Those of you interested in education have been hearing a lot about educational content standards, commonly known as Common Core. There is a lot of enthusiasm on both sides of this issue, which I appreciate. This week the House of Representatives voted to repeal these standards, so they have made their way to the Senate now.

Senator Dean Mortimer, Chairman of Senate Education, has proposed a solution. He suggests we write new content standards this summer, but because we are required to have standards in place, we keep the current ones until the new ones are written. We cannot just get rid of all so-called common core standards, until we have something to replace them.

Here is something to think about as this process moves forward. If we write new standards and shop them multiple times around the state, like we did last time, it is estimated to cost $50 million and take three to five years. Some may say how can it cost that much, but Chairman Mortimer is a veteran on JFAC and the education committee. Let’s just say when he talks about what something will cost, I listen!

So the question is…if our content standards are bad, what are we willing to spend for new ones? I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Please email me at or just click on my email address.

Here is how I look at it. I don’t know how good the standards are, but they aren’t the major problem with our schools. I think the break down of the family is the major contributor in our education system and even perfect standards won’t fix that.

This is an important conversation and issue, so you can expect much more to come soon.

STEM in Idaho

Idaho Education Technology Association President, Tracy Smith, recognized all the amazing Idaho teachers and students for the work that is taking place in our state surrounding STEM education. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math!

I too think we have some pretty incredible teachers and students in Idaho, especially in District 7!




Prison money

I’ve said it once, even twice and here I am saying it again – we still spend too much money on our prisons. We just approved $23 million dollars in overspending for the Idaho Department of Corrections. The way it works is they go out and spend the money on incarcerating prisoners in Texas, Colorado or in the county jails around our state and then they total up the cost and send us the bill.

Legally the state is required to incarcerate if that is the judgement, but our prisons are overflowing so we have to put them somewhere. What a mess!

I know, being a critic is the easiest job in town, so I am working to help find a solution to fix this massive issue.

Local control at its best

Great seeing David Poxleitner with the Keuterville Highway District and Joaquin Lowe with the White Bird Highway District in the Capitol. We had a great talk about roads during their visit for state road meetings.

Your voice in higher education

I am very proud to have been the only Senator asked to serve on a higher education committee that will work to decide the future of higher education in Idaho. Joining in this process will be the university presidents and members of the State Board of Education.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that your voice has never been heard at this level in higher education planning. It is our privilege, both my constituents and me, to have this opportunity.

Now, we have to DO something.

Give send me your ideas on what we can do to make our efforts in higher education more effective. Click here to email me at

SJR 101

I need to set the record straight. There was a misleading post on Facebook depicting my vote on a gun bill. What you were told on social media was wrong. The truth is, I voted NO on this bill and I was actually the deciding vote in the Senate.

The same thing happened last year. Originally I had supported the bill because it seemed like a victims rights bill, and that’s what I heard from attorneys and constituents. Ultimately, my constituents saw it as a Red Flag Law, and I voted NO to kill the bill with a one vote margin.