Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Item: Babbitt urges Obama to stand up for public lands, criticizes bill by Idaho Rep. Labrador: Clinton’s former interior secretary says Republicans in the House have declared war on the environment/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman
More Info: Former Democratic Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt singled out a bill by Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador as he charged the new House majority with taking the “most radical course in our history” on the environment. Labrador’s bill would remove the power of the president to designate and protect public lands in Idaho under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Babbitt said a House attempt earlier this year to “gut” the Antiquities Act failed by only four votes.
Question: Do you support the right of the president to designate and protect public lands under the Antiquities Act of 1906?
The Idaho Education Association is circulating a photo that shows supporters of Tom Luna/GOP candidates setting up signs and handing out hotdogs at Lake City High. The photo, I believe, was taken prior to the Timberwolves homecoming game in late October 2010. If so, here's another photo of that event that was published on Huckleberries Online the following Monday, Oct. 25, 2010: “Lake City High Principal Deanne Clifford tells Republican congressional candidate Raul Labrador and others on the GOP bus tour, including 1st Lady Lori Otter and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde that they can't campaign on school grounds Friday evening before the football game with visiting Sandpoint.”
Idaho First Congressional District Rep. Raul Labrador has been in office a little more than 100 days, and up to this point he has been every bit the congressman he promised he would be. The former member of the Idaho Legislature has held true to the bedrock conservative principles he promised. And so far, he has done so firmly, while at the same time being thoughtful, deliberate and respectful. He has given credit to the opposition when it’s due. He has maintained the strong fiscally conservative approach he campaigned on without all the bombast and spectacle of the last Republican to hold the office, Bill Sali/Idaho Press-Tribune Editorial Board. More here.
Question: Who would you rather have sitting in the 1st Congressional District seat now — Raul Labrador or Bill Sali?
- Thursday Poll: Hucks Nation has no problem that terrorist Osama bin Laden wasn't armed when shot by two Navy Seals earlier this week. 210 of 234 respondents (89.74%) said they don't care one iota that the terrorist was unarmed when gunned down. 15 of 234 (6.41%) are somewhat concerned. 8 of 234 (3.42%) are bothered that he was unarmed when killed. 1 was undecided.
- Weekend Poll: Who would you prefer to be sitting in the 1st Congressional District seat at the moment — Raul Labrador or Bill Sali?
Even before foreign policy heavyweights like Sen. Richard Lugar suggested accelerating U.S. withdrawal on Tuesday, Idaho's freshman 1st District Raul Labrador said the death of Osama bin Laden should hasten America's exit. “I do think this is a great time to declare victory in Afghanistan and to look for a way to get out of there,” Labrador told the Idaho Statesman on Monday. We are supposed to start withdrawing this fall, but hopefully we can do it even sooner than that. I think we had accomplished our mission even before (bin Laden's death). We had done certain things to slow down the growth of al-Qaeda, to stop what they were doing”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you care what happens to Afghanistan (if we followed Congressman Labrador's advice and declared victory and left)?
Rather than the evil effort to give more tax breaks to the wealthy while cutting services for the poor and elderly that opponents have portrayed it as, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, says the Republican budget proposal is actually an attempt to save the country from bankruptcy. The “Path to Prosperity” proposal, also referred to as the Ryan plan after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would revamp the Medicare/Medicaid system and reduce federal spending by upwards of $4 trillion over the next decade. Speaking to about 100 people at a town hall meeting in Lewiston Tuesday evening, Labrador said the first thing people need to understand is the plan wouldn't affect Medicare benefits for anyone who's 55 or older/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Photo: Lewiston Tribune)
Question: Do you support Congressman Paul Ryan's 'Path to Prosperity' proposal?
President Obama released his original birth certificate Wednesday, saying the controversy surrounding the issue had become a “sideshow.” Obama's birth certificate. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do,” said Obama. The surprise release follows recent and sustained remarks by businessman Donald Trump, among others, that raised doubts as to whether the president was born in the United States/CNN. More here.
- Idaho's Labrador to birthers: 'Get over it'/Dan Popkey, Statesman
- Dustin Hurst: “I hope the crazy birthers ask for birth certificates of all presidents going forward. ”
Question: Are we quite finished with this silly issue?
