Civility starts with how you and your team run your campaign. The people of Benewah and Latah counties deserve to be represented by someone who treats the political process and all involved with respect. This is the cornerstone of my approach to every issue.
When I first ran for office, my democratic opponent was a personal friend. After he won his primary, I called to congratulate him. That night, we pledged to support each other and never go negative or attacking. It was always a treat to meet up with him on the campaign trail, at a parade or a forum. We supported and encouraged each other – because running for office is hard enough without the negativity.
I’m proud that I’ve taken that lesson to heart, and continue to campaign on being the BEST CANDIDATE, not by spreading hate, discontent and wild rumors aimed at my opponent. I’ve never had to write a letter to the editor to apologize for a nasty mailing. I’ve never had to call up an opponent to apologize for hurtful and untruthful things I’ve said at a public forum.
Since joining the Idaho legislature, I’ve partnered with many of my fellow legislators on policy that is good for Idaho. It doesn’t matter to me if they are Democrats or Republicans, what matters is that the policy is good for my district and for Idaho. I will ALWAYS vote in favor of our U.S. and Idaho Constitutions, for my district and for my conscience. Some people shrug their shoulders and say “welcome to politics.” In Idaho, we shouldn’t strive to be a “politician.” We are citizen legislators who work to represent our districts. Below are the issues that are important to the people of the districts I represent.
As the big urban areas in Idaho continue to grow, rural towns and communities are being left behind. Last session I founded the “Farm, Ranch and Timber Caucus” with members of the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, to focus on issues most important to keeping our small towns flourishing. Rural legislators must work together to make sure our voices are heard.
I pushed to pilot a “distance testimony” program, so citizens over 100 miles from Boise could participate in committee hearings on issues important to them without having to spend a fortune in time and travel to get to Boise. The program has been working for the House Education Committee, and will serve as the basis of how the legislature will have testimony this next session with Covid-19 protocols in place.
I serve as the vice-chair of the Agricultural Affairs Committee, and work to ensure our farmers and ranchers can be good stewards of the land while helping to feed the world. I focus on their transportation needs, including truck, rail and barge.
Guns remain an essential piece of our heritage, our values, and our future. The right to keep and bear arms is protected in the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions – a right as important as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble peaceably, property rights and the right to swift and fair justice.
Reverence for the Second Amendment is strong in our State, and our laws reflect the importance of firearms to our citizens. Idaho has also taken steps to provide our kids firearms education and skill-building opportunities. The 2018 Legislature passed a law that allows Idaho School Districts to offer elective courses on firearms safety, and to authorize instructors for the course. Idaho kids can start hunting at age 10, after they attend a hunter education course. The courses cover firearm handling and safety, hunting ethics, survival skills, hunting techniques, wildlife identification and care. Idaho’s 4-H “Shooting Sports” programs, taught by certified instructors, offer kids between 8-18 a wide variety of options, including archery, handguns, muzzleloaders, rifles and shotguns. It’s been exciting to see the big increases in these projects at both the Latah and Benewah County Fairs.
Idaho’s hunters and recreational shooters, young and old, must have safe places to practice in order to remain proficient. The 2019 “Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act,” sponsored by Idaho’s Senator Jim Risch, gives states an additional incentive to fund range development, leveraging existing Pitman-Robertson funds.
Last year, I carried House Bill 396, securing a way for Idaho to build on Senator Risch’s shooting range law. It establishes that public shooting ranges are an appropriate use for state-owned land. It requires that the Idaho Fish and Game help counties, cities, recreation districts, non-profit clubs or associations to locate or relocate shooting ranges. Perhaps most importantly, HB 396 creates a new Public Range Fund committee, comprised of active recreational shooters from across the state, to advise on the distribution of over half a million dollars a year to Idaho shooting ranges—money that comes back to the state from Federal excise taxes on the sales of handguns and ammunition as well as fines and forfeitures derived from fish and game violations. The legislation doesn’t raise any taxes, fines or fees, but leverages existing dollars.
By providing educational programs and shooting opportunities, Idaho is well on our way to building the next generation of Second Amendment supporters.
Agriculture and Timber are a mainstay of this region’s economy. I ran for office to ensure that farmers can farm, and loggers can log. My family has farmed, ranched and harvested timber in this region from the early 1900’s. After college, I married a farmer, and became a partner in a family farm at Southwick. Over the next decade I worked on the farm, operating equipment, managing a herd of purebred cows, selling commodities, and serving on numerous agricultural boards - often as the only woman. Farming and ranching taught me the value of hard work, the importance of completing every job, and the significance of healthy rural communities.
Graduating from Leadership Idaho Agriculture introduced me to the importance of having a voice in politics, and gave me the idea of running for office “one day.” Raising philanthropic support for the Colleges of Agriculture at the University of Idaho and Washington State University gave me additional insights into the importance of the many commodities and agribusinesses across the northwest.
These experiences have given me a great perspective in the Idaho Legislature, where I serve as Vice-Chair on the House Agricultural Affairs Committee. While there, I’ve fought to bring new commodities to the state (hemp) and to bring new awareness to the importance of the river system and the pulse crops to the state.
During the 2020 Legislative Session, I founded the “Farm, Ranch and Timber Caucus.” Consisting of House and Senate members, both Republican and Democrats, we focus on issues of importance to rural communities and natural resource industries. As the cities in Idaho grow, we must continue to make our voice heard.
