FIRST THINGS FIRST

There is a scent of confidence in the air. Vaccines are readily available, and people are lining up to get them. As a result, the likelihood for a safe return to school, work, and social events is improving.

AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN

A key reason for this renewed sense of optimism is President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. This legislative initiative delivers direct relief to the American people, rescuing the American economy, and laying to groundwork for beating the virus. This is popular legislation that is supported by most Americans. Yet, it was approved by Congress with no Republican votes.

One of its lesser-known benefits is a $19.5 billion infrastructure spending package for cities and towns with less than 50,000 residents. This funding supports investments in faster more reliable rural broadband, transportation improvements, and municipal water management upgrades. This is just one example of how President Biden is directing money into the economy with targeted investments to underserved communities.

Critics say that investments like these are examples of wasteful government spending. However, leading economists believe that this spending is necessary and a negligible risk. The goal is to ensure that the economy recovers quickly and broadly so that everyone benefits. This is the main purpose of the Rescue Plan. And for those concerned with the cost, savings from retracting Trump’s corporate tax cut would offset most of it.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

The successful deployment and distribution of the many available vaccines are reducing the risks and potential resurgence of COVID-19 in Idaho. As a result, the economy is starting to show positive signs of recovery. Although they will not admit it, Republicans know that Democrats deserve the credit. Now we must use this success to persuade moderate voters that we offer a safe and sane alternative to the race bating and culture war narrative offered by the far right.

Speaking of vaccines, eligibility guidelines for receiving vaccinations are changing rapidly. According to the Panhandle Health District, COVID vaccinations are now available to anyone who is 16 years or older. It is understood that getting vaccinated is key to a safe and stable reopening of our economy. So, if you are still on the fence, it is time to get scheduled for a vaccination. Especially in a state where there is significant resistance to mask wearing and social distancing. The fact is, we are in a race against another Covid 19 outbreak. So, the sooner we are all vaccinated, the sooner we can safely suspend safety protocols.

POST FALLS SUPPLEMENTAL LEVY

The May 18 Election will include a second vote on the supplemental funding requested by the Post Falls School District. Therefore, it is critical that we do all we can to inform voters to support the Supplemental Levy Renewal. If you can help, we need volunteers to make phone calls and send texts to likely voters. You can also help by contacting your friends and neighbors in Post Falls. The key is to Get Out the Vote for the Post Falls Schools by informing eligible voters about the election and securing their affirmative vote. Contact us to get involved in the GOTV campaign.

PRESERVING NONPARTISAN ELECTIONS

The May 18 Election is meant to be non-partisan. In addition to addressing submitted ballot questions, this election serves to fill open positions on county highway and water districts, as well as select trustees for area hospital, library, and school boards. Ideally, nonpartisan candidates are elected based on their experience or qualifications rather than their party affiliation. That is why most voters, including some Republicans, value keeping these elections non-partisan. As independent bodies, these commissions and boards can function for the benefit of all and avoid toxic levels of partisanship. In this way, they can focus on building social systems that serve the entire community. Unfortunately, the KCRCC seeks to insert its agenda into these advisory positions.

As a result, the KCRCC displaces non-partisan trustees and committee members with party insiders. The result is a deterioration of goodwill and cooperation. For example, we all witnessed the disharmony on the NIC Board of Trustees last winter due to the actions of Chair Todd Banducci. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. Increasingly, we are seeing oversight deteriorate due to political interference and obstinance by party-aligned agitators.

So, how do we restore independence and integrity to school, library, hospital, and county oversight? What can be done to keep these advisory committees independent? What steps can be taken to make sure that the most qualified, not the most partisan, candidates are elected? And is it possible to gain the support of moderate Republicans in this effort? Some suggest adopting the GOP’s tactics of endorsing our own set of partisan candidates. Others prefer remaining non-partisan. If you have some insight about this issue, I encourage you to contact us. We would love to hear from you.

IN OTHER NEWS

There is still time to tell Governor Little to VETO SB1110, the heinous bill that would make it all but impossible to qualify a citizen initiative for the Idaho ballot. Send a Personal Message to Governor Little urging him to reject SB1110.

And while you’re at it, please urge the Governor to veto HB135 and SB1136 if these bills reach his desk. Both bills are foolish and dangerous. If enacted, each would undermine the Governor’s ability to respond to emergencies like COVID-19.

Last, be sure to share any news items that you think Dems might want to see? You can submit them to us for consideration here.