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Greetings Friends!

Happy New Year!

"The time is always right to do what is right." These words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. call out to us today as we honor his legacy on the Dr. Martin Luther King/Idaho Human Rights Day. His words call us to action, now, at this time and in this place. His words call us to be courageous, deliberate, and purposeful in the action we take. We have the opportunity, the choice, and the duty to do what is right for our children, our community, and our state.

Join in the State celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./Human Rights Day on Monday, January 18th, 12 noon, in the Capitol Rotunda. I look forward to joining with you in the spirit of community.

Education

By now you may have seen or read about Governor Otter's State of the State Speech, which has been reviewed in a multitude of articles since the first day of the legislative session. The governor focused largely on education and restated his commitment to focused increases in funding. The good news:

  • 7.9% increase in public school funding including:
  • $39 million in continued funding of the teacher career ladder (year 2 of 5 years)
  • $5 million for professional development and teacher training with an emphasis on mentoring of new educators
  • $1.8 million to move non-instructional staff to career ladder
  • $30 million in discretionary funding

Unfortunately, only a portion of the education task force recommendations have been addressed, bringing education funding levels only to 2009 levels. That coupled with an increase of more than 14,000 students since 2009, renders the budget less than adequate. We must invest in a complete education plan that focuses on the progression from early childhood education to career, and in a way that is affordable to working families.

Economy

It is vital that this legislature take definitive action to promote the development of a robust economic environment in Idaho. That means supporting the creation of good-paying jobs and maintaining a strong relationship and dialogue with our business community. It's time to focus on improving the lives of working men and women to ensure they are able to provide for their families. We must raise the minimum wage.

Quality of Life

There are many areas that affect the quality of life of Idahoans.

Healthcare

The governor has proposed the Primary Care Access Program as an incremental step to address the needs of 78,000 Idahoans caught in the gap. The plan is very limited, covers acute, but not chronic needs and comes at a cost triple that of Medicaid expansion. The $32 million plan is to be funded from the cigarette/tobacco tax. Our state must step up to find a better solution to cover those who cannot afford health insurance. Recently a constituent wrote, "At present, we pay taxes for this service (insurance for those in greatest need) to the federal government, but receive no benefit in return." I hear you!

Eradicate Discrimination

We must continue to fight discrimination and bigotry wherever it exists. We must work tirelessly to make our state an environment that welcomes all. I will continue to fight to add the words "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity" to the Idaho Human Rights Act. Idaho is indeed, too great for hate.

Public Lands

We must protect our access to public lands and not sell them off to the highest bidder. We must preserve this cherished legacy for future generations.

 

Good Government

I remain committed to reducing government waste and ensuring that government is working for the good of the people. I will continue to advocate for, and support legislation that increases accountability, transparency, and efficiency. Timely review of our tax policy to assess appropriateness and fairness is vital this effort.

Undoubtedly, many of the proposals debated in the coming months will have a profound impact on all of us in one way or another, so I encourage you to contact my office throughout the session if you have questions, concerns, or would simply like to share an opinion. I rely heavily on your input and participation, so please feel comfortable to reach out to me.

Meet Jerome Filip: My 2016 Legislative Assistant

I am pleased to introduce you to an invaluable partner, Jerome Filip. A graduate of Boise State University (BA, 2013), he is a veteran in the Senate who has worked with us for the past four legislative sessions. Outside of the statehouse, he is a seasoned political campaign manager, and an invaluable communications and fundraising manager. Jerome is a great asset and I am thrilled to have him at my right hand this year. You can reach him at 332-1416 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Town Hall Meetings

You are cordially invited to join me and my District 19 colleagues, Representatives Mat Erpelding and Melissa Wintrow for any or all of our town hall meetings during the session. We'll be taking your questions and sharing our take on the issues confronting the State Legislature. I encourage all to attend. The first two meetings will take place at 7PM at the following locations:

January 29 - Warm Springs Golf Course Clubhouse

2495 E Warm Springs Ave, Boise, ID 83712

February 17 - Hidden Springs Club House

5892 W Hidden Springs Dr, Boise, ID 83714

As always, it is both a pleasure and an honor to represent you in the Idaho State Senate. Let's stay connected.

 

Your Senator,

Cherie Buckner-Webb

District 19

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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
P.O. Box 9813
Boise, ID 83707

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Phone: 208-861-5482