
Send it to us at addthewords@gmail.com
Post to facebook. Tell
friends.

    Thank you for being
part of the amazing
progress this year in
legislator's attitudes
toward gay people. We
now have a hearing for
introduction in the
Senate. The next step
would be a public
hearing. Our first ever.
But we need YOUR
legislator's vote. Let
them know you care.

    We CAN
finally end the fear
and legal
discrimination still
faced by so many of
our gay and
transgender family
members and friends. Please
stand with us TODAY.
Let's make history.  

        —Mistie
Tolman, Cody Hafer,
Lisa Perry, Emilie
Jackson Edney, Rialin
Flores, James
Tidmarsh, Victoria
Brown, Stacy Ericson,
Lucy Juarez, Ashley
New, Lee Thompson,
Hannah Brass, Jim
Huggins, Jennifer
Whitney, Jonny Carkin
& all of us across
the state working with
Add the Words.

Julie Zicha from
Pocatello: "I
lost my son to
intolerance
last January.
Please Add the
Words so we
don't lose any
more kids."

"Let's add the
words already!,"
Emily Walton
from Declo,
Idaho.

"Please think.
There are many
kids wondering
what they did
wrong & the
answer is
Nothing. Please
Add the Words."

Former HP
Executive Don
Curtis Sr. says,
"I want all my
children equal
under the law.
Please add the
words."

Jazz Musician
Curtis Stigers says, "Add
the Words, Idaho!"

…………………….

 

Like
you, we are
dertermined
it's time for
Idaho law
makers to
finally add
the words
"sexual
orientation"
and "gender
identity" to
Idaho's human
rights act!

Together
this Saturday
we can bring
friends and
gather from
Weiser to
Coeur d'Alene
from Idaho
Falls to Twin
Falls and help
make Idaho a
better place
for our gay
and
transgender
friends.

We
now have over
500 sticky
note messages
from over 50
Idaho cities
and every
legislative
district in
the state
.
Email yours.

Share
with friends
and ask them
to sign the petition
and write a 20
word message
for us to post
for them in
the statehouse.

 
Live
in Boise? Post
your own
sticky note
on glass doors
inside the
Capitol in the
weeks ahead.

Watch
our video.

On
mobile/phone.

Click
to hear radio ads
for events
around the
state.

 

RSVP
and LIKE us on
Facebook.

 
………………
 
STATEWIDE SCHEDULE of
EVENTS this SATURDAY
JANUARY 28

IDAHO FALLS
RALLY with signs
and hot cocoa.
Elizabeth Cogliati &
Rev. Lyn Cameron
Broadway Bridge
(East-West route
crossing the
Snake River in
the center of
town adjacent to
the Green Belt
and parking.)
12:00-1:00 PM

TWIN FALLS
RALLY with signs.
James Tidmarsh.
Twin Falls County
Courthouse (427
Shoshone Street
N. Twin Falls,
Idaho 83301)
RSVP on Facebook
1:00-2:00 PM

LEWISTON
STICKY NOTE WRITING & DAYLIGHT VIGIL
Jennifer Whitney
Sticky note
photos followed
by a daylight vigil
Lewis-Clark
State College
SUB Room 225
(500 8th Avenue)
(Starting in
SUB, ending in
amphitheater.)
10:30-11:30 AM

PLUMMER
STICKY NOTE WRITING & DAYLIGHT VIGIL
Co-sponsored w/
Benewah Human
Rights Coalition
Plummer
Community Center
& Park (5th
and C Street)
(Starting in
Community
Center, ending
in park.)
2:00-3:30 PM

WEISER
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL
Tony Edmundson
Weiser Post
Office Post
Office (106 W
Main St Weiser)
6:00 PM

NAMPA
CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL
Victoria Brown
The Fountain at
2nd St. South
and 12th Ave
6:00-7:00 PM

BOISE
RALLY With
Music, Speakers
& Sticky
Note Writing.
Lisa Perry
State Capitol
Steps
RSVP & LIKE
Add the Words on
Facebook.
1:00-2:00 PM

CALDWELL
RALLY with
Speakers College
of Idaho Campus
Chelsea Gaonoa Lincoln
(2112 Cleveland
Blvd. Caldwell,
ID 83605) (Right
on Cleveland
Blvd. in front
of college.)
11:00 AM-12:00
PM

COEUR
D'ALENE

VIGIL and Sticky
Note Writing
Human Rights
& Education
Institute
6:00 PM

MOSCOW
Gathering for a
presentation on
the Human Rights
Act and Sticky
Note Writing
Jim Huggins
1912 Center St
11:00 AM

POCATELLO
MARCH, VIGIL and
Sticky Note Writing w/ photos
Thoshia Harke
4:30 PM Add the
Words Idaho
Workshop
Sticky
note writing to
law makers
starts at the
Canoe Room in
the ISU SUB
(1065 South
Cesar Chavez)

MARCH
5:15 PM From ISU
SUB to the
Bannock County
Courthouse for
Vigil (624 East
Center /
Pocatello)
CANDLELIGHT
VIGIL

at Courthouse
5:45 PM

(Let Cody know if you would like to help organize
an event in your town.)

