Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Worst Session Ever

This landed in my inbox from the minority party in the Idaho Statehouse:
For immediate release - Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Senate Democrats Call 2011 Legislative Session Worst in Memory

Boise Idaho’s Democratic Senators are calling the almost-concluded 2011 Session the worst in their collective memories and blame this on the shifting of the Republican Party to the far right and on special interests guiding too much public policy, now including K-12 education.

“The movement to the far right by many in the Statehouse has eroded reasonable discourse and suppressed the voices of average Idahoans,” said Senator Les Bock, Assistant Minority Leader. “Closing primary elections will aggravate this trend toward party purification until the GOP is represented by only the most ideological candidates.”

Senator Edgar Malepeai, Minority Leader, said, “This was the toughest session in my nine years in office and I am dismayed by the outcome in terms of both legislation passed and legislation refused consideration.” “Moderate, independent views were often ignored which, at a time when recent polling points to a rise among those who identify themselves as such, means too many of our citizens may be lacking proper representation.”

There was an unprecedented level of citizen involvement in the legislative process this year but these views were consistently ignored by the majority party which feels authorized to act unilaterally when making laws that impact so many. From education to Medicaid cuts to measures targeting Idaho’s middle class, our constituents are not satisfied with the direction the state is heading.

“We have heard from the sponsors of the Otter/Luna education overhaul that there is a ‘silent majority’ who support this proposal and only a vocal minority who stood in opposition,” said Minority Caucus Chair Michelle Stennett. “If anyone knows what a minority looks like, it would be us, and calling the groundswell of opposition a minority shows a disdain for the democratic process.”

As the Republican party demonstrates an unwillingness to focus on the critical issues facing the state, Democrats welcome moderate Republicans and Independents not only into our Primary Elections, but into the Democratic party to once again build a powerful voice of opposition to create better balance and better policy for Idaho’s schools, communities, economy and families.

For more information, contact:

Senator Edgar Malepeai, 208-251-9517,

Senator Les Bock, 208-332-1409,

Senator Michelle Stennett, 208-332-1353,

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