Why won’t representatives actually represent Idahoans?

Idaho has a House of Representatives. The idea is that we elect legislators to go to Boise and they will, on our behalf, write and pass laws that reflect our values.

So, as we look at what our so-called representatives are up to, it’s a good time to review whether what they’re doing is actually in line with what we want them to do. Unfortunately, if you look at the District 33 House Representatives, you might be hard-pressed to figure out what they’re doing on behalf of their citizens.

Have they been tackling property tax issues? No. Have they been focused on infrastructure? Nope. Are they probing our state’s high rate of teen suicide? Not important to them. What about education? Nah. Medicaid expansion? Let’s limit access with extra red tape. Are there any attempts to look at the fact that 46% of Idaho Falls, which largely makes up District 33, is asset-limited, income-constrained, employed? It doesn’t seem to matter to our “representatives,” especially those who are more concerned with using predatory debt collection practices to squeeze their constituents over medical debt.

According to Boise State University’s 2020 public policy survey, the top issues in the state are growth, education, economy/jobs, affordable housing and healthcare.

So, in light of this, what are our District 33 House “representatives” up to? Well, not taking care of any of those items that impact their constituents. Instead, they’re focused on pushing legislation that reflects an extremist agenda that most regular Idahoans aren’t interested in.

Even Mark Peters, the director at the INL, is concerned about the turn things have taken in the Idaho House of Representatives. Recently, he sent a letter to Speaker Bedke, expressing the Lab’s interest in diversity and inclusion and voicing concern that the steps taken by the House don’t reflect Idaho’s values of “universal kindness, generosity and fairness.”

Rather than looking at data to find solutions to actual issues Idahoans care about, our District 33 House “representatives” are pushing ideological legislation that creates problems where none existed before.

Rep. Ehardt’s bill targeting transgender athletes ignores more than 100 years of science that has already shown that hormonal and chromosomal testing is inadequate. It also ignores the fact that high school and college sporting associations already have guidelines in place to manage the issue — guidelines that don’t involve unnecessary, invasive and privacy-destroying examinations on teenage girls.

Rep. Zollinger’s bill claims that it will “save lives,” but the reality is that these bills have the opposite effect to the one he purports to support. The data indicate that reducing public funding for things like cancer screenings, preventative care and other services only punishes the poor. And let’s not pretend this about abortion. Laws that restrict abortion actually lead to increases in the procedure. If your policy aim is to actually reduce abortion, comprehensive sex ed (which Rep. Ehardt is trying to limit) and affordable birth control are the things that actually work.

Why are our “representatives” so reluctant to actually represent us? What are they afraid of? Or do they just not care?