As a recent graduate of Idaho public schools who is attending university abroad, I did not think I would be back writing here so soon. But here I am, because as one of the many youth who has testified in the Idaho Statehouse, I am disgusted and appalled by Rep. Bruce Skaug’s recent proposal.
When I heard the news, I thought of a moment from March of last year. I was in the House Education Committee, testifying on HB 716 about climate change education. Before any of the students spoke, Rep. Marshall, R-Idaho Falls, said, “I’m concerned that we have a lot of students that are going to come in and speak to the science standards, and I would just like to make the statement (that) there is not enough change in those science standards for the students’ objections to truly be credible.” My fellow students and I were shocked that before we said a word, we had been silenced, and our credibility questioned. We had a right to be testifying as constituents of our lawmakers whose policies have direct effects on our lives.
Clearly Skaug’s opinion is not a new one in the Idaho Legislature. Why are they so scared of us?
Halley Hoellwarth, Eagle
The League of Women Voters of Idaho strenuously opposes Rep. Bruce Skaug’s decision to not allow constituents under 18 to testify on legislation before the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee. The League has supported American democracy through nonpartisan education for over 100 years. An important part of this is encouraging youth engagement. A government “of the people” can only work if the people understand how government works and participates. It is in society’s best interest that young citizens become thoughtful, informed, regular voters.
By discouraging young Idahoans from participating in favor of “adults and taxpayers,” Skaug is dismissing the value of their testimonies as well as the working experiences of many teens who help support their families and our communities through employment and volunteering. The first sentence of the Idaho Constitution says, “We, the people of Idaho.” That statement is unequivocal in its meaning.
Age discrimination isn’t a good look at any time. We ask that Chairman Skaug reverse his decision and welcome civil testimony from all of Idahoans.
Betsy McBride, Boise, president, League of Women Voters of Idaho
School board meeting
School boards are supposed to be apolitical bodies. New Republican Sen. Chris Trakel forgot that when he interjected himself into the business of the Caldwell school district’s board meeting. With children in the district’s schools, Chris has every right to attend meetings and speak as a parent. However, he clearly stated that he was there in his “official capacity” as state senator.
Unable to conduct himself in a civil manner, Chris began making threats and shouting at the school board members. Others in the audience joined him, and the board chairwoman called for a five-minute recess so the group could regain composure. When the chaos escalated, Chris’ microphone was cut, and board members voted to adjourn the meeting. Caldwell police stepped between the crowd and the board members until the room was cleared, then offered to escort members to their cars. Thank you to the Caldwell Police Department for your action.
It is not the job of a state senator to assemble a crowd to disrupt a school board meeting. Chris, please do your job and help Idaho families by tackling Infrastructure improvements, and property and grocery taxes. Likewise, allow school boards to do their jobs.
Penny Neely, Caldwell
Party of Lincoln
I keep hearing Republicans across the nation lamenting about how this is not the party of Lincoln. It is not the party of any Republican I know. People are getting elected just because they have the “R” as their party. How in the world did George Santos get elected? The problem is not his sexual orientation but his dishonesty. The Republicans in power won’t do anything because it threatens their majority. I just hope that the 2014 election will show the politicans who support all the unfit ones the door. I really believe that if Charles Manson were alive and well and living here in Idaho and ran for office as a Republican, he would win. Sorry state of affairs.
Rex McCoy, Boise