You can help: addthewords.org

Idaho’s Reverse New Deal

IMG_9428

Today I sit at home at my living room table, a scarf, hot tea and afternoon sun keeping me from feeling the cold of the house– which we keep in the low 50s except when the wood stove is burning. We are trying right now to avoid buying another cord of wood from our favorite man with an axe. If things felt more hopeful economically we might spring for it. But In this environment, we all have our own ways of being frugal.

Tomorrow, Idaho's economic outlook committee will meet deep in the polished underground wings of the Capitol. We'll make wild guesses as to how much money Idahoans will pay in taxes in the year ahead. I've served all 8 years of my 4 terms in the Idaho legislature on this committee. I have a record of regular closest "guesses" at total tax revenues, a fact that's pleasing in good years but grim in years like 2009 when Idaho's economy began to take its dive.

The number we pick in the next week will set a limit for how much money we have to spend in our next state budget. We all know the number gets good when more people are employed and buy goods and services. Businesses do better then as well. And from it all, the state collects tax revenues which will fund elementary schools and community colleges, parks and drug treatment programs.

Does anyone think this year the Idaho legislature will suddenly re-consider our current strategy of telling every single state agency, "This year, no building anything, no hiring anyone, no replacing broken items or taking on new projects?" No. This three year austerity strategy has cost Idaho over 3000 state jobs. And somehow the Governor still seems proud of it.

When America had its last great depression, rather than paying unemployment for laid off workers, government paid them to do jobs communities needed to have done. Idaho has closed parks, health department offices, scaled back mental health treatment programs, laid off school teachers, increased class sizes in schools colleges and universities and much more.

Yet I'm sad to say I suspect those who loathe government will have their way with our economy again. They will continue the austerity in spite of the fact that it's hurting the very people who cry for lower taxes. Business owners. It all cycles around. Even 2000 jobs would do a lot for the Idaho economy, for builders, retailers, restaurants, and those who sell cord wood or consumer services. If we resisted the urge to deepen tax breaks and exemptions and focused instead on creating the most needed of state jobs, we might just inspire a few business owners to do a bit of hiring themselves. Imagine that.

 

If it Doesn’t Work

Off through the dark tonight the stathouse grounds are cold and snowless. When the gavel falls and the 2012 session begins on January 9th, I will begin my 8th year serving in the Idaho legislature. After what seem like so many years, I still come to the work with the expectation that what lies ahead holds some promise of hope. I work hard to hold onto that.

Each year is different. That is comforting. It could be better.

But going into this session I hear far too many whisperings of Republican colleagues setting their agendas and limiting the range of legislation they will support based on what they think the extreme of their party demands. This will be an eleaction year. New closed Republican primaries are unknown enough to strike fear into every moderate heart.

Tonight as vapor clings in frozen patterns on windsheids and cold cuts deep into every stone, I have a caution for my colleagues: You give them this power. With their threats will they now get everything they want? While perfectly reasonable people elected you, often by overwealming margins, will you none the less vote in the interest of the few in your districts who wish you ill and in May will seek to drive you from office regardless of how you answer their threats?

And what if you wake up tomorrow and those who elected you for your intelligence and integrity grow disgusted? What if those who purposely elected you as a moderate, a reasonable person, what if they abandon you and stay home on election day or vote for Democrats because of the compormises you made out of fear of the central committee lynch mobs down the street?

What if standing for what you believe in your heart inspires others to do the same? What if it inspires people at home in their houses to work for you, to grow passionate in their support?

Which will you really choose?

Don't bother telling me you have no choice. I see those conversations coming. Do you really think that voting the way they want will make them easier on you? Sadly, I suspect no matter how you vote those cross hairs will still be leveled at your heart.

To Those In Favor of Bullying

I've paced every bit of marble around the rotunda between the two chambers many times today. I've been on the phone and visited members in their rabbit warren of basement office suites one after another. Senate members have talked to House members with me but it is no good now. The bullying bill S1105 is dead. It died on the calendar for lack of consideration.

To the young people from Sandpoint, Nampa, Jerome, Boise, Challis and across the state who I have told "It gets Better" — I need you to know, it does. Even if the most powerful in our state don't all yet understand the road you've walked, the strength you have had to find inside your selves when others said you had none. Still it gets better. I have promised to make it better — and I will. We will.

This year we tried so hard and came so close. But you must know there are people here who have not heard your stories. There are elected Representatives who think that bullying makes a person stronger. They need to understand how wrong that is.

And yes I asked them:

Have you never walked then in the shoes of a child whose family has rejected them, their church has turned them away, and now, at school, they are taunted or hit by those who think difference is a weakness — that it gives others a license to cause pain.

Have you never been a child whose life is a struggle on its own –and for whom school could be salvation or a hell –but because of the calculated cruelty of just one person, it does become a hell.

Have you have never watched a young person fail to see the beauty inside themselves? Have you watched someone see nothing but darkness — no strength or promise — until that they take their own life?

If you ever imagined such sadness, you might have fought for this bill.

But the House has just gaveled an end and adjourned for the year. The Senate has been done for a few hours. The kind words there flowed for a bit like and odd balm after three months of battle. The issues from closed primaries to rejecting federal health reform, cutting mental health treatment and education all split the Republican Party and the Senate itself again and again.

And the bill to make it better for young people died.

 

……………………………………

There is no end in this though only a beginning because there need to be more voices next year. If you have stories you need to share them. We need them. We need you to help us make sure it gets better. humanrights@4idaho.org

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