Our Party Values
What We Stand For
Investing in Public Education
Investing in quality education benefits all Idahoans.
Kootenai Democrats stand for fully financing our public schools as an investment...(more)
During the last legislative session, Governor Little signed House Bill 153 which made a positive step toward improving teacher salaries in Idaho. However, more work is needed to compete successfully with our neighboring states. Idaho still ranks 48th in terms of per pupil funding. We believe our students deserve better! That is why we support fully funding public education from pre-K through college.
We also agree that achieving positive educational results requires more than fully funding teachers’ salaries. We also believe that academics, should be augmented with music, art, and athletics programs. A diverse curriculum provides vital opportunities for growth and helps to keep kids engaged in school. In addition, modern buildings and infrastructure are needed to keep our kids healthy and safe. Furthermore, it is critical that a consistent and relevant scholastic agenda is provided to ensure students are properly prepared to graduate.
During the next Idaho legislative session, Democrats will continue to fight for responsible increases in public education funding, increases that won’t add to the tax burden of Idaho property owners.
Expanding Affordable HealthCare
Everyone deserves access to healthcare regardless of their income.
We believe that accessible affordable healthcare is essential. Consequently, we work diligently...(more)
The Kootenai County Democratic Party endorsed the petition drive to expand Medicaid for 78,000 Idahoans who currently fall into the coverage gap left by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Since the inception of Obamacare, our Idaho Legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, even though the expansion would be underwritten by federally appropriated annual funds of approximately $500,000,000. Their resistance ignored the needs of hard-working Idaho families. It also contradicted the overwhelming economic evidence that supports expansion. That is why a drive to expand Medicaid was launched by the non-partisan group Reclaim Idaho.
The successful petition drive to put Medicaid Expansion on the ballot resulted in overwhelming approval to make the initiative law. Over 60% of Idaho voters approved the measure. Now, we fight to protect the new law which is already under threat by the GOP legislature. They want to burden recipients of the expanded coverage with additional conditions that will reduce their potential access.
This issue is certain to come up again before the Idaho legislature. We are fighting right now to maintain access to every deserving Idahoan.
Defending the Living Wage
We believe that working adults deserve wages they can live on. Our economy should benefit everyone.
Idaho’s minimum wage has been set at $7.25, the same as the current...(more)
This is an ongoing fight. In 2019, Democratic legislators in our state worked against a tide of resistance to raise the minimum wage. Representative Sue Crew introduced legislation to incrementally raise Idaho’s minimum wage over time, from the current $7.25 to $12 an hour. The bill would have ensured the transition to the new minimum wage by July 1, 2021. Following the incremental adjustments, future increases would have been automatically tied to the national consumer price index. Unfortunately, the bill died in committee.
Kootenai Democrats will continue to fight for and support the dignity of work and the right to a livable wage.
Protecting our right to Idaho’s public lands
We are committed to keeping public lands public.
Idahoan’s have a right to our public lands. However, we must defend this right...(more)
First, the current administration is loosening the restrictions on the sale of public land to private interests. Consequently, many acres of state-owned land in trust to Idaho citizens have been sold.
Second, more private landowners are preventing access to bordering public lands when it requires using a public easement through their property. Many landowners with adjacent public lands feel this is their right. This illegal action often makes the lands inaccessible to the public. As a result, fishing, hunting, hiking, and other public benefits provided by public access are restricted
We will continue to fight in the Idaho legislature to defend the continuity and access of public land.
Working for Responsive and Responsible Government
We expect a government to be responsive and responsible to the demands of its citizens. Furthermore, we expect transparency, honesty, and public access and reject the money-driven influence of big corporations.
The Idaho Constitution adopted in 1889, includes an initiative and referendum amendment...(more)
Yet, as a result of the successful petition drive for Medicaid Expansion in 2018, our GOP dominated legislature is working to further restrict the citizen’s initiative process. If successful, their legislative actions will make it harder for citizen initiatives and referendums to qualify for the ballot in Idaho. This isn’t the first time they have added such restrictions. We witnessed a similar reaction after the successful fight to withdraw the Luna Laws in 2012. In a direct reaction to that successful public effort, the GOP passed a bill increasing the threshold limits for gathering petition signatures. Yet, despite their added hurdles, the work of many committed volunteers succeeded in getting Medicaid Expansion on the ballot. It was subsequently passed with over 60% of the vote in November 2018.
Voter initiatives strengthen the democratic process for all voters, rural and urban. They leave it up to the people to decide at the polls whether to support them or not. Nonetheless, our legislature is working on another bill to further restrict the process. They intend to increase the threshold for validly gathered signatures from 6% to 10% of all registered voters. They also intend to increase the number of districts that must be included in the petition drive. Idaho has 35 districts in total. The proposed legislation would increase the number of required districts from which signatures must be gathered from 18 to 32. It would also reduce the time frame allowed for gathering signatures from a year and a half to 6 months. Idaho is a rural state. Consequently, many of our legislative districts are made up of large tracts of undeveloped land with very dispersed populations. Adding these new requirements will virtually assure that citizen petition drives are impossible in the state without access to significant financial resources.
It is important to understand that Idaho voters do not over-use the initiative process. Since the right to submit petitions was added in 1912, citizens have successfully submitted 33 initiatives and only 15 were eventually approved by the voters. Idaho voters deserve to have fair access to this fundamental right.
When the legislature reconvenes, we will be there, fighting to maintain our right to a reasonable initiative process.