Opinion: Season of change

It has been said that one thing that is constant in life is change. Entering the season of fall, our children are returning to school, the leaves are changing, I have started to cover my garden at night to try to get those last few tomatoes to turn red, and the leadership of the Bonneville County Democrats has changed as well. We owe a great deal of thanks to our outgoing chair, Pat Tucker.

Pat has left behind an indelible mark on our community — her impact is felt throughout our county. Pat literally led the charge (no pun intended) to place automatic external defibrillators in dozens of schools in our community, supported children’s art, volunteered with countless civic organizations, and in general dedicated herself to contributing her time and talents to help make our community a better place for all. I know that I, for one, cannot wait to see her impact in a few years when she graduates from the University of Idaho School of Law.

While it is important to acknowledge the accomplishments of those who have come before, the work is not done. Far from it. In Idaho, we have had over 30 years of single-party-controlled super-majority. In essence, we live in a conservative “utopia.” If that’s such a good thing, why does it feel so broken?

Why do we have sixth graders shooting at their classmates? Why can’t we attract and keep qualified teachers? Why are we cutting investments in education, in our children? Why were youth substance misuse and youth suicide on the rise in our state, even before the pandemic? Why is our health care system overwhelmed? Why are charitable organizations distributing over 4,000 pounds of food a day just in our community to those that are food insecure? Why is the value of the homeowner’s exemption not increasing with property values, driving property taxes higher?

Well, my question to you is: Why do we keep sending people to Boise who continually refuse to enact policies that improve our daily lives? I guess if you’re a large corporation that gets the benefit of our “leaders” helping you out, you might like the status quo. What about those of us who are just trying to raise a family in this beautiful and amazing state? Would we rather get a $50 tax rebate or get the strength of pooling our resources by allocating what is a small amount for each of us into a large investment in our schools, public lands, water and public safety resources? I believe most of us would rather have meaningful investments in our community.

Our Legislature reminds me of a car past its prime. As things start to break down, you are faced with the choice of either sticking with a vehicle that requires constant and expensive repairs and no longer meets your needs or investing in a new vehicle that actually gets you where you want to go. Often, we don’t make a change until we have given up too much and invested more than we should have in a losing proposition.

This year as we “fall back,” let’s remember to “think forward” about changes that will make a positive difference for Idahoans.

David Roth is the newly elected Chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Party.