Posts tagged: Idaho Democrats
The newly formed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Caucus will be holding a “Coming Out” membership drive to coincide with the 25th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. The party is Friday at 6 p.m. at Solid in Downtown Boise. National Coming Out day is celebrated by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. This year’s theme is “Coming Out Still Matters.” “Holding our Coming Out Party on National Coming Out Day is deliberate and symbolic,” said LGBTA Caucus Vice Chair Matthew Montoya in a news release. “Our intent is to raise awareness of the basic civil rights people are working worldwide to secure for the LGBT community, and to promote awareness of LGBT families being able to live honest and open lives. The principles behind this day align perfectly with our mission statement and the goals we are working toward.” The LGBTA Caucus is one of six interest-group caucuses in the Idaho Democratic Party/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
One of the nation’s weakest Democratic parties says it’s getting stronger, in part because of new caucuses representing business, youth, women, veterans, Latinos, Mormons and LGBTA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender). On Friday, the party begins a nine-city string of caucus meetings that run through July 27. “The Idaho Democratic Party is growing and these caucuses are bringing new energy,” says a state party news release which invites people to attend and join local caucuses. Starting Friday at 5 p.m. at the University of Idaho, caucus meetings will be held in Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Plummer, Lewiston, Twin Falls, Hailey, Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Boise/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you think the Idaho Democratic Party is getting stronger?
Democrats have three or four potential candidates for governor, and another three or four people looking at a run for superintendent of public instruction, state party chairman Larry Kenck says. “I am really amazed and excited,” Kenck told Idaho Education News on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a very good election season.” But if you want names, you’re going to have to wait for some other day. Last week, Kenck called out Gov. Butch Otter and state superintendent Tom Luna, saying the Republican incumbents have “embraced a sink-or-swim approach to education”/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.
DFO: As you know, Duane Rasmussen does a superb job producing photos for HBO, including many of Republican events. I doubt that Duane, the good conservative that he is, can bring himself to cover Democratic events. Yet, I'd like to get photos from Democratic events, if anyone is willing to provide good ones for me.
Question: Who would be a good Democratic candidate for governor? Superintendent of schools?
Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Kenck says Republicans in the Legislature are scared to take up Medicaid expansion bills because they fear “blowback from their ‘return to the gold standard’ faction.” With Friday’s hoped-for adjournment dashed by Wednesday’s Senate defeat of the K-12 budget, Kenck urges citizens to pressure lawmakers over the weekend to reconsider and agree to take up two bills that a state-commissioned study estimates would save property taxpayers $478 million over 10 years. The expansion would add federally subsidized health insurance for about 100,000 low-income Idahoans, lifting the burden from county taxpayers. Delaying six months beyond Jan. 1, 2014, will cost taxpayers an estimated $41 million, according to Gov. Butch Otter’s Medicaid Expansion Workgroup/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Are Republican legislators too afraid to take up an issue that will help the state's poor but alienate the noisy Fringe Right in their party?
The great thing about the United States is that voters have the last word. And that should give many Idaho GOP candidates pause. Think of the sinking feeling that Rep. Phil Hart (pictured), the timber thief and tax cheat from North Idaho, must have felt as this year’s primary approached. No amount of help from GOP bosses could stop voters from holding him to account. No amount of help can save flawed candidates like District 10’s Brandon Hixon of Canyon County. You would think with all the ethics problems in the GOP, they would be concerned about how their candidates behave. Former Sen. John McGee was a punch line for the rest of the state, but in Canyon County he was a punch in the gut/Chairman Larry Grant, Idaho Democratic Party. More here.
Question: Who is the worst candidate, either major party, running for the Idaho Legislature this fall?
First-time Democratic candidate Jimmy Farris has a buoyant 60-second spot that he hopes will air this fall in his race against freshman GOP Congressman Raul Labrador. Titled, “A Future Leader, Now,” the video is available only on the Web. Farris raised about $37,000 through June 30, compared to Labrador’s $628,000 raised and $203,000 in the bank. Farris said Wednesday that he still plans to tap his roots as a former NFL player and needs to spend $300,000 to be competitive. His newcomer status has been a hurdle, Farris said, though he says he’s raised his profile with retail campaigning in recent months. He hopes to reach $150,000 in contributions by Sept. 30. “Now when I’m making phone calls people know who I am,” Farris said. Farris had hoped his NFL connections would be pivotal, but he has received just $4,000 from four contributors: $500 each from NFL veterans Alge Crumpler, Bryan Scott and Ryan Stewart, and $2,500 from Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP photo of Farris in 2000 during his days as a Montana Grizzly)
Question: Farris probably won't upset well-heeled Congressman Raul Labrador. But do you consider it a good sign for Idaho Democrats that they're able to attract new, young blood to run for office?
