Of Salamanders, Senators and Students

We can talk about helping our kids. Or, we can actually help them.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelkng has been helping Boise 7th grader Ilah Hickman make the Idaho Giant Salamander this state’s official amphibian.

Idaho lawmakers scuttled the idea last year. And, frankly, it is a little disheartening to watch a GOP-controlled Legislature set priorities. They have time for rightwing political pandering, such as trying to get guns into college classrooms and holding massive debates on proposals that legalize discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but they don’t have time to listen to tomorrow’s leaders.

Thanks, Sen. Ward-Engelking, for taking an interest and spending the time to mentor this young girl.

LIKE Ilah’s Facebook page and follow her journey through the Idaho Legislature!

From the blog: On The Agenda

January 30, 2014
By Kimberlee Kruesi

Throughout the Idaho legislative session, lawmakers listen to a multitude of bills from people pleading their case for support.

But one youngster, with a history of winning over Idaho lawmakers, is scheduled to make her case once again at tomorrow’s Senate State Affairs Committee.

Ilah Hickman, a seventh-grader from Boise, will ask lawmakers to make the Idaho Giant Salamander the official state amphibian.

Hickman pitched the idea last year to the House State Affairs Committee with the help of working with state Rep. Janie Ward Engelking, D-Boise.

“Idaho is home to many amazing amphibians,” Hickman told the committee. “One should be selected to represent our great state.”

Her bill was printed – an accomplishment that not all lawmakers and lobbyists can also boast of – but never got a full hearing.

So here she is again, once more championing for recognition of the Idaho Giant Salamander. You can scoff that approving the state amphibian is a silly use of lawmakers’ time but when I think about how this girl won’t be able to vote for at least five more years, her interest in politics and civic involvement is impressive. I don’t know if I’ll be able to cover her hearing tomorrow but I do know I wish I was little more like her when I was 12.

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