Vote Paulette JORDAN for IDAHO Benewah and Latah Counties

Paulette Jordan, age 34, a long time Idahoan, born and raised in Northern Idaho, points to her experience to guide her in bringing balance to the State Legislature while advancing the interests of her district.

Jordan is a native and life-long resident of Idaho, as well as an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, who has been involved in local politics and community activism for years. She has served three years as the youngest elected member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Council.  Follow her on Facebook.

Ms. Jordan, who holds three degrees from the University of Washington, and a Certificate of Study in Conflict Resolutions and Strategic Negotiations from The Washington Center in Washington D.C., is a strong voice and advocate of issues that matter most to the local community.banner6v2

Education, jobs and the economy are major priorities for Jordan, who aims to strengthen education and prioritize resources for Idaho schools. Her focus is to also promote economic opportunities that strike an important balance between industry and appropriate protections for local property owners and our unique quality of life.

Ms. Jordan maintains activity with both state and county interests.  Currently, Jordan serves on a variety of committees, boards and councils such as the Idaho Heritage Trust Council as an At-Large Trustee and a Regional Board member to the Northwest Disability Action Center striving to improve the lives of veterans, seniors and youth with disabilities. She has also served as Precinct Chair and continues to serve as the State Committeewoman for Benewah County. Ms. Jordan has twice been elected to represent Idaho as the Idaho State At-Large Delegate for the Democratic National Convention, and has been a National Committeewoman for the Idaho Young Democrats.

In addition, Jordan is currently serving her third elected term as the Gaming Co-Chair for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians representing 56 regional tribes and a Northwest Representative Executive Board Member for the National Indian Gaming Association, which represents 186 Tribal Nations throughout the U.S. The Association serves to advance community developments and promote tribal self-sufficiency through economic growth, as well as broaden tribal economic impacts made throughout each state, creating jobs and expanding education opportunities for every community.  Jordan was also appointed by the Executive Board to serve as the Finance Chair overseeing executive operations on behalf of the national organization.

Ms. Jordan continues to stay active with her public and private business developments as a steadfast business strategist.  Jordan is a longtime advocate for human rights and is active in her local community.  She is engaged with local organizations for veterans, youth and education. She enjoys mentoring and tutoring young people.  She is also called upon frequently as a national speaker on economic development and youth leadership.

Paulette resides in the countryside of northern Idaho enjoying motherhood, playing sports, riding horseback and outings appreciating the great outdoors with family and friends.


Join #idleg candidate Travis Manning @ManningforIdaho and gubernatorial candidate @AJforIdaho Balukoff this Monday #Caldwell



Join Travis Manning and Idaho gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff this Monday, 4 to 5 pm in Caldwell.

All political parties are invited.

Feel free to bring questions for us. Free Mexican food!

Travis Manning:

For over 20 years, Travis Manning’s honesty and hard work have helped thousands of kids and made his communities, and Idaho, a better place.

Travis, 43, and wife Ann moved to Idaho 9 years ago because they thought it was the best place to raise a family.  Travis and Ann have 3 children, the twin boys, Cael and Whitaker age 4, and their adopted daughter from China, Eliza, 3, adopted during his first run for the Idaho House in 2012.  He is an Eagle Scout and former high school wrestling standout from Tacoma, Washington who has deep Idaho roots, and graduated from now BYU-Idaho in 1993.

As a teacher and community builder, Travis is active in his teacher organization serving on numerous committees.  He has been a Scout leader for much of his adult life.  And he has helpedsmallmug watchdog our democracy as Executive Director of The Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, enabling parents, teachers and community members to learn and speak out about our public schools and how we can better protect them.  He has been a voice for those who were afraid to speak out.

Travis has worked to shape the character of Idaho’s greatest natural resource: our kids.  He has been a public voice of reason with the op-eds he has written in newspapers statewide.  He has worked with legislators from both parties to make sure the voices of Idaho citizens are heard at the statehouse.

Travis Manning applies the same basic values to everything he does:  Act responsibly.  Speak truth to power.  Put other people first.  Support fair treatment and respect for all Idahoans.  As a principled leader, it is why he has been able to make such a difference in the lives of thousands of kids he has worked with over the years and it is why he will be able to make such a difference for Caldwell, and why he will be able to do even more as the next Representative in Caldwell’s District 10 seat A.