For the timber industry, I’ve fought to preserve the short-line rail system, protect the current tax code for timber properties, and expand the use of laminated beams in the construction of commercial buildings.
I’ve been recognized as a “Friend of Agriculture” by the Idaho Farm Bureau, and as an “Agricultural All Star” by the Food Producers of Idaho. I was honored with the “Idaho Cooperative Council” Award in 2016.
FARMING AND TIMBER
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” - Nelson Mandela.
Idaho needs an educated workforce to ensure our continued prosperity. That means we need highly-trained folks to be teachers, plumbers, engineers, electricians, nurses, doctors, farmers, loggers, mechanics. The list is endless. Since being elected to the Idaho Legislature, I’ve supported:
increasing K -12 school funding to historically high levels
increasing teacher pay
focusing on K-3 reading programs
securing a STEM position for 4-H
protecting the University of Idaho and the Agricultural Research and Extension budgets
increasing the Idaho income tax deduction for the 529 College Savings Program “Ideal”
Most recently, and after years of lobbying, I secured over $1 million from the CARES money Idaho is receiving to expand our on-line technical career offerings to high school students – based on the successful program Texas has underway.
My kids grew up thinking that the Vandal Fight Song was the “alphabet song” because they got to shout out “I – D – A – H – O” every time we sang it. But more than being a proud alumna, I have a deep and personal appreciation of the University of Idaho’s land grant mission of teaching, research and extension.
The faculty, staff and programs offered at the University of Idaho changes lives. It certainly changed mine. In High School, 4-H was a critical program for my brothers and me to learn new skills and connect with our new communities. My first job out of college was working in the University of Idaho Extension Program as a 4-H recruiter. As a young farm wife, I learned bookkeeping and marketing skills to keep our farm profitable, and attended Extension farm tours to learn about research-based best practices for crops and livestock. When I divorced and needed to find a job to support myself and two girls, my University of Idaho degree opened doors and opportunities. I spent 12 years as a fundraiser for the University, and learned even more about the significant and global impact of their research programs. I also secured funding for scholarships, faculty, programs and facilities.
It’s been my honor to be a voice for the Vandals in Boise as District 5’s Representative. I’ve secured funding and positions and supported new facilities for Dairy research and for the Parma Research and Extension Center. I’ve been a champion to increase Idaho’s spots in the WAMMI Medical Education program. I’ve been proud to serve on advisory boards for the Colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, Cooperative Extension and the McClure Center.
UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
Idaho has been recognized as one of the most business-friendly states in America. I’ve supported reducing unnecessary rules and red-tape while also maintaining safe practices for employees and customers, so that our main-street businesses can flourish. I fight to keep taxes fair, regulations reasonable and government small, so that business and industry can continue to work, keeping our economy strong and our citizens employed. I’ve been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
Here’s a recent example of how I’ve supported Idaho Businesses. Idaho laws dealing with the unprecedented conditions created by the Covid-19 Emergency weren’t working, especially for how they manage risk. Governor Little called us into special session, where we passed HB 006. It provides limited immunity related to coronavirus for businesses, churches, schools and universities who safely reopen from being sued for coronavirus infections. It DOES NOT PROTECT those who have “reckless or willful misconduct.” We will be revisiting the policy next session, as it “sunsets,” or ends, on July 1, 2021.
The policy ensures that our businesses, schools, churches and local government can continue to move forward during reopening phases and keep our economy alive during the remainder of the pandemic. This legislation was strongly supported by the Chambers of Commerce, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, School Boards, Farm Bureau, Food Producers of Idaho, and many more. It will not protect those who act recklessly or willfully. It also doesn’t cover Idaho’s government agencies, the Federal government, or international countries. It doesn’t affect workman’s compensation. Many other states have enacted this type of legislation to safeguard businesses who are safely reopening. There are already thousands of lawsuits filed across the nation in regard to Covid.
District 5, which includes Benewah and Latah Counties, is completely dependent on our road, highway and river system to get goods in and commodities out. Too many of our friends, neighbors, and University of Idaho students have been killed on roads that are in desperate need of improvement. I’ve supported increasing funding for road and bridge construction and safety mitigation, and that support has paid off with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of improvements to Highway 95 in our district.
After a University of Idaho student--and personal friend--was killed pulling out onto Highway 12 at the Lewiston Casino, I pushed the Idaho Department of Transportation to work more closely with the Nez Perce Tribe to build an interchange there. This summer it was announced that the funding was secured and construction would begin. I hope this will prevent any other families from mourning the loss of a loved one from an accident at that dangerous site.
Broadband connectivity is also key to our economic prosperity. During the 2020 Legislative session, I supported the establishment of stand-alone office to focus on resolving Idaho’s lack of adequate broadband access.
Idaho has had one of the highest suicides per capita rates in the US. Having lost friends to this terrible challenge, I’ve become a well-known champion to build awareness and reduce the rates. Even one suicide is too many. I’ve worked to secure a 3 digit number to call when you are in crisis – instead of having to remember 1-800-564-2120, Idahoans can get immediate help by calling 211. Soon, the new National Hotline number 988 will come online, and that will replace Idaho’s 211. I was appointed to the Idaho Suicide Prevention Council by Governor Butch Otter in 2015, and helped draft a comprehensive state-wide plan that helps Idaho reduce the rates while also being more competitive for grants and support funding.