The young Congressman from our district, Rep. Raul Labrador, ran on a very idealistic platform that essentially boiled down to “America was a much better place in the 19th century, and we should return to that” — basically, straight Tea Party doctrine. (My posts from the campaign are here, here, and here.) As the underdog, Rep. Labrador apparently felt he needed to tap into Tea Party anger to get the Republican nomination, so he was the only major candidate to fill out the Tea Party Boise questionnaire. This document asked the candidates to “commit” or “pledge” to do several things, many of which were clearly delusional. Among the things that Candidate Labrador pledged to do was to “Vote “NO” on any bill that has not been read and understood by you and published on the web for at least 7 days prior to the vote”/Bubblehead, The Stupid Shall Be Punished. More here.
- Granny, we ain't got no home phone, no more, does we?/Dennis Mansfield
- Honey, I killed Medicaid, and: New candidate for evil empire?/Fort Boise
- It's Earth Day/Rick Johnson, Idaho Conservation League
- Trail won't switch party in face of closed-primary system/Dustin Hurst, IReporter
- Idaho Department of Corrections denies censorship claim/Dan Popkey, Statesman
- Where is Kenesaw Mountain Landis when you need him?/Marc Johnson
- Opting out of Medicaid — and its billion dollars?/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press
- Salmon season brings hope and possible legal closure/Rocky Barker, Statesman
Question: Does Labrador have some 'splainin' to do to Tea Party minions?
“It feels really squishy and slimy,” said 2nd grader Tori Yonkers, as she held an octopus during class at Dalton Elementary in Galton Gardens earlier today. The hands on study was a result from a $500 Excel grant the teachers received to purchase the octopi, squid and other supplies. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
- Crews making progress to reach trapped minor/KHQ
- Manny Arop granted release by Gonzaga/Jim Meehan, SR
- Otter allows school funding to become law w/o signature/Betsy Russell, EOB
- Raul Labrador: Idealism meets reality/Joel Kennedy, Daily Kos
- Federal judge steps down from Idaho prison lawsuit/Rebecca Boone, Statesman
- New details released in Forker Road homicide/Meghann Cuniff, SR
- Sandpoint council delays vote on mayor salary hike/Cameron Rasmusson, Bee
- Sweet Lou's restaurant set to open in East Hope/Bonner County Bee
- UIdaho fraternity riding tandem bike to Boise for charity/John Masters, KTVB
- Boisean found guilty for offering bogus breast exams in bars/Jody May-Chang, Boise Weekly
- Lewiston mayor: Megaloads mean jobs/KLEW TV
When the spending cuts bill passed the House today, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, issued a statement lauding its passage and noting that it includes his language to remove wolves from endangered species protections and defund the Department of Interior's Wild Lands initiative. “Congress has the constitutional responsibility to fund government operations, and choosing not to do so would have been a failure of leadership,” Simpson said in a statement. “It is important to recognize the sea change in public debate about spending has been taken up by Congress. Just a year ago the conversation was about the government’s growing appetite for spending. Today we passed a bill that cut more in spending than any other single bill in our nation’s history. We still have a long way to go to address the deficit crisis facing our nation, but passage of H.R. 1473 is an important step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, voted against the bill. “I have been on the record supporting the delisting of wolves and defunding of the wild lands policy,” Labrador said in a statement. “I co-sponsored separate legislation designed to achieve both of those goals. There were some other aspects of this bill I agree with, but the level of spending cuts simply wasn’t high enough to garner my support.”
Click below for a full report from the Associated Press on today's House vote.
Also: Senate passes cuts 81-19, both Idaho senators vote no/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
The House has passed a compromise budget plan to cut $37.8 billion in spending for 2010-11 — with Idaho's Republicans divided on the idea. Second District Rep. and House Appropriations Commiittee member Mike Simpson voted for the bill, which passed 260-167. First District Rep. Raul Labrador voted no. The plan contains two add-ons sought by Simpson: language to remove Idaho and Montana wolves from the endangered species list, and language banning the Bureau of Land Management from spending money on a “wild lands” policy that, according to critics, could open the door to additional federal wilderness/Kevin Richert, Statesman. More here.
Question: Are you happy with the compromise federal budget for 2010-11?
Freshman Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador appeared on CNN's “Situation Room” program just now, in a panel along with three other tea party-backed freshman Republicans, Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle of New York, Tom Graves of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. CNN said it picked “one from each corner of the country,” and was surprised to find the four split on tomorrow's budget-cuts vote: Two plan to vote in favor, one against, and Labrador is leaning against.
Labrador agreed with the others that the freshmen have made a difference, and helped bump up the level of cuts that now is being contemplated - though they want more. “When we started the debate, the initial offer was $31 billion in cuts. Some of us spoke up and said that it needed to be more,” he told the program. “So we actually got it to $61 billion in cuts. And now we're getting $38, $39 billion in cuts. We're going to vote against these things, but I think we would have had much less.”
