Idaho Dems Help Student with Bill to Declare State Amphibian

What started as a class project has become a multi-year journey through Idaho’s political system for one 8th grade student.

Ilah Hickman is back again this year to press her case for making the Giant Idaho Salamander the state amphibian. Her case is strong for the little creature that is found almost exclusively in Idaho. Last year, State Affairs Chairman Tom Loertscher refused to give the bill a hearing, saying only that there was no time for it.

Hickman has support from Idaho Democratic lawmakers who believe that “supporting Idaho’s children” doesn’t mean just investing money in kids: it means actively encouraging them to engage our political process as Ilah has done.

Here’s a press release from Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking and Rep. Ilana Rubel, who are co-sponsoring this bill:

Press Release- Hearing Scheduled for Student-Driven Bill

For Immediate Release – Friday, January 16, 2015

BOISE – After several years of diligent work, 8th grade student Ilah Hickman will present her bill to make the Idaho Giant Salamander our new state amphibian. Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) and Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) are proud to co-sponsor this bill. A hearing is scheduled for Monday, January 19th, at 9 a.m. in the House State Affairs Committee.

“This is an example of what we want for Idaho’s children,” said Ward-Engelking. “We want them involved in Science, Technology, English and Math. Ilah Hickman has become an active participant in her education and has moved to the point where she is now a role-model for other young students.”

Ward-Engelking noted that a 4th grade class in Sandpoint is now involved in Ilah’s project to declare this salamander that is almost exclusive to Idaho as the state amphibian.

“My children are around Ilah’s age and she is a great example for them,” Rubel said. “I believe that she is doing exactly what our young people should be doing: she is being an active, engaged citizen of Idaho.”

Both Ward-Engelking and Rubel said that Ilah’s commitment to this issue—as well as the support and commitment of her mother Lori Hickman—is something that the Legislature should honor. While the talk of the 2015 Legislative Session is “investment in education,” that should not be a discussion that is solely about funding. Investing in education also means honoring parents and students and listening to them when they speak.

Thank you to our co-sponsors Rep. Pat McDonald (R-Boise) and Rep. Christy Perry (R-Nampa).

For more information, please contact Senator Janie Ward-Engelking or Representative Ilana Rubel.

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