Among outdoor enthusiasts, the Pacific Northwest is known for its iconic salmon and steelhead that once thrived in the waters of the Columbia River Basin. At the turn of the 19th century approximately 10 to 16 million wild salmon and steelhead would return to the streams, rivers and tributar…

Insufficient broadband in rural Idaho is putting our students, businesses, and communities at a significant disadvantage. I am working hard to get more of this essential to the people living outside the major metro areas. Our government needs to work with businesses to take sound economic ac…

In a lot of ways, it’s been a rough year to be an Idahoan. In the last several months, citizens have had to fight to preserve their most basic constitutional rights.

Being an Idaho legislator is not a full-time job: it’s more than that. This Idaho Legislature convened Jan. 7 and adjourned sine die on April 11. The session lasted 95 days -- the third longest session in history. But, that was only part of our job working for the people of this state.

Some would say we live in an age of technological enlightenment because we have instant access to volumes of information at the tips of our fingers. I remember not too long ago that it would take days to read through stacks of books and Encyclopedia Britannica, the grandfather Wikipedia, to …

Over the last decade, we have experienced a digital revolution that sees people using the Internet to manage more of their daily lives.  Mobile applications, social media and search engines have become everyday tools, but their usage is accompanied by a shocking amount of hidden data collect…

In the past, I have written about tax season scams to try to help raise awareness so that Americans do not fall victim to fraud that robs people of their hard-earned money. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently alerted the public to romance scams that the commission reports has resulte…

When we think of what it means to be healthy, we often think of physical health--maintaining an optimal weight, eating well and not having any ailments slowing us down. However, the definition of “healthy” includes not just physical, but also mental and emotional well-being. Distressing stat…

A string of new Idaho laws is protecting our freedoms, making us safer, and helping our economy. July 1st is always a special day in the Gem State; it’s when most of the laws passed during the legislative session actually go into effect. It was a challenging year in the statehouse, but I wor…

Nearly everyone in Idaho has a friend, family member, or neighbor who has been impacted by the ongoing opioid crisis. Idahoans have spent years trying to figure out how to contend with the most addictive, widespread drugs in modern history. The opioid epidemic has become a pressing issue for…

Every July 4th we celebrate the establishment of our nation and the values that created it. The freedoms that our inspired founders affirmed in the Declaration of Independence, and upheld in our Constitution, are the guiding principles of our Republic.

In the 1980s, there was a brokerage firm called E.F. Hutton that had one of the better advertising slogans of the decade: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Believe it or not, the same is true of your voice when it comes to Medicaid expansion - Idaho’s greatest legislative achievement …

In Idaho, potatoes have long been the staple crop of our agricultural sector and economy. We are responsible for about 30 percent of the country’s total potato production. That production goes a long way in feeding the rest of the country, as potatoes are the leading vegetable crop and the s…

You may have seen a scary headline about measles recently. It’s been confirmed: there are two measles cases in Idaho, both from Latah County. This comes in the midst of the largest outbreak of measles in the country since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

“Ninety-seven percent of land in Custer County is state and federally owned and exempt from taxation,” explained Custer County Commissioner and Idaho Association of Counties Public Lands Committee Chairman Wayne Butts. “Counties and schools like ours can’t operate without federal forest payments.”

You were the real hero of the 2019 legislative session. You came to the statehouse more times than I can count armed with facts, personal stories, and courage to fight the legislation that would hurt your communities. We could not have passed good Idaho centered legislation or stopped damagi…

Our flag is a powerful image of our national strength and American principles.  The flag has stood on the Moon.  Determined American soldiers raised our flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima.  It was flown on buildings after the Sept. 11 attacks.  The coffins of our best and bravest, who paid t…

Congratulations to all students across Idaho who recently graduated from university or any work-force training program! Your hard work and dedication to advancing your education is one of the most invaluable resources to our state. The education that you have received represents your future …

Last November, 61 percent of voters expanded Medicaid for Idahoans who make too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to qualify for tax credits on the health exchange. I’ve been collecting the stories of Idahoans in the gap to help them share their share experiences of bei…

Idaho County property owners will be receiving their 2019 Assessment Notices next week. Like most of Idaho, Idaho County shows no signs of a depressed real estate market.

