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ABOUT OUR SITE: 43rd State Blues: Democracy for Idaho is a website of, by and for Democrats and those who lean towards Democratic, progressive causes. If you do not fit this broad category, or are simply anti-Democrat, we suggest you find a website more suitable to your ideology. Our house, our rules. Enjoy!
Nels Mitchell came out strong in his campaign to become Idaho’s next United States Senator. At least, two important factors favor Mr. Mitchell: 1) James Risch has done virtually nothing in the past five years to help Idaho and 2) Mitchell is a tremendously well-qualified, hard-working, articulate person who will put Idaho families and businesses first.
Mitchell (Check out his Nels Mitchell for United States Senate website and like him on Facebook) made his announcement Monday before a crowd of supporters gathered at the Boise Train Depot. Since then, he has traveled to Twin Falls and sent out two press releases blasting Risch for his very bad case of Potomac Fever.
Here’s some coverage of Mitchell’s announcement in the Idaho Statesman:
Nels Mitchell vows to beat ‘career politician’ Idaho Sen. Risch
Posted on January 14, 2014 by Dan Popkey
Democrat Nels Mitchell blamed Republican Sen. Jim Risch for Idaho’s low-wage economy and said that after 37 years in elected office he puts perks ahead of the interests of Idaho.
“I run to replace a career politician with a citizen legislator,” said Mitchell, a first-time candidate who announced his campaign at the Boise Depot Tuesday. “I run to help restore the vision of our founding fathers. Jim Risch has lost touch with the concept of public service, and, more importantly, with the people of Idaho. It is time for him to retire.”
Mitchell, 60, said he would serve a single six-year term if elected. “I will be beholden to no one but the people of Idaho,” he said.
Mitchell faulted Risch for Idaho’s ranking highest in the country for the proportion of minimum-wage workers and ranking 50th in income. “Someone has not been minding the store and that someone is Jim Risch,” he said.
An echo came in May 2013 when (Risch) told the Idaho Statesman, “You know, I really enjoy this job. I really like this job. Governor will wear you down. You can’t do that job permanently. This you can do ad infinitum.” An accompanying news article described him as “remarkably passive about the failure of Congress to deal with the country’s problems,” and “to hear him wax eloquent about life in the Senate makes one wonder if he risks being branded as a dilettante.”
Repeated news articles about his and his staff’s regular trips abroad (he is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, so in his personal case there’s actually some call for them) and some talk that he’s not been spending a lot of time in Idaho or with his base, could be a basis for reviving some of those old critiques, on a larger scale.
Mitchell has a cool demeanor (though he’s been a federal litigator, which suggests something about what’s beneath that) and the positioning of an outsider, and he’s offered a promise to serve but one term. What appeal may that have?
There are politicians who develop a teflon surface, and those who don’t. The second kind can survive too. But put the wrong set of circumstances together, and surprises can happen.
Who is Nels Mitchell?
Nels Mitchell is a Westerner through and through. He was born in Seattle and raised in Idaho. His parents moved to Boise in 1968. Nels and his two brothers attended read more »
It is not easy to raise a family and find accessible activities that are culturally enriching here in the nations lowest-wage state. That is why I was delighted to find out that some great civil rights films and discussions, for people on any budget, are coming to Boise, Idaho!
To begin, “The Abolitionists.” will show at 6:30 p.m. on Jan 22 in Boise State University's Student Union Bishop Barnwell Room. The “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” Film Series presents the story of abolitionist allies Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Brown and Angelina Grimké. The film will be followed by a facilitated discussion. FREE. Part of the MLK Living Legacy Celebration.
American Experience: The Abolitionists. Radicals. Agitators. Troublemakers. Liberators. Called many names, the abolitionists tore the nation apart in order to create a more perfect union. Men and women, black and white, Northerners and Southerners, poor and wealthy-these passionate anti-slavery activists fought body and soul in the most important civil rights crusade in American history. What began as a pacifist movement fueled by persuasion and prayer became a fiery and furious struggle that forever changed the nation. Bringing to life the intertwined stories of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimk+ª, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown, The Abolitionists takes place during some of the most violent and contentious decades in American history. It reveals how the movement shaped history by exposing the fatal flaw of a republic founded on liberty for some and bondage for others. In the face of personal risks-beatings, imprisonment, even death-abolitionists held fast to their cause, laying the civil rights groundwork for the future and raising weighty constitutional and moral questions that are still with us today. Directed by Rob Rapley, The Abolitionists interweaves drama with traditional documentary storytelling, and stars Richard Brooks, Neal Huff, Jeanine Serralles, Kate Lyn Sheil, and T. Ryder Smith, vividly bringing to life the epic struggles of the men and women who ended slavery.
“Slavery by Another Name” will be in the same room, same time on January 23. The PBS documentary film is based on the book by Douglas Blackmon.
Slavery By Another Name challenges one of America s most cherished assumptions the belief that slavery in the US ended with Abraham Lincoln s Emancipation Proclamation by telling the harrowing story of how in the South, a new system of involuntary servitude took its place with shocking force.
From May until December 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives many endured savage beatings and imprisonment for simply traveling together on buses as they journeyed through the Deep South. Determined to test and challenge segregated travel facilities, the Freedom Riders were greeted with mob violence and bitter racism, sorely testing their belief in non-violent activism. From award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, Freedom Riders features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters; the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand. Based on Raymond Arsenault s acclaimed book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, the two-hour documentary comes to PBS in May 2011, marking the 50th anniversary of the historic Rides.
All movies will be shown at 6:30 PM in the Barnwell Room, SUB. FREE. Parking is also FREE. In the Boise State University garage, use Coupon Code: 20149778
Each screening will feature a facilitated discussion at the conclusion of the screening being led by a faculty and/or community member familiar with the content of the film.