A.J. Balukoff:

AJ writes: More than 30 years ago, my wife Susie and I moved to Idaho because we believed it was the best place in the country to raise our children. Over the years, our family has enjoyed Idaho’s natural beauty and its culture, and I’ve had the good fortune to build a successful business and serve on the boards of several organizations. We have proudly watched our family grow to eight children and 30 grandchildren.

But now I see how our state government has neglected our public schools for far too many years and the toll that has taken on our great state, and I worry about the future facing my grandchildren and all of Idaho’s children.  And state economic policies are making it harder than ever for families to make ends meet.

That is why I’m running for governor.

While traveling around Idaho, I have heard from many Idahoans who are deeply worried about critical issues like our education system and economy. I’ve heard people talk about the urgent need for transparency, balance, and accountability in state government.

Unfortunately, Gov. Otter and other state leaders continue to focus on issues that polarize and divide people rather than bring us together. Many of these issues have no impact on most Idahoans. But they take time, energy, and resources away from the important issues: education and economy.

Idaho ranks 50th in the nation in the amount we invest in each student. We rank 47th in the rate of high school graduates who go on to college. State cuts in education spending have forced 40 districts to hold school only four days a week.

Education and our economy go hand in hand. We are  50th in the nation in per-capita income, and second in minimum-wage jobs. Idahoans are commuting out of state or working two jobs to make ends meet. The lack of good-paying jobs is undermining ourwonderful quality of living.

This is unacceptable.

balukoffimageAs a certified public accountant for many years, and a businessman, and as a member of the board of several organizations, including St. Luke’s Treasure Valley, the Boise Philharmonic, and Boy Scouts of America, I have always recommended actions and policies that are fiscally sound.

As governor, I will use those same values and priorities to set policies that make sense for Idaho—not just fiscally and economically, but also for the people of Idaho. I will focus on the concerns of hardworking Idahoans, and listen to the public and key stakeholders rather than signing laws that ignore important voices. I am running for governor to restore balance, transparency, and accountability to our statehouse.

My father had only an eighth-grade education, but he insisted that each of us kids get a good education. I was the first of my grandfather’s descendants to obtain a college degree. I want to ensure that every Idaho child has an equal opportunity for a quality education.

With your support and our shared vision, we will restore the greatness of the beautiful state of Idaho.


Does this seem ethical to you?

edbd1a09-f86e-4264-a63c-5a9e5febb565Is it legal for the Speaker of the Idaho House to push a bill through the State Legislature on behalf of a development company only after that company fires a political opponent and hires a political ally?

The answer is yes.

Is it ethical?  You be the judge.

Back in 2007, a California development company pushed for a bill that would allow it to pay for an interchange on I-90 with the sales tax collected at a yet-to-be-built Cabela’s store located next to the interchange.

The bill appeared to be going nowhere. Then the company asked Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney for advice. Soon after, the company fired its lobbyist, a established moderate Republican who opposed Denney’s run for speaker, and hired Julie Ellsworth, a Denney supporter and former House member who lost her seat four months earlier.

After that, the bill sailed through the legislature.

The appearance of impropriety prompted calls for a “cooling off” period, a mandatory two-year break between legislating and lobbying.

Denney would have none of it. “I have no desire to dictate who can and cannot get a job working as a lobbyist,” he opined.

Days later, Denney changed his mind, announcing that he would co-sponsor a “cooling off” bill. He did so tepidly. ‘‘I’m still not sure it’s necessary, but in this business, perception is reality,’’ he said. 

Unfortunately, the bill came too late in the session. It died in committee without a hearing.

The next year, a similar bill was referred to committee at the beginning of the session where it sat for months before dying without a hearing.

Give Denney credit. He’s right. Perception is reality in the business of government. Idaho’s Secretary of State’s office has a long tradition of honesty and impartiality. The Gem State doesn’t need that tarnished with cronyism and malfeasance.

Idaho needs somebody with the reputation of fairness and honesty.

Idaho needs Holli Woodings for Secretary of State.

