At our last Pizza & Politics, we had presentations from Senator Dave Lent and from Toni Lawson, with the Idaho Hospital Association. Both speakers provided some great insight into the ongoing implementation of Medicaid Expansion in Idaho.
Lawson was very well informed and had some solid numbers about where to expect savings to offset costs, and was very frank about some of the ways that a few of our “representatives” are making the process more expensive and less effective.
Sen. Lent was very gracious in explaining some of the work that the interim committee is doing, as well as talking about how to balance some of the competing thoughts about how to implement the will of the people.
Attendees to the event asked thoughtful questions — which were answered thoughtfully. I was especially impressed with how Sen. Lent interacted with attendees, some of whom did not agree with him on some points. In fact, the interactions were respectful all around, with Republicans as well as Democrats in attendance.
One of the things I love about putting on these monthly Pizza & Politics sessions is that it goes a long way toward promoting a knowledgeable and engaged citizenry. We often have speakers from different backgrounds willing to shed light on issues and processes. Topics of discussion in the past have included how veterans can access healthcare resources, different charities in town and what they’re doing, public lands and even how to run for office.
We even hosted a for-and-against forum on the last D91 school bond. That event got a little heated, but it was the only place in town, that I know of, where we had both sides in the same room, answering questions and sharing their views.
While many of us don’t like the idea of politics in our lives, the truth is that politics affect so much of what we do every day — especially local politics. Understanding the issues and policies that impact us as citizens is very important. Being involved at the local level is one of the best ways to influence what goes on in our communities.
National political discussions often feel unattainable. How can our voices penetrate that far? Local issues, though, are what impact us each day. Attending city council meetings, reaching out to county commissioners and getting involved with local organizations can all be great ways to stay informed and be involved.
We’d love for you to come to a Pizza & Politics. Get involved in the dialogue. Learn about the nuances related to some of the things that are going on in our county and in our state. We live in a soundbite culture. Too often, we make decisions based on snippets of things we hear in an echo chamber, rather than actually talking to our neighbors. Come out and talk to your neighbors.
Our next Pizza & Politics is on issues in education, on October 12, 2019 at CEI.
Miranda Marquit is a nationally-recognized financial writer and speaker. She is the Chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.