Let’s talk a little bit about family values.
We spend a lot of time insisting that we want to support families.
However, when you look at some of the policies that we have, it becomes clear that we talk a big game, but we’re not ready to invest in our communities and families.
If we genuinely supported families and were serious about family values, we wouldn’t tell people what their families had to look like. And we’d support policies that encourage thriving families.
When you get right down to it, though, it’s a lot of lip service and not much action.
We have the resources. What we lack is the willingness to prioritize family-friendly programs and policies that include:
— Parental leave.
— Inclusive health care.
— Child care.
— Early childhood education.
— Affordable housing.
— Uniform and accessible public education.
— Access to comprehensive family planning.
Idaho has some of the most restrictive rules regarding who qualifies for various programs. At the same time, though, we also have some of the lowest wages in the country. Even those making an average hourly rate in Bonneville County and working 40 hours have a hard time eking out a living, much less supporting a family.
Rather than pretending like people don’t want to work, our elected officials should acknowledge that most Idahoans want to work and provide for their families. Still, they need some help, especially in a state where wages don’t keep up with the cost of living. Instead of arguing over whether librarians should be put in jail, we should be addressing affordable housing and supporting early childhood education, which studies show results in long-term benefits to the safety and health of communities.
Supporting family values also includes investing in community resources. We should be expanding access to libraries and parks. The recent decision by the county library board to end the contract with the Idaho Falls Library is disappointing, as we could be working together to create a county-wide system that would benefit more patrons — and families.
It’s time for us to stop acting like family values center on whom you sleep with and what you’re doing — that doesn’t harm others — in the privacy of your home.
Family values are about supporting families. It’s about investing in our communities and people. Let’s stop pretending like we don’t have the resources. We do. It’s time to put our money where our mouths are.
Miranda Marquit, Master of Business Administration, is a nationally recognized financial expert, consultant, speaker and writer. She is the state committeewoman for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee and a candidate for the state Legislature