I got to have dinner with the Leadership Idaho Ag delegates this week. Idaho County had the most delegates of any county in the state as far as I could tell. This group of young people are selected for their potential leadership skills. They then go through leadership training for several weeks at several locations throughout the state.
It is so very important, in my opinion, that young people in rural Idaho learn leadership skills. That helps us hold our own, or even out-compete our city friends. This matters in all kinds of organizations, including the Idaho Legislature. Rural Idaho will not be given a free pass just because we are rural. We will have to work effectively for what we want, against the difficult odds of the large population of urban dwellers.
Attending this year’s conference from central Idaho were Jared Everson, Grangeville, Katie Mosman, Grangeville, and Ben Schumacher, Greencreek. I was very impressed with the skills of these young Idahoans!
egislative district is first in the state. Idaho has been spending more than a million dollars a year working at this problem. Last year I asked the Department of Health and Welfare for some figures, including the number of lives saved. Health and Welfare didn’t have the data. I believe in accountability in state government. I understand some of you will think the state should not be in the suicide prevention business. However, the program has too much support in the legislature to get rid of. We had to make it better. And accountable.
I required a plan to be written, using private money, that would describe a path to specifically saving lives. If we can’t demonstrate life saving efforts, why are we spending the money?
A plan was written, including a request to add almost a million dollars to the budget. This funding request became a recommendation from the Governor, and the highest priority of the entire Health and Welfare Budget request. I said NO! The other members of JFAC stuck with me.
I believe that just because a plan is written doesn’t mean you spend more money. I believe that first, one must prove the new relationships in the plan will work, and that the plan itself is solid. Then we will see about more funding.
This was not a popular position for me to take down here, but I believe our government can be accountable and successful. But there is a lot of resistance to that ideology.
Loggers and Wood Haulers at the Legislature
The Associated Logging Contractors were in Boise meeting folks in both the Legislative and Executive Branches of state government. It’s fun to visit with them; they are salt of the earth type of Americans. Hardworking, patriotic, and fun loving! Some of them reminded me of my days growing up around the loggers in Kooskia.
I spoke to them about transportation and trucking issues in the legislature. They are very supportive of any effort to get more funds to the roads of Idaho, even if they have to contribute a little more.
I also carried a bill for them to improve logging safety on the highways of Idaho, and presented that to the Senate on Tuesday. It passed unanimously.
Education Funding Formula
We hope to have a bill drafted to vote on this week in committee, but I’m skeptical. It is very complicated, and will distribute a serious amount of money for our education effort. We want to get it right.
I am hearing a bill will be presented in the House this week that will include a number of sideboards to the funding recommended by JFAC. We will begin to see if any of these ideas can get through the House and on to the Senate.
I always enjoy hearing from you. If you have specific interest on bills, please let me know and I will run them down for you. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,