With the company of friends, we have enjoyed a tradition of camping over the Memorial Day Weekend. It’s the kick-off to summer and it has been fun for the two decades we have lived in Mini-Cassia. Some years our friends come here and we enjoy the South Hills and other years we journey to Fr…

This past week I was thrust into the job of truth verifier where I had to decide which of two parties in a dispute was being the fairest and the most truthful in a business deal gone bad. Even today I am struggling to decide if I should take sides in the issue or perhaps I should just stay o…

Did you know that you can vote today or tomorrow? You don’t have to wait until next week!

As we began discussing facility options last year one question that came up repeatedly was, “Why not build a new high school?” As we gathered information to answer this question, we spoke with our architects, LKV of Boise. They shared with us the design that they had put together for the new…

Idaho families struggling with debilitating diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or less common and rare illnesses, regularly share their personal experiences with me.  These insights drive my longtime advocacy for necessary National Institute of Health funding to support medic…

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 to.

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Medicaid Expansion in Idaho is officially under attack. Just this week Treasure Valley Representative John Vander Woude proposed a laundry list of restrictions – including very unpopular forced work restrictions -  designed to deny thousands of working Idahoans healthcare coverage. His bill,…

Several months ago, Cassia schools communicated with parents of three district schools that a new student assistance program was available to support families when life circumstances presented challenges above and beyond available resources and abilities. This program is called Connect and a…

On December 11, 2018, with my support, the U.S. Senate passed the final version of the new Farm Bill by an overwhelmingly, bipartisan vote. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation the next day also by a broad, bipartisan vote before it went to President Trump to sign into la…

 “Like all Americans, I am extremely frustrated in Congress' inability to compromise. My message to Idahoans is that I am sorry for the failure of your elected leaders to fulfill their most basic duty.  We are a diverse nation with many different viewpoints, but all Americans expect their go…

This is the second in a series of articles about the upcoming Minidoka Schools Bond. I encourage you to reach out to your local school to ask questions and learn more about their needs. Last week we discussed Why we need the bond: To address student growth and complete projects we have not b…

Cassia County’s Board of Trustees have passed a resolution calling for a facilities bond election on March 12, 2019 for the amount of $56.7 million for the term of 20 years.  After more than a year’s investigation initiated by a citizen’s facility committee chaired by John Evans, Jr., the Bo…

 Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a longtime proponent of protecting federal funding for victims of domestic violence and related crimes, is co-sponsoring legislation to prevent Congress from withholding funding in the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) that is designated to victims of crime.  The Fund consi…

Christmas is a season built for memories. Its traditions of gift giving, family meals and reaching out to others we don’t normally include in our day-to-day circles creates lots of memory potential. Whether we use the Christmas holiday to its potential has everything to do with how you plan …

Through Congressional Record Statements, I have had the opportunity to congratulate the award recipients of Idaho Hometown Hero Awards.  Ten Idahoans working in various fields are 2018 Idaho Hometown Hero Medal recipients:

A recent letter to central administration for Cassia schools questioned the reasons for the increased numbers of non-certificated teachers in schools. Filling certified teacher positions, in recent years, has been a challenge in Idaho and the challenges are even greater in the Magic Valley. …

Last summer, I had the opportunity to place my handprint on the civilian side of a door Melanie Foster, Jr. Vice Commander for the Department of Idaho Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), takes to veterans events.  She helps raise awareness about suicide prevention, posttraumatic stress disorder …

An often overlooked part of the history of World War II and the bravery of the American servicemembers who fought for our nation and its allies is the service of the civilian workers on Wake Island who were swept into the war.  The civilian workers, including many Idahoans, working for Morri…

Dear Savvy Senior, I’ll be 65 in a few months and I recently pre-enrolled in original Medicare. But last week, I received a member card in the mail for a Medicare Advantage plan that I did not enroll in. What’s going on? Medicare is so confusing with all the different choices, and now it see…

If you are a parent you are very much aware, a new school year has begun. You have bought a ton of school supplies and a new wardrobe of clothes. After trying to figure out what to do all summer the kids are finally back in school and you can get on a regular schedule again.