At the close of the interview, the four were asked, “So are you crazy, or are you really the sanest people in America?” Labrador responded, “If being fiscally responsible is extreme and crazy, then I think I am.”
U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, (left) meets Spc. Matthew Hoefling (right), a Post Falls native, with B Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade, Feb. 2 at Camp Victory in Baghdad. Labrador took time out of his schedule, assessing U.S. government spending in Iraq, to have dinner with Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers from his congressional district who are currently serving under United States Division Ð Center in Support of Operation New Dawn. http://www.dvidshub.net/news/66032/us-representative-visits-troops-baghdad. More here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. April Davis, 116th Garrison Command, USD-C)
As you know, Congressman Raul Labrador is death on taxes and spending. Yet, as one Coeur d'Alene resident points out to Huckleberries Online, he used his franking privileges to send out an impressive flier inviting Coeur d'Alene area residents to his town hall in the Lake City Monday night.
Question: Does a ritzy flyer like the one mailed to Coeur d'Alene residents (above) undermine Congressman Labrador's message of fiscal conservatism?
Freshman Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) brought birtherism to the stage at CPAC.
Speaking this morning, Labrador alluded to the fact that he was born in Puerto Rico.
That still makes him an American, though, he said.
“And I do have the birth certificate to prove it,” Labrador said, apparently making a reference to the belief, held by some conservatives, that President Obama was not born in the United States. More.
What do think about Labrador's joke at the Conservative Political Action Conference?
In this Nov. 3 file photo, Raul Labrador is show moments before he talked with supporters at the Republican Party Election Headquarters at a hotel in Boise. At the time, the outcome of his race against Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick for Idaho's 1st Congressional District was undecided. Now, Labrador is listed among the Top 5 Tea Party candidates of 2010 by Yahoo! News political blog, The Ticket. Story here. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
Question: Are you comfortable that new U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, is considered to be one of the top Tea Party representatives in Congress?
Just four days after being sworn in, Idaho's 1st District GOP Rep. Raúl Labrador will appear on the signature Sunday talk show, “Meet the Press with David Gregory.” Labrador's office announced the booking late Thursday in a news release. By Friday morning, the Meet the Press website showed Labrador on Sunday's guest list. On the air since Postmaster General James Farley was the first guest in November 1947, Meet the Press is the longest-running show in U.S. TV history/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Why do you think “Meet the Press” wants to meet a freshman representative from Idaho's 1st Congressional District?
Congressman Raul Labrador and his family are shown with new House Speaker John Boehner at Labrador's swearing-in ceremony earlier today in Washington, D.C. See story below.
- Raul Labrador sworn in with new Congress/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
- Big million dollar dreams in small town Ephrata, Wash./KREM
- Blanchette: Colonial conference knows football/Spokesman-Review
- WSU basketballer Moore faces marijuana charge/Vince Grippi, SportsLink
- Prosecutor: Police haven't made case against Tax Commission boss/Kevin Richert, Statesman
- Eastern Idaho NBC affilitate to cut newscasts, 12 employees/TVNewsCheck
- Spokane police dog catches burglary suspects/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels
- Idaho Demo chairman failed to find younger successor/Dan Popkey, Statesman
- Ex-UI extension worker from Priest River faces embezzlement charge/Keith Kinnaird, Bee
- Enviros pick Snake Basin, Yellowstone among endangered habitats/Rocky Barker, Statesman
- On first day of Congress, Idaho delegation sets agenda/Justin Corr, KTVB
Idaho's next Congress was sworn in today, including new Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador. New House speaker John Boehner, shown posing with Labrador and his family, administered the oath. Labrador issued this statement: “It is a true honor to be sworn to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. My Congressional offices are open and my staff and I will be dedicated to providing the best level of constituent services for the people of the First Congressional District. I hope Idahoans will contact these offices, the People's offices, with their input on how America should be governed and with particular assistance they need from me.” Click below for contact information for Labrador's new congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and Idaho.
I believe that there exists a small haven of GOP malcontents in Kootenai County (CdA) that has NEVER gotten over the fact that Raul Labrador won the Primary over a candidate supported by them. The long knives are not yet obvious, but the tips of the bayonets are showing. I received a couple blog comments recently (since removed) from some folks from that area — and it got me thinking. Raul's win in the GOP Primary was so devastating to many of the GOP stalwarts that it put them in a funk from which they just never exited. I look at those CdA GOP-ites who DID come forward to successfully propel Labrador's victory in 2010 and the list reads like a who's who from the Helen Chenoweth/Dennis Mansfield/Bill Sali races of 1994-2006. … Yet, there were those who sat on their hands…and who vigorously opposed (and oppose, still) Labrador because … because … Because he is Raul Labrador - and because he won/Dennis Mansfield. More here.
