This week the Idaho Senate commemorated the 100th year anniversary of women having the right to vote in Idaho. In today’s environment, that seems like an, “of course,” kind of decision. Not so in 1920, when Idaho was one of the very first states to allow women this right.All of us have had our lives influenced by women. Whether they were our friends, our co-workers, our wives or for sure our mothers, women have played a huge role in forming who we are. The idea that they were somehow not capable of voting seems a bit ridiculous in view of their influence. But that’s the way it was.

Today, nine of 35 Senators and 25 out of the 70 Representatives are women and they are some of the most influential at the Statehouse.

With that said, we still have work to do to ensure that women are in top leadership roles like in the Senate, the House and as Governor! We still have a long way to go.

Count on me to help change that.

Transportation funding

We ended last week in JFAC with budget presentations of about $800 million from the Transportation Department. We hear some good news, the days of unimpeded traffic, measured by snow and ice removal is at 86%, up significantly in the last few years. This is largely because of better use of deicing chemicals that are now available and because of an increased value placed on the recommendations of the people doing the work.

Unfortunately, we have a tremendous backlog of bridges that are past their design age. Bridges built to last for 50 years are well past their prime. In fact more than half of Idaho’s bridges are past this age limit. The Department has been transferring money allocated for road repair to bridge repair, but as we all know we are in need of road repair funding as well! We must continue to rob Peter to pay Paul.

Another big discussion point during the presentation is an increasing fatality rate per 100 million miles of travel. We have increased from 1.2 to 1.4 in the last few years. Why? Maybe more distracted driving or do you think poor roads? Maybe both!

Trucking safety

This past week I had a really informative meeting with Dan Rice, CEO of Transystems, an agricultural trucking business in the northwest. He provided me with a some really good information on how 129,000 lbs trucks are improving safety in Idaho. Stay tuned, I will have more details next week.

Bottom line, the safest truck is a parked truck, so having fewer on the road but goods and services still being moved, is the best truck!

Health and Welfare

There is a lot of frustration from my District and I agree with you, on the inner workings of the Health and Welfare Department and how much money is spent in its direction. However, last week Frank Vandersloot stopped by my office. Many of you know him to be one of the most visible conservatives in Idaho and one with significant net worth from his company, Melaleuca. As you may have heard, Frank has spent at least a million dollars of his own money to stop unscrupulous debt collectors from preying of victims of our health care system.

He wanted to talk about legislation that will require health care facilities to provide a list of all bills to the patient’s insurance, within 30 days of the procedure. It is critically important that the patient and their insurance know this information in a short and efficient manner so they can make plans for what may be life changing financial challenges.

As it stands right now, some patients are getting bills trickling in for up to a year. And some are getting calls from debt collectors before they get the bill themselves. This is a major concern in Idaho’s healthcare system. Perhaps this will be one step in fixing the problem. Sounds like a reasonable approach, but more to come.

Can you hear me now? Here I am trying a new headset to help me better communicate with the reporters I talk to on a weekly basis. Thank you to all the media who have taken advantage of this weekly question and answer time. I have enjoyed working with you and creating open dialogue about what is taking place in the Statehouse. If anyone has question you would like answered on these calls, please email me at

Buy Idaho!

We celebrate local businesses this past week! Great companies filled all the floors of the Capitol! I support Buy Idaho and local business!