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Boise Weekly: The Freshman 16

I've never known Luke Malek to be a separatist, but there he was on Feb. 13, the newly elected representative from Coeur d'Alene, standing at a podium flanked by fellow freshman House members and announcing to the press that he'd crafted a “trailer” bill to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter's state-based health insurance exchange proposal. As in the past, President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act has sent the GOP into a tizzy. … The hard-right wing of the Idaho GOP is so set against health care reform that it doesn't even support Otter's idea for a state-based exchange—a plan that falls short of the governor's own initial saber rattling about suing the feds. For the ideologues, the ultimate solution is nullification; and we all know how well that worked for the South back in the 1800s. Malek's proposal, meanwhile, is modest: more oversight of the exchange, including by legislators/Zach Hagadone, Boise Weekly. More here.

DFO: I agree with Zach Hagadone that Malek appears to offer a pinprick of common sense among a group of North Idaho legislators who are trying to out-Tea Party one another. (BTW, I hear that 17-18 Hard Right types met Tuesday night out of concern that Luke and Rep. Ed Morse are standing with the governor on Obamacare.)

Question: Which Kootenai County representatives value their constituents as a whole rather than Hard Right ideology?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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