- Happy Emancipation Day from Uncle Sam/Kevin Richert
- Two years post Post-Intelligencer/Randy Stapilus
- If all government operated this way/Johnson Report
Question: Is Dennis right? Do some Coeur d'Alene/Kootenai County GOPers still despise Rep-elect Raul Labrador?
GOP Congressman-elect Raul Labrador has hired outgoing Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick's constituent services director, Lisa Anderson, to be his constituent services director. “Essentially she'll be performing the same job that she was doing for Rep. Minnick,” said Phil Hardy, spokesman for Labrador. “I know that his intention from the beginning was to hire the very best people who were interested in serving the 1st Congressional District, and Lisa was one of those people. They spoke and she reiterated her desire to continue to perform in her position in that role. She's extremely dedicated, and she came out as the most qualified person who had applied for the job.”
Labrador had been openly complimentary of Minnick's constituent service record during the otherwise mostly testy campaign in which Labrador defeated Minnick in November. “He would always praise the job that Congressman Minnick and his team had done for constituent services,” Hardy said. “And he's going to continue providing the very best level of constituent services to the people of the 1st Congressional District, absolutely.”
Labrador announced the hire of Anderson, who will continue to serve in the Meridian office for the 1st District congressman, along with a slew of others late last week; they include Scott Carlton, former Lewiston regional director for then-Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, who will take on a role similar to the one he had with Chenoweth-Hage; and a legislative assistant, Alex Etchen, who most recently worked in the same role for the National Rifle Association.
John Foster, former campaign manager and communications director for Minnick, praised Labrador's move to hire Anderson. “I used to say without joking she was the most important person in our office,” Foster said. “This is one of the more savvy things I've ever seen from a political office, so kudos to him for hiring her. She's aces. She's just really, really good. … I have to tip my hat - it's in the best interest of the constituents to keep her around.” You can click below to read Labrador's full announcement of his latest new staff hires.
This week Raul Labrador will raise his right hand and swear an oath to the United States of America. Upon the completion of that oath, the “-elect” will drop from “Congressman” and Raul Labrador will be hurled into a world the daily duties of of which he is currently unaware yet will become all too aware within a week's time. He'll experience the “voting bells” of Congress. The meeting halls of Congress. The personalities of the GOP Leadership and he will experience the reality that he is fully capable of being a successful US Congressman. That this is so, may not be a big “ah ha” to many people - for the man ran for the office telling us that this is so - but each of us knows that applying for a job is much different than the first few days on the job…or the first few weeks … or months/Dennis Mansfield. More here.
- Let us build/Adam's Blog
- Making the world safe for plutocracy/Fort Boise
- Sin tax/Idaho Conservative Blogger
- Wildlife fights roll on into 2011/Rocky Barker
- A good movie: 'The King's Speech'/The Johnson Post
Question: How do you prepare to begin a new job?
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Attorney T.J. Angstman says his Boise-based law firm will acquire U.S. Rep.-elect Raul Labrador's immigration practice in a deal expected to close this week. Labrador, an immigration attorney with offices in Boise and Nampa, beat Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick in the November election to represent Idaho's 1st Congressional District. The Idaho Business Review reports that the firm Angstman Johnson will purchase Labrador's practice, taking on all his cases and retaining his staff, in a transaction slated to close on Friday. Angstman Johnson will run Labrador's former firm as a separate entity called Accelerated Immigration; you can read the Idaho Business Review's full report here.
The Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call” reports today that Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick says he’s “gone for good” from elective politics. “I think I’m done with elective politics,” he told the newspaper. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I think it’s time for somebody else.” The article examines the dismal elective record of Democrats in Idaho in the past three decades, and the Idaho party’s future prospects, perhaps with conservative, well-funded Democratic candidates like Minnick/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
- Related: Labrador picked for Resources, Government Reform committees
- Related: Minnick, Simpson split Idaho’s vote on tax deal
Question: Will Raul Labrador break the string of one-and-done representatives from the 1st Congressional District?
Idaho Congressman-elect Raul Labrador has been assigned to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for the 112th Congress, assignments he welcomed. “I ran for Congress to serve Idaho and to restore the people’s faith in government. These two influential committee assignments position me perfectly to accomplish these goals,” Labrador said. Click below for his full announcement.