Heidi Knittel for Senate Dist. 12 Endorsed by Idaho Education Association (IEA)

Heidi-Knittel-for-Senate-1Nampa, Idaho — Heidi Knittel, Idaho State Senate Candidate, District 12, has been endorsed by the Idaho Education Association (IEA) and Nampa Education Association (NEA). “It is an honor to be recognized by this esteemed, 120-year strong organization.” Knittel said, referring to the Education Association.

Knittel supports IEA’s vision to deliver on their promise of a great public school for every Idaho student. “Public education is the gateway to opportunity. It is vital to prepare our students to succeed in a competitive and diverse world,” Knittel said, concurring with an IEA Core Values.

Knittel understands that, in order to meet their vision, education professionals must be championed at the Legislative level. As State Senator, Knittel plans to do just that. “I will continue to advocate for educator’s rights, including restored education funding, increased teacher base salary and more opportunities for professional development.”

Heidi Knittel is 42 years old, lives and works in Nampa and has a master’s degree in psychology. She is running for Idaho State Senate District 12. Her decision to run was born out of her experience as a program director at a small, Nampa business, where she speaks on behalf of Idaho’s most vulnerable citizens.

As a mental healthcare professional for more than a decade, Heidi has been a passionate advocate in the citizen legislative process to help her clients have better futures. She has navigated Idaho’s sometimes slow-moving bureaucracies to help Idaho’s vulnerable citizens. She has participated in public meetings impacting clients, sponsored by agencies such as Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare.

Heidi is a member of the Mental Health Providers Association of Idaho (MHPAI) and the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH). She serves on the committee of Idaho KIDS COUNT.

For more information, see:

Tamara Code Speaks Out About Conditions at Bannock County Fairgrounds in Downey

codeforcommissioner-headshot-635388972890300000The lack of maintenance for many years has caused the ground to become unsafe for spectators and activity participants.

The candidate for Bannock County Commision, District 1;  says:

I recently made a trip to Downey to  tour the Bannock County South Fairgrounds.  I was shocked by what I found. The state of disrepair of the facility due to the continued lack of presence or concern by the existing commissioners and poor oversight of the tax dollars earmarked for our fairgrounds.  I believe the buck stops at the top and excuses that blame subordinate staff don’t hold water.


The lack of maintenance for many years has caused the ground to become unsafe for spectators and activity participants.  The arena is full of very hard soil as well as rocks. As I walked across the arena, the ground was so hard I did not even leave footprints. It was clear the arena was not safe for any animal or human participant to ride or race without the potential for a devastating injury or loss.

Some of the issues initially seem cosmetic but as my tour, hosted by Mayor Dennis Phillips and Joel continued, the seriousness of the problems was obvious.  The fencing is not adequate to keep the rough stock away from spectators.  There has been a half-hearted attempt to rectify this situation with new fencing erected along the street but it has not been repaired in the more critical area between the holding pens and the spectator area. Pens have gates hanging from them instead of being attached.  There was some evidence of one stall having been used recently without authorization.  It was left unclean and no rental payment was made to the county for the use.  With no way to police the area or support maintenance staff, secure gates should be in place to keep people from using county facilities without payment.  This unauthorized use just adds to the cost of maintenance and drives down the value of facilities for tourism dollars.

As I traversed the grounds, I noticed a large piece of the roof was missing and lying upside down next the hole it had left.  For such an easy repair, I was surprised a potentially dangerous object like this was left with the strong winds we have in the area.  Along with the broken roof, the buildings have peeling metal around the base and the sides.  The rooftops of all the buildings show damage as well.

The new covered arena is very nice but the covering already has rips and tears.  If these go without repair, they will expand until the entire cover needs to be replaced.  Inside this arena the dirt is so fine that a large cloud of dust rises in the air just from walking. Can you imagine how dusty it is with horses and other animals running through it? This arena was a very good idea, which probably cost a lot of money, but  due to the lack of simple maintenance, it very well could become unusable in a few short years. Poor planning and budgeting leads to even more waste.

The restrooms were locked but both of the gentlemen with me kept mentioning how bad they were.  If men notice how bad the bathrooms are, they must be bad, indeed.

