OUR GALA WAS A HIT

The 2024 Big Blue Democracy Dinner Gala was an outstanding success. The sold-out event at the Coeur d’Alene Inn featured two Rising Star and Art Manley Awards. We doubled the awards this year to make up for skipping them during the pandemic.

This year’s Rising Star Award winners were Teresa Borrenpohl and Sarah Cooper Glenn. Both these women make highly sophisticated and invaluable contributions to promote the values we all hold.

Phil Ward and Ruben Miranda received the Art Manley Award for Lifetime Achievement. Among their accomplishments, they have led the Democrats Club for the past few years. This social group for Democrats meets weekly to share camaraderie and hear from guest speakers. Phil and Ruben have kept the Dems Club afloat through good times and bad.

The Gala also featured two exciting speakers. First, we heard from the popular Idaho influencer, Lindsay@socialistlyawkward. Lindsay warmed the crowd up by calling out legislators like Heather Scott and her anti-cannibalism legislation, and by issuing a call for a prompt ceasefire in GAZA. 

Then, Jess Piper from Missouri took the lectern. Jess hosts the popular podcast Dirt Road Democrat, and she heads up the grassroots organization Blue Missouri. Her message was ‘don’t let Idaho become like Missouri’. In Missouri, lax gun laws enable tragedies like the post-Super Bowl mass shooting, school vouchers divert public tax dollars to private schools, and fetuses receive more rights than women. 

These speakers galvanized and motivated Democrats to take steps to stop the craziness that has infected our county. The dinner also raised about $8000 and helped us recruit several candidates for office in 2024. Overall, there was a new and growing sense of enthusiasm. So, let’s win something.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

This week the Legislature is considering H0447. Like bills passed in other red states as School Choice legislation, this bill weakens public education by siphoning off public money for private school tuition and other related expenses.  

Our representatives must hear your opposition to this toxic bill. Since no remote testimony is allowed, plan to write or email your representative today

Here are your talking points:

  • H0447 starts as a $50 million proposal to pass on public tax dollars to private, religious, and even for-profit institutions with zero accountability.
  • What is particularly concerning is that the bulk of the money has no limits on eligibility. In other words, it is not income-based. That means a working family in rural Idaho would be subsidizing private school tuition for millionaires in Boise.
  • H0447 would largely serve as a giveaway to families who need it the least. Data in states like Iowa back this up, showing voucher programs most often serve students from well-off families already enrolled in private schools. This not only creates a new budgetary obligation but also jeopardizes public school funding in future budgets.
  • Voucher costs have a frightening propensity to explode, absorbing larger portions of the state budget. A recent analysis of vouchers in seven states between 2008 and 2019 revealed hundreds of millions of dollars being redirected to fund vouchers at the expense of local schools, despite a rise in public school enrollment.
  • In Arizona, where only 8% of kids receive a voucher, the program is projected to cost a staggering $950 million next year, of which $320 million is unbudgeted. Utah’s original voucher bill had a $42 million price tag. Less than a year later, vouchers are projected to cost $150 million. 
  • See the full list of Legislation We are Watching

CDA REGIONAL CHAMBER SCHOLARSHIP

And finally, the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce recently announced that its 2024 Scholarships are now open. High school seniors attending any of our public or private schools can apply. Scholarships of $1000 are awarded based on academic achievement, community involvement, and future goals. Because the KCDCC is a member in good standing of the Chamber, children of our Central Committee members are eligible to apply. The application deadline is March 1.

Thanks for being a Democrat. Have a wonderful week.

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