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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Vito Barbieri

Rep. Barbieri calls on Christians to pull their kids from Idaho’s ‘Godless’ public schools

Rep. Vito Barbieri is defending a statement he posted on his re-election campaign website in which he called on Christians to pull their children out of Idaho's “Godless” public schools. In a debate between Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, and his Democratic challenger Cheryl Stransky, also from Dalton Gardens, on TV Channel 19 that's now posted on the city of Coeur d'Alene's website, Barbieri was asked about this statement he's posted on his website regarding public schools: “One more thing: If you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and God, then pull your kids out of that Godless institution.”
Barbieri told questioners from the Coeur Group that he stands by the statement. “My words exactly,” he said. He said he wants to push legislation to direct state funds to private schools through a new tax credit, to “allow an alternative to this public school system that is certainly serving a purpose, but there are questions about the curriculum, and that's what I'm concerned with.” Stransky differed sharply, saying, “Public education is the great equalizer in this country, it has always been, and I think it needs to stay that way.”

You can read my full Sunday column here from Sunday's Spokesman-Review. To see the 15-minute debate between the two candidates, along with debates in other Kootenai County legislative and local races, go to the city's website,, and click on “TV Channel 19.”

Rep. Barbieri leaning against bringing new nullification bill this year

Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, who unsuccessfully pushed legislation last year to “nullify” the federal health care reform law, now says he's leaning toward holding off on another similar push this year. Barbieri said he's being encouraged to propose the legislation again to take advantage of the issue's “momentum,” but said, “Since the Supreme Court has it, I'm reticent to jump back in again. … I think we need to just hold off, cool our heels, and wait to see.” He said he's still discussing the issue with other backers of the idea.

By the way, here's Barbieri's reaction to the announcement of Hayden-area businessman Mark Fisher that he'll challenge Barbieri in this year's GOP primary: “It's too bad that the Republicans are divided. If he really wants to throw his time and money away to run, he should certainly be free to do that. I'm quite confident with the support I have up there that I should have no trouble winning with a substantial margin.”

Hart, Barbieri draw challenges in GOP primary

Two longtime Hayden-area businessmen have announced their candidacies against Idaho Reps. Phil Hart and Vito Barbieri in the GOP primary. Ed Morse, who is challenging Hart, is a real estate appraiser and consultant and board member of the Reagan Republicans group; Mark Fisher, challenging Barbieri, runs an employee benefits insurance and consulting firm and is a past president of the local Rotary Club. The two, who held a joint announcement last month at a Hayden deli, say they offer practical solutions to the North Idaho district's problems, from jobs to regulations, rather than ideological crusades with little impact. Hart is the tax-protesting lawmaker who's still fighting back state and federal income taxes; Barbieri, whom Hart recruited to run, is a first-term lawmaker who's pushed for nullification of federal health-care laws. You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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