Four percent of the nation’s forested public wildlands remain undeveloped today. These landscapes are either designated wilderness or lands that qualify for designation. Many lands not protected as wilderness are called roadless areas. There are approximately 60 million acres of unprotected …

A new law passed this legislative session may allow Idahoans to have a larger voice in federal land management. This law, deemed the, “Federalism Bill,” appoints a group of legislators to help chart a better path for cooperative efforts between the federal government and its citizens. I have…

Spring brings new life and beauty to Idaho County. It is also the time that the board of trustees at Mountain View School District starts looking at our budget for the next year. Per the state constitution, funding for public schools is supposed to be provided from state tax collections, but…

On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress wrote what would prove to be one of the largest blank checks in our nation’s history.  The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against terrorists gave President Bush authority to attack the Taliban, the Sunni fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan and the…

When it comes to growing the economy, we often focus on job growth through starting a new business. However, there is also a lot to be said about job retention and growth through transitioning current businesses to the next generation.

Last year, nearly 10,000 Idaho high school seniors applied for admission to our state’s public post-secondary institutions. That fall, 2,600 recent graduates did not show up. That is why we have drafted legislation known as Idaho Promise to remove the barriers that prevent Idahoans from obta…

When Idaho’s founders drafted our state’s Constitution, they went to great pains not to forget the source of their authority—the people. While Idaho is set up like most other republican forms of government with three co-equal branches, it also provides a system of checks and balances by the …

    In the last three months, the Idaho Legislature has moved to grab power for itself, and done so despite the express will of Idaho voters.

    If the voters of Idaho don’t act quickly and decisively, the 2019 legislative session may go down as the year we all lost a cherished constitutional right: the right to take matters into our own hands when our elected leaders refuse.

    “Agriculture: Food for Life” is the theme for this year’s Ag Day – March 14. Our country’s farmers and ranchers work hard to provide food and clothing for our country and the world. Their dedication is an inspiration to us and to the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Without them, we …

    Fearing discrimination for their sexual orientation, some in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community have sought protection under Idaho’s Human Rights Act. Currently, the Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination against a person based on race, color, religion, sex, natio…

    On Feb. 6, 2019, Mountain View School District Board Chairman, Lot Smith, wrote an opinion in which he continues to misrepresent the facts regarding the school board’s unfair and disrespectful treatment of our teachers.

    On March 8th, Idaho and Lewis county Republicans will have our county Republican party “Lincoln Day Dinner.” From now through the end of April, nearly every county Republican party across Idaho will hold a celebratory event honoring Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President and the first Rep…

    The Mountain View School District Board of Trustees (the Board), has been approached by several members of our community asking questions about misleading information that is being circulated through our district by the Central Idaho Education Association (CIEA), the teacher’s union. The Boa…

    Throughout my professional career and as a state legislator, I’ve purposefully worked and advocated for positive change on behalf of all parties involved in the justice system in Idaho. Whether it’s serving on the Public Defense Reform and Justice Reinvestment committees or supporting the wo…

    The collection, protection and use of personally identifiable information by both the government and private companies deserves close scrutiny.  Americans are rightly concerned about the collection and use of their data, and how such data is secured and protected.

    Idaho’s salmon and steelhead populations are in serious decline and our wild runs are teetering on the brink of extinction. Spend a few hours in Idaho’s river towns and you will see that fishing businesses and outfitters are taking a hit from the lack of steelhead, while our state leaders ar…

    While Idaho had good intentions 26 years ago, it’s time we made a decision based on what we know today. Idaho’s mandatory minimums for drug crimes generate real injustice and expense, with little if any deterrence.

    These are all major decisions that I do not take lightly, because they are very important to north Idaho.

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