The series is shared on behalf of the “Bridging Cultures” initiative of the National Endowments of Humanities via the Gilder-Lehman Institute.
The Idaho Democratic Party is honored to welcome United States Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) as the Keynote Speaker of their flagship event, the Frank & Bethine Church Gala.
Tom Udall is the current senior Senator of New Mexico. Tom began serving as United States Senator in 2009, after two decades of public service as U.S. Representative and New Mexico’s State Attorney General.
Throughout his career, Tom has been a strong advocate for the hardworking families, for a clean energy economy and the environment, for affordable and accessible health care, and for our nation’s veterans. He has also been a leader in the fight for campaign finance reform and for making government more accountable to the American people, not the special interests.
Tom earned his undergraduate degree at Prescott College and obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated from the University of New Mexico Law School in 1977. Tom then served as a Law Clerk to Chief Justice Oliver Seth of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and became a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s criminal division. As Chief Counsel to the New Mexico Department of Health and Environment, he also fought for stronger environmental and health protections.
Idaho Democratic Party's Frank & Bethine Church Gala~ 20th Anniversary!
Friday, March 14, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM (PDT) CLICK HERE TO ORDER TICKETS
These experiences helped Tom realize he could personally make a difference through elected office. In 1990, Tom was elected New Mexico Attorney General. He made fighting DWI and domestic violence a priority. Working with the Legislature on both sides of the aisle, he pushed for tougher laws against offenders. Tom also fought to protect consumers, especially senior citizens, from rampant telemarketing and other forms of fraud. Additionally, he made ethics a trademark issue, increasing transparency in government and prosecuting corrupt politicians, even members of his own party. In 1994, Tom was elected to a second term as Attorney General.
In 1998, Tom was elected to represent the 3rd Congressional District of New Mexico in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House, he wrote and passed legislation to establish a national renewable electricity standard, which would spur the creation of good jobs, reinvigorate our economy, and reduce global warming emissions.
Tom serves on five committees in the United State Senate: Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works (EPW), Indian Affairs, and Rules and Administration.
As a new member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Tom has a voice in federal funding for departments, agencies and other programs. Like Idaho, New Mexico has a large federal presence with its labs, military bases, agriculture and public lands, and he understand the importance of the programs that support those industries. Tom is committed to working for a balanced fiscal policy that will address our nation’s debt and invest in long-term economic growth.
On the Foreign Relations Committee, Tom is charged with congressional oversight of U.S. operations and programs beyond our borders, aiming to keep America safe, promote democracy and foster international development and conservation. He opposed the Iraq War from the start and has been a leading proponent for an accelerated transition in the Afghanistan War to an Afghan-led effort.
In his role on EPW, Tom continues his important work on energy and environmental issues. On the Indian Affairs Committee, he carries on his longtime mission of helping shape the unique matters concerning Native Americans, including economic development, trust responsibilities, land management, Indian education and health programs. Through the Rules Committee, Tom has consistently pushed for filibuster and campaign finance reform.
Born to Stewart and Lee Udall in Tucson, Arizona, on May 18, 1948, Tom comes from a family known for its commitment to public service and fighting for western values. Tom has many family members that have served as in Congress, as judges, in legislatures and mayors all over the West. His father served in Congress and as the Secretary of the Interior and his cousin, Mark Udall is currently the U.S. Senator for Colorado. His father and his uncle, Mo Udall, both served in Congress with Senator Frank Church.
Tom is married to Jill Cooper and they have one grown daughter. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, fly-fishing, mountain climbing and staying involved in his community.
The 2014 Frank & Bethine Church Gala marks the 20th Anniversary of the event. The Gala kicks off the election season and a weekend full of workshops, other events and camaraderie of Idaho Democrats.
Reposted by permission of the Idaho Democratic Party
"I am not a crook" - Richard Nixon (1973)
"Read my lips: no new taxes." - George H.W. Bush (1988)
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman." - Bill Clinton (1998)
"My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. - George W. Bush (05/01/2003)" "I am not a bully." - Chris Christie (2014)
Here is a selection of fun thoughts on New Jersey's Republican Governor, drawn from the Twitterverse:
Christie: "My trainer had left, I was getting ready to get in the shower...."
Idaho Democratic lawmakers made a powerful argument for Idaho families in their annual Address to Idaho. They also noted that Gov. Otter was long on talk and short on action that helps Idaho families.
The governor failed to acknowledge that our status as 50th in wages for household incomes and average income hurts Idaho families. Rather the governor continued his legacy of giving handouts to wealth, well-connected organizations and donors at the expense of the rest of us.
Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett and House Minority Leader John Rusche called to end to 20 years of GOP policies that have devastated Idaho families:
“Hard working Idaho families are struggling with an unfairly high cost of living. In many cases, the jobs available are part-time, low wage jobs without benefits. We are dismayed that Idaho is now 50th in the nation for wages. Our public schools, which open the doors of success to so many young people, are suffering from years of legislative neglect resulting in rising local property taxes that hurt working families, businesses and the elderly.”
“Idaho’s public schools have seen deep cuts. The Majority claims that these cuts were unfortunate results
of a national recession. We strongly disagree. These cuts were choices. Intentional and deliberate.”
The entire Address to Idaho that Idaho Democratic Leaders gave Tuesday is printed below:
Address to Idaho from Idaho Democratic Leaders
Welcome and thank you for coming.
We are honored to once again be here in the Idaho Capitol doing the work of “We the People.”
We would like to take a moment and thank our veterans and active military members for their service to our country. We would also like to take a moment and remember Bowe Bergdahl who remains a prisoner of war. We offer our prayers for his health and his return home to his family.
We also want to note that we believe that Idaho could do better in recognizing the debt that we owe our veterans for serving their country. Our veterans struggle to find employment, adequate health care and the mental health services they need. Idaho Democratic lawmakers pledge to support veterans and their families through our work in the Legislature and in our communities.