The grandstands were lacking many things.  When the bleachers break, as many sections have, instead of replacing the broken boards, a 2 x 8 is just nailed on top of the broken board. The bleachers bend and flex when you walk on them. In one area, a piece of rebar is sticking out right in front of the lowest seating area. This is definitely unsafe if a child or adult were to trip and fall toward the fencing.  I am appalled at the neglect of protections for human and animal safety that has gone unchecked and unresolved by the Commissioners.

The available handicapped access is below standards and ADA requirements with the single access ramp at the end of one grandstand, ending with nowhere for a wheelchair to be placed. Having gone through an ADA training session in the past, this becomes clear to me as another half-hearted attempt to resolve an issue with a temporary patch instead of a real solution.

There is debris and garbage all over the grounds and in the bleachers. Now I understand that the wind blows in Idaho, but using workers in the Sheriff’s Commissioner’s Inmate Labor Detail Program (SCILD) once a month would eliminate this portion of the maintenance cost while utilizing the valuable county asset of the SCILD program. Weeds are overtaking many areas and it is clear that the grounds are not watered with any consistency.  A brand new patch of grass which was paid for by a grant from the Ifft Foundation is also suffering from the same story of neglect, and it would be a great loss to the County’s future access to beautification funds if it were allowed to die because it has no water or care.

The solutions for so many of these issues are clear.  While not everything can be done at once, it is clear that the current state of the fairgrounds is not the result of one season or one year of neglect but many years of not caring for this property for it to sink into this level of disrepair.  I believe in planning and, with a comprehensive plan, this area can once again be a property the County can take pride in.

As I was growing up in Jerome, the annual county fair was the high point of a summer of hard work for all of us enrolled in 4-H. Downey is home to many 4-H groups and should be encouraged to keep up this tradition. The rural nature of the Downey area is a great home for healthy activities for our youth.  Showing responsibility through animal ownership is a fantastic way to instill a work ethic in kids.  This life style will encourage them to put down the video games and smart phones, and enjoy a healthy, active life.

In a community the size of Downey, events at the local fairgrounds can bring in a significant amount of economic stimulus.  If enough paying events were brought into the area, the county should at least be able to clear enough funds to maintain the facilities. It may not turn a profit but it should help to cover maintenance costs.  According to Idaho Statutes, Title 31 Chapter 8 31-822, the Commission is charged with the maintenance of the fairground site and regulation of its use.  To do anything less is clearly not in the best interests of their constituents.

As your Commissioner, I will take an active role in the fairgrounds.  It is simply tragic to see a way of life and time-honored tradition in our community be threatened because no one is paying attention. The South County Fair is a a worthy event that needs to be preserved. Adequate maintenance not only makes sense – it is the right thing to do.  Hold your commission accountable for the things they are required to do by Idaho Statute.

I invite you to view the gallery of images I photographed while at the Fairgrounds in Downey.  I welcome your thoughts and ideas, not only on how to prevent such problems in the future, but also solutions.

How to turn a state liberal

Colorado’s progressive miracle is a road map to a much brighter America. Here are 9 steps behind the transformation

As Colorado goes, so goes the nation. With the culture and demographics of the Intermountain West so rapidly changing, this motto about my home state has become conventional wisdom in national electoral politics, and for good reason. After all, the square state is the capital of the so-called Rocky Mountain Empire, a region that is fast becoming the political equivalent of a test market for the whole country. And if it is true that the way Colorado goes is the way the nation as a whole goes, then America better get ready for some extremely large changes.

Part of Colorado’s story of change comes from the statehouse where Democrats control both the governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature. But as much of the story comes from outside the Capitol, where organic grass-roots uprisings are obliterating old political assumptions.

For decades, this was a state whose electoral topography was reliable Republican and whose politics was dominated by an unholy coalition of cultural conservatives and oil and gas interests. In the 1980s and 1990s, it became the national conservative movement in a microcosmic petri dish, passing socially conservative constitutional amendments and a so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights aimed at pulverizing the public sector.

Read the full article by

But Don’t Republicans Love “Responsibility?”

Someone needs to ask Wayne Hoffman!

According to KBOI:

It’s 80 pages of purported waste and ineffectual government spending.

It’s called the 2011 Idaho Report on Government Waste and it’s put out by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit governmental watchdog group. Inside the huge report is page after page of citations, research and advice from experts who say various programs in Idaho’s schools, pension programs and urban renewal plans are ineffectual across the state.

