Watching citizens get involved in policy is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. I’ve met Amy Pratt, who was featured in the Post Register for her amazing work with Medicaid Expansion — as well as her subsequent illness due to a brain tumor. Pratt is an inspiration to us all. Even though lacking in time and resources, she passionately pursued a course of everyday citizen activism.
Pratt, and the other tireless volunteers working to make Idaho an even better place, offers an example of what can happen when we take a look at the local issues and get involved right here at home.
Often, we look at what’s happening on a national scale and lament that our voices and votes don’t matter. But they do matter when we look at what’s happening on a local scale. When we look at how we can influence change in ways that impact our everyday, real lives, local politics and state policies suddenly become more important. It’s up to us as citizens to move forward and be informed and involved.
It’s also up to us to provide oversight over those who claim to represent us. And pay attention to how they serve us. The passage of Prop 2 and the way many of our legislators attempt to gaslight the voters and disrespect the efforts of engaged citizens is on full display right now.
Some legislators claim that counties should raise property taxes to cover Medicaid expansion costs. They pretend like the governor hasn’t already mentioned funds to be used for this process and threaten to cut infrastructure and education spending. After enacting tax cuts that disproportionately favored the top income earners in Idaho — and seeing revenues drop because of it — our so-called representatives are now telling the voters it’s their own fault for voting for Prop 2.
Engaged citizens like Pratt have been engaged and fighting on behalf of the least among us. Meanwhile, our so-called leaders are actively working to sabotage what the citizens of this state have fought for. They’re adding burdensome requirements and administrative costs, pretending that it’s out of some principle, but really, it’s designed to punish the voters who, tired of years of inaction from their legislators, took matters into our own hands.
We have engaged citizens fighting misinformation from our legislators all over east Idaho, from Rexburg down to Idaho Falls. People are starting to question whether those who are in charge really have our best interests at heart. Our “representatives” put off finding solutions for years, and now that the citizens have presented their own, Idaho’s institutions are punishing them in a top-down attempt to gaslight, disrespect and sabotage their efforts.
Miranda Marquit is a nationally recognized financial writer and speaker. She serves as Bonneville County’s committeewoman on the Democratic State Central Committee.