As we begin this session, we want to take a moment to remind you of the work we are building on from last year. For the first time in a long time, we found Republican colleagues who were willing to put partisan politics aside and cooperate to find the best solutions for Idaho families. It is our hope that we can have the same spirit of cooperation this year.
Given that some in the Majority party will have opposition in the Primary election, some predict a “legislature lite”, where many of the major issues and decisions will either be deferred or even buried in the rush to get out of town.
We believe it is our responsibility to put the people’s priorities first. We believe that decades of one-party rule have resulted in a system that is rigged against regular Idaho families.
Hard working Idaho families are struggling with an unfairly high cost of living. In many cases, the jobs available are part-time, low wage jobs without benefits. We are dismayed that Idaho is now 50th in the nation for wages. Our public schools, which open the doors of success to so many young people, are suffering from years of legislative neglect resulting in rising local property taxes that hurt working families, businesses and the elderly.
Every decision Idaho Democrats make this session will be guided by whether we believe that Idaho’s families and small businesses will benefit. We will work hard to ensure that our freedoms are protected, that opportunities are created and that we are passing a strong legacy onto our children. We want Idaho to be a place where our children can choose to live and work and raise a family. read more »
The past year kicked off with a powerful legislative session where Idaho Democrats played pivotal roles in saving counties from losing crucial funding for their roads, safety services and schools to another reckless proposed tax giveaway from Gov. Otter to his corporate benefactors. Otter’s priority remained to continue decades of GOP economic policies that harm Idaho’s families and communities.
We may have been running full speed in 2013, but we’re just going to grab another gear and go faster in 2014.
Idaho Democrats have incredible candidates, with more planning to announce their runs in within the next month or so.
A governor’s candidate, A.J. Balukoff, had Gov. Otter playing defense when Balukoff’s candidacy was still a rumor. Anyone else notice how Otter suddenly switched his seven year priority of tax cuts for his corporate cronies to an election-year conversion professing love for edcuation? We have other great candidates
as well, such as Rep. Shirley Ringo, who will give a Idahoans a choice between a self-promoting Tea Party Congressman versus someone who actually cares about working families.
Stay tuned to this website and the IDP Facebook page for updates on our Idaho Democratic candidates and the work of Idaho Democratic legislators.
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012: "Caldwell Republican nominee for District 10 state representative Brandon Hixon said the five misdemeanors he received by age 21 were youthful indiscretions that don’t represent who he is today," the Idaho Press Tribune reported. "Hixon, who turns 31 Oct. 26, also has 15 infractions, mostly for traffic violations, between 1998 and 2009, according to court records."
"This REALLY comes as no surprise to me... I've said, for a long time, that Brandon Hixon was an extremely bad choice made by Idaho District 10 voters."
He went on to say that "the Boise Guardian just provides proof and confirms my thoughts."
The Idaho Legislature will be in town shortly with elected representatives deciding how and where to spend all the tax money and other revenue collected by the state. One of those 'spenders' will be Brandon Hixon, State Representative for Caldwell’s District 10. Based on public records, Rep. Hixon has an apparent history of stiffing creditors. Seems the good voters of Canyon County are plagued with deadbeat politicos eager to spend their public money while unable to manage their personal finances.
The CALDWELL GUARDIAN reports the lawmaker’s name showed up in legal ads published in the Idaho Press Tribune. No doubt Hixon will explain the run of bad luck to legacy media when they call. On page page C12 of Friday’s Idaho Press Tribune a legal ad claims Brandon Hixon of 919 North Plateau Drive, Caldwell has not made his house payment of $1,625.80 since July.
Caldwell GUARDIAN editor Paul Alldredge broke the story and noted, “A quick check of today’s Press Tribune Legal Notices on the right hand side of the page gave the details of this latest financial difficulty of Rep. Hixon who is now more than $10,000 behind in his mortgage and late fees to Wells Fargo Bank.”
"Ironically, a guy with bad debt is seldom hired in law ENFORCEMENT because the theory is he would be susceptible to accepting cash from strangers," Marmon continued. "We all know that would never happen with a law MAKER."
With a recent history among members of rape, indecent exposure/sexual harassment, fudging travel expenses, and a non-resident senator, failure to pay $10,000 to the bank is really small change for the Idaho Legislature.
Oh, I can hear the excuses now... and he'll probably get away with them just as he did his arrest record. I am happy to say that I didn't vote for him the first time or any other time. The writing was on the wall.
The Idaho Press Tribune had it right in its endorsement of Hixon's Democratic opponent, Travis Manning:
Republican Brandon Hixon has been a good party worker, even leading the charge for the county GOP caucus.
But in a period where elected officials have disgraced the Grand Old Party — particularly in Caldwell where then-Sen. John McGee twice brought shame to the Legislature, and a long and expensive legal battle (on the taxpayers’ dime) involving former Canyon County Prosecutor John Bujak, voters may be more inclined to vote for candidates with untarnished records.
When answering this pre-election question: What standard should elected officials be held to, Hixon said this: “Much higher standard than average, with the understanding that even elected officials are imperfect humans.” ... Many people have a few mistakes that could haunt them if running for office, but only one candidate – 31-year-old Brandon Hixon – has five misdemeanors, 15 infractions and three civil actions for financial failings. Hixon says his court history is not a reflection of what will happen in the future. But let’s face it, his standard of expectations is low. That’s not the way to start a political career.
District 18 Democratic leaders sent three names to the governor for him to choose from to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by former Sen. Branden Durst. Ward-Engelking got the nod. Now her House seat is vacant. Interested applicants can follow this link and apply by Dec. 24: Click Here To Apply.
Idaho's public lands mean many things to many people. One great memory in the Idaho woods for the IDP Chair is the annual Christmas tree hunt. Our GOP leaders are threatening these kinds of traditions in an underhanded move to sell off our public lands. Read more.
