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Moscow residents tell Idaho congressmen ‘do your job’

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho gives his victory speech at the Idaho GOP Election Night Party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho. (Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press)
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho gives his victory speech at the Idaho GOP Election Night Party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho. (Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press)

A “do your job” chant reverberated off the walls of a packed Great Room at Moscow’s 1912 Center at the end of Thursday night’s town hall meeting hosted by the Palouse Action League and LC Valley Indivisible.

The chant was directed toward Idaho’s U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador and Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, who were not at the meeting. Instead, three chairs with the names of the three men taped to them sat up front for the duration of the meeting.

Palouse Action League’s Mary Hawkins said the purpose of the town hall was for residents to share their concerns and questions with their elected officials.

“For our representatives not to be here is an absolute sign of cowardice on their part,” one man said.

Universal health care access, the reality of climate change and the need to use clean energy were positions everyone tended to agree with as residents applauded and held up “agree” signs after almost every statement made Thursday night.

Kathy Dawes said she has spent her entire career teaching science education in schools and science centers. Her focus has been teaching children and their families about what energy is, how to generate it and how to conserve it to save money and the planet.

She said twice as many Americans are employed in the design, installation and manufacturing of energy-efficient products and services than are employed in the production of fossil fuels to generate electric power.

“Renewable energy is more affordable than ever,” Dawes told the packed room. “It creates quality local jobs. It makes good business sense since the market is moving toward cleaner energy. It is pollution free. It requires little to no water to produce, and it is bipartisan.”

Von Walden, who teaches in the Washington State University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said climate change is science, not a belief.

“I have sat down with Senator Crapo before about a climate change project, and I would be happy to sit down again to go over it one more time,” Walden said.

Education was also discussed, including the importance of arts and humanities programs.

“Education is the only way to make more scientists, to help our environment, to find cures for diseases, to run for public office and be ethical, decent people who truly want to do what is right for this country,” said Holly Cooper, a Moscow resident. “The only way we can do that is through a strong education policy.”

Cooper said an educated populous is a strong populous.

“We need kids to learn about civics, we need them to learn about how the government works, we need to teach them critical thinking skills so that they can separate fact from fiction,” Cooper said.

The town hall meeting was live on Facebook and the video was shared on the Palouse Action League and LC Valley Indivisible Facebook pages.