Idaho Democrats are getting ready to gather in Boise for the party's 2012 convention. Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant says the agenda for the three-day event includes selecting delegates to attend the party's national convention later this summer and hammering out a platform. Top Democratic officials, legislative and congressional candidates and party representatives from all 44 counties are expected to attend and help shape the state party's plans for the next two years. Friday's keynote speaker is Jimmy Farris, a former NFL player who is running against Republican Raul Labrador in Idaho's 1st Congressional District. On Saturday, former state Sen. Nicole LeFavour will talk about her race against GOP Rep. Mike Simpson in the 2nd Congressional District/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Will this be the beginning of a revival of the Idaho Democrat Party? Or an exercise in futility?
Idaho Democrats will caucus on Saturday morning to select their presidential delegates, and they're inviting folks to join them at the gatherings in each Idaho county. At locations from Mugsy's Tavern in Bonners Ferry to the Morrison Center in Boise, Dems will gather at 10 a.m. local time — meaning the doors will close then, so those who want to participate should arrive before that hour; you can read my full story here in today's Spokesman-Review. “People who turn out are people that are excited to be Democrats, they're excited to have a Democratic president to support, and this is their chance to do it,” said state party spokesman Dean Ferguson. “I'd expect quite a bit of enthusiasm.” Ada County Democratic Chair Colleen Fellows said, “This will be an exciting up-beat rally atmosphere”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (AP photo: Bette Inseth, left, and Albert Wilkerson go over paperwork at the 2008 Idaho Democratic Caucus at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds)
Question: Do you plan to participate in the Idaho Democratic caucuses?
House Democratic Leader John Rusche is euphoric about what he sees as a rare chance: his party winning seats in the Legislature with an incumbent Democratic president atop the ticket. Rusche concedes President Barack Obama’s unpopularity in Idaho but says the GOP’s effort to mandate ultrasounds before an abortion might be trump. “They played special-interest social politics and forgot the people care about their personal freedom,” Rusche said. “The response in the House wasn’t anything but a response to the massive outpouring from basically women and Republican women.” Fearing a rout at the polls, House Republicans revolted last month after the Senate passed Senate Bill 1387, denying the bill a hearing. Sponsors, however, say they’ll be back in 2013, keeping the issue alive for the November election/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you see Idaho Democrats picking up seats in the 2013 Legislature as a result of the battle over pre-abortion ultrasound during the last session?
Idaho's Senate minority leadership has filed an ethics complaint against Senate Resources Chairman Monty Pearce (pictured), R-New Plymouth, alleging that he voted 22 times on oil and gas issues before finally disclosing, before the Senate's final vote on HB 464, that he had a conflict of interest in that he had oil and gas leases on his land in Payette County. Senate ethics rules permit senators to vote despite a conflict, after having disclosed it. Pearce told Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker today that he had simply not thought about the potential conflict until the final vote, and had held the leases since the 1980s. “I vote on an animal cruelty bill and I have animals,” he told Barker. “I vote on water rights and I’ve got water rights”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: What chance does an ethics complain from Democrats have to get traction in the Idaho Legislature — slim or none?
The Idaho Democratic Party has issued its second correction in two weeks, this time correcting a guest opinion it distributed earlier today from party Chairman Larry Grant that said proceeds from former Congressman Bill Sali's proposed special license plate “would go to Sali's recently formed non-profit foundation of which he, his wife and his nephew are paid employees.” The Dems have corrected the opinion to say instead that the three are the “sole members of the board of directors”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Do Idaho Dems deserve a tsk-tsk for the mistakes? Or an attaboy for correcting them promply?
in his St. Maries Gazette Record column, Chris Carlson notes how Idaho D's have drifted “away from common sense conservation, balanced budgets, continuing investment in Idaho education and protecting the values which make Idaho such a great place to live. Instead, being on the correct side of hot button issues such as abortion, guns and more wilderness became the goal of what other Idahoans perceived as a party growing out of touch and into the hands of the “wine and cheese” liberal set as represented by multi-millionaires living in Blaine County.” From the mid 90’s on, he continues, Idaho Democrats have appeared hell bent on narrowing their base of support. The voters noted and duly administered rebukes which should have awakened the D’s but so far haven’t. Now, corrupted by power, Carlson says, the GOP hell bent on narrowing its base. More here.
Question: Are Idaho Republicans immune from a voter backlash?
Gov. Butch Otter’s recruitment of John Foster, a former Idaho Democratic Party executive director, suggests Otter is taking seriously his promise to defend “Students Come First” at the polls Nov. 6. The news, rumored the past two weeks, prompted anger and disappointment in Democratic circles, where repealing the three 2011 laws authored by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is a litmus test. In addition to a mandate for online classes, the laws restrict collective bargaining to salaries and benefits and enact pay-for-performance. “It has changed and is gonna change the complexion and effectiveness of education in Idaho, big time,” Otter said. “In order to be successful, you gotta get the best people”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Will John Foster be a man without a party when the dust settles? Or will he continue to gravitate toward Republicans?