U.S. Senators Risch and Crapo voted in the minority this week to reject a budget deal and damage our nation's and our state's economies. Thankfully, we have independent newspapers in this state who are letting people know. Read more.
Better late than never. GOP Rep. Mark Patterson resigned this week. His supporters--U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, former House Speaker Lawerence Denney and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle--have stayed silent.
Leif Skyving literally fighting for you! See Leif's Facebook page for more photos of of him in action.
"After a long, testy debate last week, the Caldwell School Board voted 3-2 to retain its membership with the Idaho School Board Association," reads an editorial in the September 18 Idaho Press Tribune.
Those who follow the Caldwell School Board know Skyving is also among the board’s more liberal members. He ran as a Democrat for a seat in the Idaho Senate against former Sen. John McGee and staunchly opposed key components of Idaho Schools Superintendent Tom Luna’s Students Come First education plan. ...
So when the ISBA encouraged Idaho lawmakers earlier this year to adopt key elements of failed Proposition 1 — limiting conditions of teachers’ salary contracts to one year, giving districts permission to reduce salaries and shorten teacher contracts, and allowing school boards to operate under the district’s “last, best offer” if negotiations stall — Skyving was not amused. He and Amy Rojas voted to end Caldwell’s affiliation with ISBA, and he cited the endorsement of that legislation as a major reason. ...
If Skyving and other board members believe they can get by without ISBA services, they should come to a rational, deliberate, thoughtful conclusion and end their affiliation. But terse, emotional arguments based on policy disagreements shouldn’t play a role in the ultimate verdict.
I was disappointed to see the Press-Tribune editorial board on Sept. 18 question my motives for making a motion to save the Caldwell School district $10,000 per year by withdrawing our membership from the Idaho School Board Association.
Turning the editorial in to a partisan issue by using politically charged phrases such as “Skyving is one of the more liberal members of the school board and has run as a Democrat against John McGee,” the IPT claimed that I made my decision on a “rash” and “emotional” basis because I was known to oppose the parts of the defeated “Luna Laws” that the ISBA had helped usher back in using lobbyists paid for with tax dollars.
Had the editorial board members actually attended the school board meetings in question, they would have heard my complete statements. Yes, I was opposed to the “Luna Laws,” as were the majority of voters, and yes, the ISBA’s use of taxpayer dollars to nullify the will of the people did offend me.
They also would’ve heard me say that this action had: “awakened me to take a close look at what we are paying the ISBA and what we are getting in return” and that when I found we were paying $10,000 per year for services that we already receive through two law firms that we employ, I believed we could use that money for something that would actually benefit the kids.
As a trustee, I don’t see saving the Caldwell school district $10,000 as a “liberal” or “conservative” issue; I see it as common sense.
To further the irony, the reason the IPT gave for not endorsing my candidacy when I ran for state senate was that I opposed the state of Idaho borrowing $900 million and paying a whopping $50 million per year in interest for road construction. The IPT did not agree with me that we should “pay as we go” so as not to burden Idaho taxpayers with this huge debt and interest payments.
Being fiscally conservative seems too “liberal” a concept for them to accept.
And in true tag-team form, local educator Bob Solomon hopped in the ring today:
The IPT editorial board had no right to personally tar Caldwell School Board member Leif Skyving with those terrible words: “Democrat” and “liberal.” Had they reviewed the agendas for the last several months, they would realize that a long-planned policy decision was being made after strong debate.
Skyving pointed out that the ISBA “services” had not been used for over two years, that some of the “services” were duplicative, and that the $10,000 could be used for other pressing needs. Sounds rather conservative to me.
Then he proposed (what audacity!) that the board adopt “benchmarks” (it refused) by which to evaluate whether the board’s experience with the ISBA helped the citizens of Caldwell. Note: everything in education today is evaluated by benchmarks.
So in what way does it make sense for the IPT to attribute partisanship to a public servant, serving in a non-partisan office without remuneration, who questions excessive government expenses and insists on accountability? In the old days this was called “good government.”
For more information see facebook.com/ILikeLeif and be sure to support and vote for this terrific candidate for District 10!
"Working hard to lock down the baby vote!" - Leif Skyving
If you throw me from the window, I'll leave a grieving wife. Bring me back, but through the door, and you'll see someone giving life! What am I?
If you want the answer, simply make a contribution to the IDLCC Victory Fund by CLICKING HERE. The answer will come to you in our thank you note for your contribution! Thanks for your support of Democrats in Idaho.
IDLCC is on your side.
Senator Elliot Werk
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Sen. Branden Durst’s recent op-ed critiquing Superintendent Luna’s “end around” the Idaho legislature, and his subsequent analysis of GOP political genealogy, has merit, especially as it relates to a newly minted news organization called Idaho Education News (IEN).
Funded by The Albertson Foundation, IEN started seven months ago in order to advance the school privatization agenda of Chairman Joe Scott. They bought the Boise State University name, where IEN is housed, simply by donating millions of dollars. Strategically, Albertson hired away established reporters Kevin Richert, Jennifer Swindell and Clark Corbin to do its messaging work, under the auspices of their new identity. Albertson uses the B.S.U. trademark as a PR gimmick to expedite credibility within Idaho.
Albertson and IEN blur the arena of ethical journalism, which situation is different from Boise State’s relationship with National Public Radio, where Boise State Public Radio, an NPR affiliate, is housed. In this case, NPR is an already-established news entity with decades-long experience and an international reputation for quality and unbiased reporting. IEN is far from achieving NPR’s status.
While I wouldn’t say IEN produces “pseudo journalism,” as Sen. Durst suggests, I will say they have work to do. If IEN is not careful, they will be seen as the propaganda arm of Scott and Albertson, much like IdahoReporter.com is seen as the propaganda machine of The Idaho Freedom Foundation and Executive Director Wayne Hoffman (and whomever else funds the IFF, as Hoffman refuses to publicly disclose its corporate master).