As Congressman-elect Raul Labrador continues to round out his new congressional staff, he announced today the hiring of Jason Bohrer, who most recently worked as legislative counsel for Sen. Jim Risch, as his legislative director. “I am delighted Jason has decided to join my staff,” Labrador said. “His knowledge and understanding of the issues critical to Idaho as will his experience working on the Hill will be valuable assets as we hit the ground running in January.” Bohrer also worked as a regional director of Sen. Larry Craig and as a policy director for the Idaho Republican Party. Click below to read Labrador’s full announcement.
Idaho Congressman-elect Raul Labrador has named his chief of staff: John Goodwin, who most recently worked as a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Goodwin was communications director for Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois and press secretary for Rep. Rob Simmons of Connecticut. “John’s vast Capitol Hill experience will be an excellent resource to Idaho as I begin the people’s work in Congress,” Labrador said.
Labrador also announced two other staff hires: Phil Hardy, who served as communications director for Labrador’s campaign, will be the regional director for central and southwest Idaho; and Mike Cunnington, a Nampa native who was finance director for the campaign, will be Labrador’s scheduler and personal assistant in Washington, D.C. Earlier, Labrador announced the hire of Jake Ball, a former aide to Sen. Mike Crapo, as his district director. You can read Labrador’s latest announcement here.
Idaho’s newest congressman-elect is a 42-year-old attorney and former state lawmaker, but he’s also still paying off thousands in student loans. “It’s how I got through law school,” said Idaho Rep.-elect Raul Labrador. The Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit research group funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, says it’s not uncommon for Americans, particularly those with professional degrees, to still be paying off their student loans into their 40s. “It’s taking longer and longer as people borrow more,” said Edie Irons, the project’s communications director. “We’re definitely troubled by it”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Did you have to take out student loans to get through college? How long did it take you to pay them off?
Idaho’s newest congressman-elect is a 42-year-old attorney and former state lawmaker, but he’s also still paying off thousands in student loans. “It’s how I got through law school,” said Idaho Rep.-elect Raul Labrador. The Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit research group funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, says it’s not uncommon for Americans, particularly those with professional degrees, to still be paying off their student loans into their 40s. “It’s taking longer and longer as people borrow more,” said Edie Irons, the project’s communications director. “We’re definitely troubled by it.”
Labrador reported on his congressional financial disclosure form that he still owes between $15,000 and $50,000 in federal student loans. “I’ve been paying on it for, I think, 15 years now,” he said. He said he doesn’t know exactly how much he owes, but it’s toward the lower end of the disclosure form’s wide range. “I believe if that’s the only way you can go to school, you should consider it,” he said. “You don’t have to go to the most expensive school, you don’t have to take out the most loans. Go to in-state schools or other schools that are less expensive.” You can read my full story here from Sunday’s Spokesman-Review.
Idaho Congressman-elect Raul Labrador, after a week of new member orientation in Washington, D.C., pronounced the experience “amazing.” “I just felt the entire week like it was such a privilege to be there, and I was just in awe that the people of Idaho had given me that privilege,” Labrador said in an interview. His orientation started with a dinner with all the newly elected Republicans in the historic Statuary Hall; Labrador was joined by his wife, Becca.
New members also drew numbers for priority in choosing their office space, and though Labrador drew a low number - 78 out of 85 - he said he actually got an office in the Longworth Building that was among his top five choices. “I like the building - it’s kind of smaller offices, but a lot of history. They have beautiful wood paneling and things like that,” he said. “But I would’ve been happy with a closet.” He added, “Especially coming from the state Legislature - I had a cubicle.”
He and his wife arrived two days early to take a look at neighborhoods in Washington, “trying to figure out if we’re going to move our family there, keep our family here - we’re making some pretty big decisions about our life,” Labrador said. “Also trying to decide, if I’m going to be there by myself, where I’m going to live during the week.” For now, Labrador said he’ll commute to Washington and return to Idaho and his family on weekends; he’ll decide next summer whether to move them. Four of his five children are still in school, while the oldest is at Utah State University. “It’s a tough decision,” he said. “Our kids are very heavily involved in sports and school activities, they have great friends, they’re good kids, and obviously that’s to me more important than anything else I do is my family and my children. So I don’t want to do anything to hurt them.”
Labrador released an op-ed piece about his experience at the orientation, in which he said, “I was thrilled to find that most of my new colleagues are as serious as I am about reversing the direction that Congress has pursued the last two years;” you can read it here. He noted that of the 94 new House members, 85 are Republicans and 34 have never held elected office before.