The Idaho State Capitol is not just a building; it’s the People’s House. Regular Idaho families don’t have lobbyists and can’t afford big campaign donations, but their interests should always be front and center. As the legislature reconvenes, Idaho Democrats are prioritizing the working families who are too often left behind.
First, we are committed to thriving Main Streets with economic opportunity in towns big and small. A fundamental building block of a strong economy is education. Democrats will work to protect the new LAUNCH scholarships that are opening pathways to in-demand careers with family-sustaining wages and building the skilled workforce that industries need.
We must finally address the $1 billion backlog in school facilities needs so that children aren’t contending with overcrowded classrooms, leaky roofs, or unsafe situations, such as the electrical issues that led to a severe fire in a Pocatello school.
Idaho Democrats want to correct last year’s funding methodology shift that shortchanged schools by $162 million. And we will again defend against voucher schemes that divert precious public dollars away from public schools and into private, religious, and for-profit institutions with zero accountability.
Second, we will be a voice for Idaho’s working families when it comes to revenue collection. Idaho’s upside down tax code gets worse every year. Today, an Idaho mom pays a higher tax rate on essentials like food and diapers than corporations pay on their profits. It’s past time we eliminate the sales tax on groceries, a move supported by 82% of Idahoans but consistently blocked by the Republican supermajority. We should have a meaningful child tax credit to help make it affordable to raise the next generation and finally establish a state earned income tax credit to avoid taxing working families into poverty.
Third, we should act on the principle that affordable healthcare is a necessity. We will work to properly fund Medicaid, a lifeline for children, seniors, and Idahoans with disabilities, and to extend coverage for postpartum mothers. We’ll oppose the repeal of Medicaid expansion, which would take healthcare away from tens of thousands.
What Idahoans don’t need is more extremism. Whether it comes to your most intimate medical decisions, the books you read, or who you love, it’s time for GOP politicians to stop interfering in your private life.
While Democrats are underdogs in the Legislature, we stand behind an agenda that is broadly supported by voters. We hope Republican lawmakers will meet us here so that we can govern to make life better for Idahoans.
To advance our shared priorities, we need the voices of Idahoans to resonate in the People’s House, demanding policies that truly reflect your values. I hope to see you there.
Idaho Democratic Party Chair