I queried Betsy Russell, president of the Capitol Correspondents Association, as to why IEN received full press credentials as an upstart news organization and IdahoReporter has not. Her response, that “All three of their reporters are B.S.U. employees. The grant from the Albertson Foundation went to B.S.U. No one involved with the operation is involved in lobbying, which is key to credentialing. That is why IdahoReporter.com doesn’t qualify; it is a lobbying organization headed by a registered lobbyist.”
In a recent IEN article, cross-published by the Idaho Press-Tribune on July 19 titled, “Nampa, Vallivue among districts chosen for Idaho Leads program,” such a disclosure was not placed. Whenever IEN reports on projects associated with The Albertson Foundation it is, essentially, reporting on itself. Not to disclose such a conflict of interest is entirely unethical. The Idaho Press-Tribune, and news outlets statewide, need to be cognizant.
While IEN does a decent job allowing for a diverse cadre of op-eds, they have much work to do regarding selection of news topics and the angle and trajectory from which they report on these topics.
IEN reporters tend to report fairly on education issues occurring within Idaho state government (legislature, Idaho state school board, Idaho Department of Education, and within a handful of school districts). However. Idaho’s public schools, teachers and students are doing amazing things, especially in the current political environment rife with policymakers who despise Idaho’s public school system, its teachers, and its outcomes. IEN needs desperately to broaden its content and reporting to include the many successes occurring within Idaho’s public schools – not just charter schools – both large and small, across the state, especially rural schools, and especially regarding traditionally underserved populations.
This bias towards charter schools and against public schools casts a long shadow across IEN’s early body of work.
Finally, IEN has not examined how the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is drafting many of Idaho’s so called education reform laws behind closed doors with legislators, lobbyists and politicians at the table – but not the public – which practice circumvents democracy.
Idaho Education News needs to report on the elephant in the room.
Travis Manning is executive director of The Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho and can be reached at email@example.com.
Idaho State Rep. Mat Erpelding will raise money for the Idaho Redside Foundation this August. He will attend to hike the nearly 1,000 mile Idaho Centennial Trail in 40 days. He hopes to raise money for a nonprofit cause. He is also attention to Idaho’s rural economies and the value of our public lands.
Did you know that in 2012 the Idaho Outdoor Recreation Industry reported $6.3 billion in sales? That compares to $7.7 billion in sales for Idaho’s crops and livestock. Everyone knows how important agriculture is to Idaho’s rural communities. Few understand that Idaho’s Outdoor Recreation Industry, which is heavily reliant on public lands,
has similar impact.
The Idaho’s Redside Foundation is a new organization that supports Idaho’s guiding and outfitting workers. These workers are often Idaho’s only ambassadors to visitors from out of state. Yet, this working population struggles with the ups and downs of seasonal work. Redside offers health care assistance, financial counseling, and much more to these adventurous, brave, and hearty workers.
Mat believes that Idaho’s rural communities benefit economically and socially from the commercial outdoor recreation industry, and that guiding and outfitting are integral to long-term economic wellbeing in Idaho. Therefore, Mat strongly believes in Redside’s mission to preserve the health and vitality of Idaho’s commercial guiding community.
Donate now to support Mat’s ambitious goal and spread awareness of The Redside Foundation:
A little more about Mat…
Mat Erpelding is a high-altitude climbing guide, an educator, a business owner, and a member of the Idaho House of Representatives. In 1993, Mat moved to Idaho to attend Idaho State University, and now lives in Boise. A vibrant and healthy community with exceptional access to wildlands drew Mat to Boise, and it is why he loves Idaho.
Mat is a co-owner of Experiential Adventures, which he founded in 2004. Experiential Adventures LLC specializes in leadership development, group facilitation, and teaching collaboration using experiential education as its foundation. EA has grown over the years to include clients such as the military, higher education institutions, and corporations seeking to improve their organizational culture.
Until December 2012, Mat was an instructor at the College of Western Idaho Dept. of Physical Education, specializing in training teachers to use experiential education in the classroom. Mat is an adjunct faculty member in the Leadership Studies Minor at Boise State University.Mat has also worked in the Division of Student Affairs at different colleges and universities including Boise State University, California State University, Chico, Evergreen State College, and Texas Tech University. Mat recently co-edited a textbook for outdoor leadership programs called Outdoor Program Administration.
In addition to being elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2012, Mat has served as the Vice Chair of the Ada County Democrats, and was named “Activist of the Year” by the Idaho Democratic Party at the 2012 Frank Church Banquet. Mat understands the challenges faced by Idaho legislators. He worked hard to support the members of both the house and senate by organizing and preparing the 2012 Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint during the legislative
session. He has pledged to devote much of his career to public service to help build sustainable urban and rural communities in Idaho.
Studies Minor at Boise State University. Mat has also worked in the Division of Student Affairs at different colleges and universities including Boise State University, California State University, Chico, Evergreen State College, and Texas Tech University. Mat recently co-edited a textbook for outdoor leadership programs called Outdoor Program Administration.
He is the Past President of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE), and in 2006 was awarded the Jim Rennie Leadership Award for outstanding service and dedication to the Association. In 2010, Mat was awarded the Wilderness Education Association’s Instructor of the year for bringing innovative and substantial curriculum improvements to the organization. He ranks among the Idaho Business Review’s “40 Most Accomplished Under 40.”
As a high-altitude mountain guide, Mat has reached the 20,320 ft summit of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in four out of five attempts while helping more than twenty clients reach the top as well. Mat approaches mountaineering much as Willi Unsoeld did as a member of the first American Everest expedition in 1963. Willi said, “The final test for me of the legitimacy of the [mountaineering] experience is ‘How well does your experience of the sacred in nature enable you to cope more effectively with the problems of mankind when you come back to the city?’” Mat’s passion for wilderness has shaped his belief that civic engagement is essential to living in our community.