The Idaho Democratic Party issued a statement this afternoon decrying the latest move by Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko (pictured) and GOP House Speaker Lawerence Denney to attempt to fire their two appointees to the state's bipartisan citizen redistricting commission. “Make no mistake, this is a Republican against Republican fight and a clear example of the unacceptable culture in the GOP-controlled Statehouse. That culture is one of ongoing bullying and arrogance as GOP leaders seek to purge moderate, reasonable lawmakers from their ranks,” the Dems' statement said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Aiming to leverage their limited numbers to win hearings on Democratic priorities, House Minority Leader John Rusche suggested Tuesday that his most-liberal members could vote with the most-conservative Republicans against creating a state-run health insurance exchange. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter wants to use $20.3 million in federal funding to establish an Idaho exchange, the online marketplace foreseen by the 2010 federal health care overhaul to help uninsured individuals and small businesses compare and buy coverage. But to do it, Otter needs at least 36 votes in the 70-member House. With many of the 57 GOP members, especially arch conservatives, likely to reject using federal money on philosophical grounds, Rusche, D-Lewiston, said his 13-member caucus could play a crucial role/John Miller, AP. More here.
Question: What do you make of the strategy outlined above of liberal Democrats joining hard line Republicans to block a state-run health insurance exchange?
It is unfortunate that the “new normal” the Governor spoke of today, doesn’t include addressing the culture of corruption that is tolerated by our GOP leadership. The first item of business that the 2012 Idaho Legislature needs to address should be cleaning house. While we are pleased that Governor Otter has finally joined the Idaho Democratic Party in addressing Idahoans top priorities such as job creation, education and healthcare, the most important part of today’s State of the State address was what he didn’t say. He did not say anything about ethics. The Majority Party needs to get their house in order and then they can move on to to the important issues of job creation, the health care exchange, and budget discussions. Idaho Democratic legislators have been pushing for this since 2005/Idaho Democratic Party news release. More here.
Question: Should Gov. Otter have included a statement re: legislative ethics in his State of the State message?
Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have chosen to play “partisan games” over supporting a bill that would have created some 6,200 jobs in Idaho, the state Democratic Party said today. The Republicans voted against bill Thursday to funding teaching and first responders' jobs. “It is pretty obvious that the Republicans don’t want to do anything to improve the economy before the 2012 elections,” state party chairman Larry Grant said. “But the only way we are going to help the people of Idaho is if our lawmakers do the job they were elected to and fund education and infrastructure. Idahoans don’t need political games, they need jobs”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.\
Question: Do you agree/disagree with the position that Idaho's U.S. senators took on jobs bill?
“This week Congressman Raul Labrador voted to let America default on its debt for the first time in history, an act that would have plunged us back into recession. He has worked all week to find additional votes for the bill to ensure its passage and then turned around and voted against it. This vote is consistent with his history of flip flopping. At a recent interview on Meet the Press, Representative Raúl Labrador falsely claimed he supports closing loopholes saying, 'I am for getting rid of the loopholes'” — Idaho Democrats press release from Kevin Richert's blog. More here.
Question: Did newby Congressman Raul Labrador help or hurt himself with his no vote on the debt ceiling legislation?
At a congressional forum in 2006 in Post Falls (from left): Robert Vasquez, Sheila Sorensen, Norm Semanko, Bill Sali, Dave Olson, Cecil Kelly, Keith Johnson, Andy Hedden-Nicely and Skip Brandt. Larry Grant missed to forum. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Idaho's current Democratic and Republican party chairmen shared a stage for the first time today at the Boise City Club, and some sparks did fly. The two started off with a shared experience: “We both lost to Bill Sali in 2006,” said GOP Chairman Norm Semanko, who lost to Sali in the 1st District GOP primary that year, while current Democratic Chairman Larry Grant fell to Sali in the general election. “Norm and I did both lose,” Grant said, “and you might conclude from that that the penalty for losing a congressional race is to become the chairman of the party”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Who would win a WWF cage match between Norm Semanko and Larry Grant?
Item: Dean: Democrats must be smarter about their message/Nick Rotunno, Coeur d'Alene Press
More Info: He encouraged simple Democratic messages - money management, for instance, and fairness in society - and repetition of those messages. “The 857th time that you're saying the same thing is the first time a lot of people are hearing you,” Dean said. On the issues of abortion, immigration and gay marriage, he once again stressed simplicity. Republicans, he said, are very concise when describing their anti-abortion stance: Life begins at conception. When advocating for pro-choice, Democrats should be equally clear-cut.
Question: Will the Democrats hold the White House and/or the U.S. Senate in 2012?