School supply lists are out and a little anxiety is creeping into lives as the anticipation of a new school year looms with an Aug. 28 start.

Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about incentive trusts? I have two adult children that are financial disasters. Before I die, I want to put some type of requirements in place that they will need to follow in order to receive their portion of my estate. Otherwise, they’ll blow it all …

Dear Savvy Senior, How much does an average funeral and body burial cost? I need to make funeral arrangements for my aunt, who’s terminally ill, and would like to have a cost idea going in so I can plan and budget appropriately.

By continuing to put veterans first, we can drive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reforms in a direction that makes a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of the veterans it serves. This is the purpose of legislation I introduced, S. 1279, the Veterans Health Administration Re…

Benjamin Franklin famously said that a “penny saved is a penny earned.” This centuries-old wisdom is relevant today in Idaho where Democrats and Republicans are working together to fight the single most potentially devastating foreign invader of our state: Zebra and Quagga Mussels.

Summer has officially arrived and hopefully the seemingly never-ending winter of 2016-2017 will finally be relegated to the history books. The summer weather is one of the many factors that affect the quality of life in this area. Warm days and cool nights provide a perfect combination for a…

In the state of Idaho, in order to be a licensed real estate appraiser, it is necessary to have a college degree or to have 20-30 college credits in a specific field. It is also necessary to have approximately 100 to 300 hours of specific classes pertaining to appraising and to work for anot…

The Administration’s plan to roll back policy initiatives between the United States and Cuba is a missed opportunity for the country and a substantive blow to potentially lucrative markets here in Idaho.

Earlier this month, Congressional Republicans forced a vote on their “American Healthcare Act” (AHCA) weeks before the Congressional Budget Office could analyze the bill’s expected impact. It seemed odd to vote on such major legislation without a clue as to its effects on health coverage. No…

Education has many descriptors but one of the most explanatory is the word fluid. This time of year brings with it many changes in staffing. For a variety of reasons, educators are able to easily maneuver this industry as life and circumstances change. Given a state-wide reduction in teachin…

There might be a run on hot dogs and peanuts in Declo and spontaneous outbreaks of “take me out to the ball game”, now that they are hosting baseball games and have their own team. The conversation about adding a baseball team and accompanying field began about 12 years ago. Players from Dec…

Near-record river flow levels are causing flooding that will cost homeowners and local governments enormous financial losses.  At the same time we are watching massive amounts of water being sent down river that could be stored to help reduce flooding and also increase the capacity of irriga…

When Mrs. Rose Warrell’s fourth graders were asked how they enjoyed the math and science project they were working on, one of the students confidently announced, “this isn’t math and science!”. He was wrong, however. The marble maze project he and his team were furiously constructing had eve…

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I met with Judge Neil Gorsuch, who President Donald Trump nominated to serve as Associate Justice.  Judge Gorsuch’s comments during our talk still resonate.  He said, “My personal views are irrelevant as a judge.”  That is the ideal illustration…

There is always a lot of discussion about the strength of school districts and this topic seems particularly relevant considering the national discussion taking place right now about the proper role of the Federal government when it comes to local education. Locally elected trustees are the …

By now you’ve heard about the Republican infighting that has brought business at the Capitol to a standstill. Reports describe their inaction as “dysfunctional” as members struggle to resolve their differences. What wasn’t reported was the fact that while the majority spent hours fighting be…

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For 4 years, 78,000 Idahoans in the health care gap have waited for a solution. Two task forces have recommended Medicaid expansion with no action by the legislature. The adoption of the Affordable Care Act would have provided 100% funding for expansion for the first four years. We missed ou…

Idaho can breathe a big sigh of relief! Following two-and-a-half hours of spirited debate, the Idaho Senate voted down the so-called “Con-Con” bill by a vote of 24-11. Idaho’s Democrats teamed up with a majority of the Republican caucus in rejecting Senate Concurrent Resolution 108, which wo…

If you are a student, if you are a parent, read on. In less than three weeks juniors in high school will be seniors in high school! As with every student I visit with they say, “No way, I’ve got more than three months before I cross that senior threshold!” If you are a parent you are thinkin…