In addition to being elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2012, Mat has served as the Vice Chair of the Ada County Democrats, and was named “Activist of the Year” by the Idaho Democratic Party at the 2012 Frank Church Banquet. Mat understands the challenges faced by Idaho legislators. He worked hard to support the members of both the house and senate by organizing and preparing the 2012 Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint during the legislative session. He has pledged to devote much of his career to public service to help build sustainable urban and rural communities in Idaho.
Last year, 93 percent of the nation's growth was African American, Asian, and Latino. The other seven percent were white immigrants. Republicans are losing every single one of those groups by wide margins.
A party that wants to keep getting elected would do something about this.
House Republican leadership’s outreach to the Hispanic community ran smack into a tea party wall on Wednesday.
Outside the Capitol, a tea-party-fueled rally on immigration put the spotlight on the dilemma facing Speaker John A. Boehner. The Ohio Republican met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Wednesday and hopes to cure his party’s huge demographic challenge with Hispanics by passing an immigration overhaul this year. But the tea party energy on display outside the Capitol, which catapulted him into power in 2010, has turned on the speaker.
The contrast was on full display at an ill-timed news conference held by GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington outside the Capitol in the House Triangle, competing with the larger, daylong anti-immigration-bill news conference and rally on the East Front.
McMorris Rodgers had gathered faith-based leaders of the Latino community on Capitol Hill to, she said, talk about “our shared goals for America” with a half-dozen of her colleagues as part of a larger outreach effort.
Deaths exceeded births among non-Hispanic white Americans for the first time in at least a century, according to new census data, a benchmark that heralds profound demographic change.
There was still a net increase in non-Hispanic white people because of, ironically, immigration. But by railing against immigrants, Republicans are pissing those white people off too.
These developments were unexpected.
The disparity between deaths and births in the year that ended last July surprised experts. They expected that the aging white population would eventually shrink, as it has done in many European countries, but not for another decade or so.
So we're 10 years ahead of schedule of the extinction of the white race, or the "demographic winter" as the white supremacists see it. Boy will this give them reason to freak out even further! And you want more irony? Demographers speculate that the reason for the accelerated timeline is ... people have no money.
He attributed the precipitous shift in part to the recession [...]
The transition will mean that “today’s racial and ethnic minorities will no longer be dependent on older whites for their economic well-being,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. In fact, the situation may be reversed. “It makes more vivid than ever the fact that we will be reliant on younger minorities and immigrants for our future demographic and economic growth,” he said.
The viability of programs like Social Security and Medicare, Dr. Frey said, “will be reliant on the success of waves of young Hispanics, Asians and blacks who will become the bulwark of our labor force.” The issues of minorities, he added, “will hold greater sway than ever before.”
Known as Navajo Code Talkers, they were young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of WWII. At a time when America's best cryptographers were falling short, these modest sheepherders and farmers were able to fashion the most ingenious and successful code in military history. They drew upon their proud warrior tradition to brave the dense jungles of Guadalcanal and the exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima. Serving with distinction in every major engagement of the Pacific theater from 1942-1945, their unbreakable code played a pivotal role in saving countless lives and hastening the war's end.
This stirring young adult tale recounts how a group of Navajo marines came to become major players in WWII victory in the face of horrendous racially biased treatment.
After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue.
In the measured tones of a Native American storyteller, Bruchac assumes the persona of a Navajo grandfather telling his grandchildren about his World War II experiences. Protagonist Ned Begay starts with his early schooling at an Anglo boarding school, where the Navajo language is forbidden, and continues through his Marine career as a "code talker," explaining his long silence until "de-classified" in 1969. Begay's lifelong journey honors the Navajos and other Native Americans in the military, and fosters respect for their culture. Bruchac's gentle prose presents a clear historical picture of young men in wartime, island hopping across the Pacific, waging war in the hells of Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and Iwo Jima. Nonsensational and accurate, Bruchac's tale is quietly inspiring, even for those who have seen Windtalkers, or who have read such nonfiction works as Nathan Aaseng's Navajo Code Talkers (Walker, 1992), Kenji Kawano's Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers (Northland, 1990), or Deanne Durrett's Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers (Facts On File, 1998). For those who've read none of the above, this is an eye-opener. - School Library Journal
Bruchac is a highly acclaimed Abenaki children's book author, poet, novelist and storyteller, as well as a scholar of Native American culture. Coauthor with Michael Caduto of the bestselling Keepers of the Earth series, Bruchac's poems, articles and stories have appeared in over 500 publications, from Akwesasne Notes and American Poetry Review to National Geographic and Parabola. He has authored more than 50 books for adults and children.
Code talkers were people who used obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now usually associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native-American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular there were approximately 400-500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages. Code talkers transmitted these messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built upon their native languages. Their service improved communications in terms of speed of encryption at both ends in front line operations during World War II.
The name code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific Theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Choctaw Indians serving in the U.S. Army during World War I. These soldiers are referred to as Choctaw code talkers.
Other Native American code talkers were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Cherokee, Choctaw, Lakota, Meskwaki, and Comanche soldiers. Soldiers of Basque ancestry were used for code talking by the U.S. Marines during World War II in areas where other Basque speakers were not expected to be operating.