Wayne Hoffman is Executive Director of the group.

“I still read it and I get angry,” Hoffman said. “I’m sitting here looking at all these expenses tax payers are putting their money into and I’m saying why? Why are we doing this and what can we do?”

The following response wins the award for Quote of the Week:

(Butch Otter’s) State of the State address lacked vision, substantive ideas, and a plan for the future. Here’s what puzzles me: Republicans have controlled the Statehouse with large majorities for 16 years. How is that government became so “bloated” on their watch? (emphasis added). And regarding the “proper role of govt.,” since when is educating kids, ensuring the public’s safety, and protecting our most vulnerable citizens improper?

– Brian Cronin, Idaho House of Representatives, Boise District 19B.

Who has been sailing Idaho’s spending ship?

Budget holdbacks are a legacy of GOP’s tax-shifting policies

The Idaho Democratic Party today criticized state Republicans for undermining Idaho’s once-stable finances and shifting the state’s tax burden onto Idaho families and homeowners.

“It’s true that these are difficult times for individuals and government, but based on their tax-shifting track record, Republicans cannot be trusted to do what needs to be done in a fair and family-friendly way,” Idaho Democratic Party Chairman R. Keith Roark said after Gov. Butch Otter ordered further budget holdbacks this morning.

“For years, Idaho Republicans have been giving special tax breaks to huge corporations at the expense of Idaho families, neighborhood schools and homegrown businesses, which have seen their state taxes climb more than three times as fast as corporations over the past decade.

We’re now seeing the full impact of that decision, and it’s not pretty,” Roark added. Roark also pointed out the irony of the holdback request at a time when the Republican Party has wasted time and taxpayer money on a still-pending lawsuit to close its primary election.

“Idaho families, communities and businesses will struggle with these cuts, yet Idaho Republicans apparently have plenty of time and money to waste on their effort to disenfranchise Idaho voters,” he said. “Once again, Idaho Republicans are displaying their misplaced priorities and lack of leadership while Idahoans continue to struggle with the economic downturn,” Roark said.

“With another tough legislative year looming, we can only hope that the Republican power struggles don’t lead to a repeat of the near-record-setting 2009 session, because Idaho can’t afford it.”

Democrats outline health insurance guarantees to benefit everyone

Much of the healthcare reform debate has focused on the 47 million Americans who lack health insurance. But reform isn’t only about the people who don’t have insurance. It’s about those who have coverage, said R. Keith Roark, chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party.

“Hysteria over healthcare reform is being driven by Republicans and their allies in big out-of-state insurance and pharmaceutical companies who have a huge stake in keeping the status quo,” Roark said. “It’s unconscionable that rather than try to guarantee better healthcare for everyone, including the millions of Americans who like their insurance, Idaho Republicans are resorting to lies about what reform will mean for Idaho families and businesses. Fear mongering won’t obscure what the vast majority of our citizens know: The healthcare system is broken, and if we don’t fix it now, it will get worse. ”

Roark added that most insured Americans are satisfied with the coverage they have, but many people have concerns about losing coverage if they become sick, lose their job, move to a new job or launch a business of their own. That’s why Democrats including President Barack Obama and Congressman Walt Minnick agree on these Eight Health Insurance Guarantees that must be part of any reform legislation passed this year:

1) No discrimination for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing coverage because of medical history.

2) No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays. Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

3) No cost sharing for preventive care. Insurance companies must fully cover – without charge – regular checkups and tests that help prevent illness, including mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

4) No dropping of coverage for seriously ill. Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or lessening coverage for people who become seriously ill.

5) No gender discrimination. Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging people more because of their gender.

6) No annual or lifetime caps on coverage. Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage people receive.

7) Extended coverage for young adults. Children will be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

8) Guaranteed insurance renewal. Insurance companies will be required to renew a policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won’t be allowed to refuse renewal if someone becomes sick.

“These principles will hold the insurance companies accountable, and end the unscrupulous business practices that lead to windfall profits for health insurance executives and poorer health outcomes for everyone else,” Roark said.

People interested in sorting out fact from fiction in health insurance reform can get information at a new website,