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Senator Crabtree addresses Grangeville chamber; Education, economy, suicide prevention among topics

Senator Carl Crabtree, Grangeville, talks about “legislative shenanigans” to members of the Grangeville Chamber of Commerce at its April 19 quarterly meeting.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Senator Carl Crabtree, Grangeville, talks about “legislative shenanigans” to members of the Grangeville Chamber of Commerce at its April 19 quarterly meeting.



— “I’m here to offer you some news and views – maybe heavy on the views,” smiled Senator Carl Crabtree, R, of Grangeville.

Crabtree spoke to about 15 people at the Grangeville Chamber of Commerce quarterly meeting Thursday, April 19, at Super 8.

Crabtree listed a variety of topics on a white board and invited attendees to check items of interest. He then went through those items first.

“Education is 62 percent of the state’s budget,” said Crabtree, who serves on the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee (J-FAC).

Crabtree explained that for every $4 the state of Idaho spends on education, the federal government kicks in $6.

He spoke a bit about different groups and individuals who want to cut educational spending, but said, “I don’t know about you, but if they were offering $6 for every $4 of my money personally, I’d be lined up at the trough.”

The state added $100 million to the educational budget this year, with $40 million of that to go toward the career ladder, he explained.

“Idaho is 49th in the U.S. on teacher pay and benefits. It’s kind of difficult to attract and keep the best educators when you’re at the bottom of the barrel,” he emphasized.

Crabtree added he is for offering non-discretionary funds to school districts.

“I’m of the mind the people in each district just may be the best at deciding what their schools need,” he said.

He touched on Idaho’s economy, saying Idaho is rated second highest in the nation as the best state to own a business in and next year’s personal growth income (on average) is expected to go up 4 percent.

“Unemployment is at less than 2 percent, though in our district it’s at about 6 percent,” he said.

Crabtree took some time to focus on mental health in Idaho.

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Senator Carl Crabtree discusses suicide prevention as (L-R) Robin Courtright, Phyliss Pottala and Chuck Pottala listen.

“Our district – which reaches from Pollock to Sandpoint – has the highest suicide rate of those 45 and younger,” he shook his head. “We have to do something about that.”

He mentioned as possible causes the area’s isolation, lack of mental health care, poverty and large gun ownership.

“Those really are mind-blowing statistics,” said meeting attendee Todd Marek, Northwest Insurance/Camas Professional Counseling.

The legislature does now allow schools to teach suicide prevention, Crabtree added.

“What we’ve previously been doing has not been successful – we need to take different routes to prevention,” he said.

He explained the need for some Idaho Health and Welfare changes to measure success and see what works in this area as well.

Crabtree also touched on broadband Internet across the state, Idaho Opportunity scholarships, mastery-based education, tax relief, property taxes for education (looking for alternative, more fair funding) and city building codes.

“I really appreciate the chance to visit with you and would be happy to do so anytime,” said Crabtree, who was still recovering from a hospital stay associated with being bucked from a horse.

“I had been tied up in the session for three months, so I thought I would get everything done at home in one day,” he joked. “It didn’t work.”

To reach Crabtree call 208-983-8188 or e-mail ccrabtree@senate.idaho.gov.



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