Choctaws in training in World War I for coded radio and telephone transmissions
Six-year-old Ned Begay leaves his Navajo home for boarding school, where he learns the English language and American ways. At 16, he enlists in the U.S. Marines during World War II and is trained as a code talker, using his native language to radio battlefield information and commands in a code that was kept secret until 1969. Rooted in his Navajo consciousness and traditions even in dealing with fear, loneliness, and the horrors of the battlefield, Ned tells of his experiences in Hawaii, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The book, addressed to Ned's grandchildren, ends with an author's note about the code talkers as well as lengthy acknowledgments and a bibliography. The narrative pulls no punches about war's brutality and never adopts an avuncular tone. Not every section of the book is riveting, but slowly the succession of scenes, impressions, and remarks build to create a solid, memorable portrayal of Ned Begay. Even when facing complex negative forces within his own country, he is able to reach into his traditional culture to find answers that work for him in a modern context. Readers who choose the book for the attraction of Navajo code talking and the heat of battle will come away with more than they ever expected to find. - Booklist
"They were a small band of warriors who created an unbreakable code from the ancient language of their people and changed the course of modern history." read more »
If you’re familiar with Black children’s book publishing, then you might know why Just Us Books was founded. Parents Wade and Cheryl Hudson were tired of searching for books that featured little brown boys and girls, and coming up with the same handful of titles. So they combined their experience in writing, marketing and art direction and launched Just Us Books in 1988 to publish children’s books that celebrate the diversity of Black history, culture and experiences, according to the company's website.
Raising their two children in Northern NJ, Wade and Cheryl found it difficult to find quality Black-interest books for children outside of Black History month. The couple decided to fill the void themselves, and went to work developing their own children's books. But publisher after publisher turned the couple down, some outwardly doubting the viability of the Black children's book market. After founding their own publishing company, with their signature brand AFRO-BETSR, the company's success quickly proved doubters wrong. This year Just Us Books celebrates its 25th anniversary.
From the start the company was dedicated to ensuring that these books would be available throughout the year—not just during Black History Month; to providing a creative venue for talented Black writers, illustrators, designers and other professionals; and most importantly to inspiring, encouraging and educating young people through reading by offering books with characters, stories and themes that reflected their lives as young Black people.
In addition to their roles as publishers, both Wade and Cheryl have cultivated dual careers as children's book authors. Wade's books include Jamal's Busy Day; Book of Black Heroes from A to Z; and Powerful Words. Cheryl's titles include Bright Eyes, Brown Skin; Hands Can and My Friend Maya Loves to Dance.
The Hudsons are also partners, with their children Katura and Stephan, in Hudson Publishing LLC, which recently founded Marimba Books, a new multicultural children's book imprint.
Over two decades ago Wade and Cheryl Hudson were parents on a desperate search for children's books that reflected the diversity of Black history, heritage and experiences. Disappointed by the limited number and their unreliable availability, the couple embarked upon a mission: to produce the kind of positive, vibrant Black-interest books that they wanted for their own two children. Combining their professional experience in marketing and graphic design, Wade and Cheryl developed a number of manuscripts including the AFRO-BETSR ABCBook, which taught the alphabet using Afrocentric themes and images. They began presenting their ideas to various publishing houses. Although most editors liked the concepts, the Hudsons received rejection after rejection. "There's no market for Black children's books," one editor said.
So in 1987 the Hudsons published the AFRO-BETSR A B C Bookthemselves. Thanks to targeted marketing and grassroots outreach, orders poured in from parents, teachers and Black bookstores before the book was even printed. In less than three months, 5,000 copies of the title had been sold.
"The response was phenomenal," recalls Wade. "We received so many letters from parents and teachers who said that the book was exactly what they were looking for." Some of the most touching feedback came from children.
We always knew that there was a tremendous need for books that Black children could relate to," says Cheryl. "But when we received letters written in crayon from 3 and 4-year old children who couldn't wait to show us that they could write the alphabet, or share drawings they did of their favorite AFRO-BETS R character, that really validated our belief and inspired us even more."
The Hudsons were so inspired, in fact, that when they published their second title, the AFRO-BETSR 123 Book a year later, they launched along with it their own publishing company. The couple had no prior experience running a company, but they stepped out on faith, believing that God was with them, withdrew all the money from their personal savings and set up shop in their home to start Just Us Books.
Move over Larry Craig, John McGee, and the rest. Idaho has made national headlines yet again.
Guess which political party is responsible ....
BOISE -- A federal judge has ruled that a state senator's wife overstepped her role as a legal assistant and had an "inappropriate" relationship with a convicted murderer who is suing the Idaho Department of Correction for sexual harassment.
In November, Renee McKenzie, wife of Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie of Nampa, was appointed by a federal court to help Lance Wood, who was imprisoned for life for his role in the 1988 kidnapping and torture slaying of a gay man in Utah. ...They had intercepted a letter the inmate wrote to McKenzie, which they determined was "clearly of a personal nature."
While not an attorney, she presented herself to prison guards as, “Renee McKenzie of McKenzie Law Offices” and was granted “unfettered access” with convicted murderer, kidnapper, and rapist Lance Wood, according to the Boise Guardian.
Wood is being housed at the Idaho Department of Corrections facility south of Boise and represents himself with no attorney in a civil case against a DOC worker before Winmill. He is a Utah inmate, serving his time in Idaho which is common when security issues arise.
Under these circumstances, prison officials determined that, at the very least, there was a strong infatuation between Wood and Ms. McKenzie, and that it would be dangerous for them to meet in isolation as they had been mistakenly allowed to do previously.
"If we can't find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest, we may as well call the experiment with American democracy a failure." - Judge Larry Burns A conservative case for an assault weapons ban
The Alumni Association of
Northwest Nazarene University
invites you as our guest to a presentation by
The Honorable Larry Burns
U.S. Federal Judge for the Southern District of California
and alumnus of Northwest Nazarene University
Tuesday, the ninth of April, at 7:00 p.m.
in the N.N.U. Little Theatre
512 Holly Street
Judge Burns will share his perspective on the judicial confirmation process and how his faith influences his job.
He will also cover topics of interest likely including his most recent case that involves the mass shooting in Tucson.
