One of the questions we need to answer for ourselves in Bonneville County is this:
What does it mean to be a Democrat in Idaho?
As we move into one of the most interesting election seasons in my memory, it’s a good time for us to consider who we are as Idaho Democrats. Even though the presidential election is exciting, it’s important to step back from national politics and focus on moving Idaho forward. The state GOP platform calls for a return to the gold standard and a repeal of the 17th Amendment (you know, the one where the people elect their Senators).
The beautiful thing about the Idaho Democratic Party platform is that it is aspirational, focusing on making the state prosperous for families and businesses alike. As a newly-appointed member of the platform committee, I am looking forward to helping create a platform that works for ordinary Idahoans.
What are Idaho Democrat Values?
But it’s not enough to have a platform. We need to get out there and share the platform with our friends and neighbors so they understand what it truly means to be a Democrat in Idaho. As the state GOP tears itself apart, and as moderate local Republicans shake their heads at some of what is happening, we need to highlight our values — and how they are more reflective of the people of Idaho. Let’s look for ways to join with other progressives, spread the word about what it means to be a Democrat in Idaho, and transfer some of our enthusiasm for the presidential election to our local candidates.
Here is what I think it means to be a Democrat in Idaho, based on some of the points of the Creating Opportunity Plan put forth by our Democratic legislators here in Idaho:
- Prioritizing education so that our children and grandchildren have brighter futures and are more competitive in an increasingly global economy.
- Holding our government accountable so that we stop the crony capitalism that has resulted in recent scandals.
- Working to create policies that open more opportunities for our adults, and bringing in businesses. Our antiquated public finance system is one of only two remaining in the country, and it is restrictive to economic growth.
- Preserving our public lands so that we can enjoy the quality of life we are used to here in Idaho. We don’t need to exploit our resources; in the new economy, we should be focusing on highlighting the natural beauties of the state to attract more tourism and more people interested in a high quality of life.
Idaho Democrats believe that families and businesses can prosper together and that there is no reason to help businesses at the expense of our citizens. That’s the message we need to highlight.
Let’s Get Local
While we do want to get out there and support our presidential candidates, let’s not forget about our focus on Idaho and voting blue down ballot. Whoever wins the presidential election will need to deal with Congress, and if we don’t help get out the word about our values, and push for change here in Idaho, and who we send to Washington as our representatives, our lives won’t be that different. The following, an impassioned plea by journalist Michael Mooney, offers great insight into our local focus:
I attended the Democratic caucus March 22 and the turnout was amazing. The energy in the building was phenomenal. And this energy needs to continue right up to the November 8 Election.Bernie Sanders tugs at my heart strings and I support much of what he advocates. But for all those who attended the caucus, in support of Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, we need your energy and commitment to help elect Democrats at the Congressional level, as well as state legislature level.Based on what is going on with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in Idaho, we cannot rely on the Republicans who represent us in Boise or Washington, D.C. to support legislation that is in the best interests of Idahoans, including increasing the minimumwage, health care coverage for those who need it most or affordable college tuition.Republican members of Congress have voted at least 30 times to repeal Obamacare. Do you really believe they will support universal health care? We need to elect a Congress that shares our beliefs and goals for the nation. That means electing as many Democrats as possible.In Boise, we have a Republican Legislature that denies health-care coverage to 78,000 hard-working Idahoans. They won’t even discuss raising the minimum wage. We urge all those who attended the March 22 Caucus to work hard to elect state legislative candidates; candidates who share your commitment to bring about the change Idaho and the nation so desperately need.We have three candidates who can benefit greatly from your help. In Legislative District 30 our candidate is Matt Dance. He can be reached at 208-360-7401. In Legislative District 33 we have two candidates. Jim De Angelis can be reached at 208-227-3132, and George Morrison can be reached at 208-520-3511.
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Miranda Marquit is a freelance financial journalist and money expert. She has a keen interest in politics and social justice and is excited to share news of interest to citizens in Bonneville County. Miranda enjoys reading, the outdoors and spending time with her son. She writes at Planting Money Seeds and Progressive Mormon Mom.