Judge Burns will share his perspective on the judicial confirmation process and how his faith influences his job. He will also cover topics of interest likely including his most recent case that involves the mass shooting in Tucson.
Judge Burns attended NNU 1972-74 then transferred to Pt. Loma. He was appointed to office by President George W. Bush.
Born in Pasadena, California, Burns received a B.A. from Point Loma College in 1976 and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1979. He was a Deputy district attorney of San Diego County, California from 1979 to 1985. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of California from 1985 to 1997.
In 1997, Burns was appointed to serve as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Burns was nominated by President George W. Bush on May 1, 2003, to a new seat on the Southern District of California created by 116 Stat. 1758. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 24, 2003 by a vote of 91-0. Burns received his commission on September 25, 2003.
On January 12, 2011, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit selected Burns to be the presiding judge for the trial of Jared Lee Loughner. Burns was selected, in part, for his prior experience with cases involving the federal death penalty. A judge from outside of Arizona was sought when all judges in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona recused themselves from the case due to their ties to the late John Roll, a federal judge who had been killed in the shooting.
On December 20, 2012; Burns wrote an op-ed column in the Los Angeles Times calling for a reinstatement of the federal assault weapons ban. In the article, Burns described himself as an ardent conservative and gun owner who nonetheless felt there was no "social utility" for high-capacity clips. Besides the 31-round magazine Loughner used in his Glock, Burns cited as examples the 100-round drum allegedly used by James Eagan Holmes in the 2012 Aurora shooting and the 30-round magazine used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Burns called for Congress to reinstate the ban without the grandfather clause of the original ban, which allowed those who already owned a weapon on the banned list to keep it. "If we can't find a way to draw sensible lines with guns that balance individual rights and the public interest," Burns wrote, "we may as well call the experiment with American democracy a failure."
Questions may be directed to the Alumni Office firstname.lastname@example.org or 208.467.8841 read more »
On Saturday, April 27th, 2013 the most anticipated cultural showcase in the Pacific Northwest returns to Boise State University. Considered to be one of the most dynamic, entertaining, and intellectually potent cultural showcases in the region, the Shades of Black Show continues to live up to its billing as a phenomenon.
This live performance explores the issues of culture and identity within the black experience through dance, spoken word and poetry, skits, stepping and song.
Created in 2003 at the University of Idaho by Kwapi Vengesayi and making its debut in January of 2004, the Shades of Black Show has become a cultural phenomenon bringing together campuses and communities from across the region.
The Shades of Black Show is a celebration of the different textures and dimensions of the black experience through the performing arts, a showcase that attempts to explore culture and identity through mediums of expression such as dance, spoken word/poetry, skits, stepping and song. This show has found a way to merge entertainment with education, tradition with contemporary values; an insightful and energetic blend of elements that has not only enriched the experience of those performing, but also the experience of those in the in attendance.
The Shades of Black Show is a celebration of a culture, not a race -
showcasing 'diversity' is one of our objectives and this is done by ensuring that each show has a universal message, and a diverse cast of participants, from performers to organizers.
Moreover, what makes this show unique is how it dedicates a lot of its efforts into ensuring that the talent showcased is a reflection of the area or campus that is hosting it.
This is done by devoting a lot of time and energy into creating a program that has strong local participation - this is could be in the form of performers, volunteer organizers, or local business sponsors.
From Boise State University to the University of Idaho, from Washington State University to Eastern Washington University and beyond, this show has enriched the multicultural experience of those who chose to participate or simply attend. In addition to this, it has not only helped highlight diversity on the campuses that host it, but has been a helpful ingredient with regards recruitment and retention objectives for those schools.
The show has had success throughout the Northwest as a way to build bridges with surrounding communities and has allowed the diversity within that same culture to inspire a sense of community within themselves.
Simplot Ballroom | Doors Open at 5pm (Seriously) | Free Admission
I first met TJ Thomson at an AFL-CIO labor day picnic in Boise a few years ago. I had felt disillusioned with the hostility and narrow-mindedness of many elected officials in Idaho's majority party.
So meeting this poised, balanced progressive was a silver lining in Idaho's cloudy sea of bad leadership.
TJ is well known throughout Idaho as an engaged citizen and respected policy analyst, program evaluator, and community organizer.
I also support TJ because he has kept his promises to you, helping to strengthen our area over the last 4 years. The list of accomplishments includes:
Added thousands of acres of open space to the protected column in our beautiful foothills.
Increased park space, including additional dog parks and expanded off-leash hours.
Expanded recreational opportunities, including the new Whitewater River Park.
Protected worker’s safety by eliminating smoking in bars.
Crime rates are at historic lows in the City of Boise.
Our bus system will soon expand services – accomplished during difficult economic times.
A strengthened recycling program, to include no-sort recycling and a glass pick-up option.
Implemented the vast majority of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies, as recommended for climate protection.
Protected all citizens from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Improved sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Increased cyclist safety on our streets.
Worked to attract new businesses to the area. Boise maintains one of Idaho's lowest unemployment rates.
Spear-headed first Living Wage Policy in Idaho. Setting a standard for local businesses to follow.
Check out all the great recognition Boise has received in recent years here: BOISE
A proud Idaho native and Air Force veteran, TJ Thomson has built over a decade of experience as a steward of fiscal responsibility at the federal, state, and private levels. TJ works for Idaho Power as a Certified Internal Auditor, promoting ethical and open business practices and efficient use of resources. As a former NASA policy analyst and program evaluator with the Idaho Legislature, TJ has valuable experience finding improvements and taxpayer savings in government programs and initiatives. An engaged citizen and active community organizer, TJ lives in West Boise with his wife Alisha, to whom he has been happily married for over a decade.
TJ has been happily married for over a decade to his wife, Alisha. Together, they enjoy the many wonderful aspects of living in Idaho, including: fishing, skiing, boating, biking and hiking in Boise’s beautiful foothills.