Blue-shifting the Gem State, one blog entry at a time.

Fuck That Sexist Shit

Election 2014: Ybarra skipped at least 15 of 17 state elections

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Idaho's Sarah Palin?

Here is another reason why I Support Jana Jones for Idaho state superintendent of public instruction.

As Kevin Wilson wrote in the 123 Vote No group:

"Idaho Education News has already reported that Ybarra did not vote in the 2012 general election, when voters overturned Propositions 1,2 and 3 after a contentious statewide debate over K-12 policy."

Any self-proclaimed educator who failed to vote in 2012 cannot continue to claim that title, must less declare herself "passionate about education." Ms. Ybarra's failure to vote in that election is an insult to those who worked hard to see the democratic process through to its end, with many of them putting their jobs and professional reputations on the line while doing so.


Below is Clark Corbin's story from yesterday's Idaho Education News:

If state superintendent hopeful Sherri Ybarra votes on Election Day, it will be the first time the Republican has cast a ballot in a November general election while living in Mountain Home.

According to Elmore County election records, Ybarra has not voted for a governor, a state superintendent, a president or a state legislator in a general election since moving to Mountain Home in 1996.  read more »

Election 2014: Richard Stallings is the Right Choice For Congress

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Richard Stallings

" ... when I go into some rural counties, I hear people say they just hate Congress, yet they'll still vote for [his opponent]," writes Richard Stallings.

I fist met Richard Stallings during a dinner/talk at the Unitarian Fellowship in Pocatello, Idaho about 10 years ago. I have positive memories of his warm style and profound grasp of the issues that matter.

Former U.S. Representative Stallings has devoted much of his career to public service and to improving the lives and prosperity of Idaho families. He served in Congress from 1984 to 1992.

Stallings is a candidate for the 2014 election. to again represent Idaho's Idaho's 2nd congressional district. Stallings also served in several other state and local political offices over the course of his 22-years of public service. To make a contribution please see this link.

When asked by Boise Weekly what he learned about his opponent from this latest GOP primary, Stallings said:

He's a coward. Even his supporters say he's a better legislator than what his voting record reflects. He's just afraid. He was terrified of [Bryan] Smith and, as a result, he was forced into some very bad decisions.

His refusal to deal with the minimum wage. That refusal keeps 100,000 Idahoans living in poverty. And it's costing the government more money because we end up providing more food stamps. It's an outrageous indignity, for no other reason than some political nastiness. It's the most inhumane thing I've ever seen done to the most vulnerable people in our society. Even Mitt Romney calls for an increase.

By not standing up to the Tea Party wing of his own party, he's become a lousy, lousy legislator. Another of his vulnerabilities is a lack of immigration reform. About 13 percent of Idaho's population is Hispanic, most of them documented. But they have undocumented friends and family that are hiding in the shadows, yet they're exploited by employers. I agree with Jeb Bush when he said many people had come to the United States illegally as an act of love. But his own party beat the tar out of him.

Your contribution will have an immediate impact on Richard Stallings's campaign.

Here is a useful discussion from his campaign website:

During the time I spent representing the Second District of Idaho in the U.S. Congress, the issue of a pay raise for members of Congress came up for a vote before the house. I had committed to Idaho that I would not take a pay raise for myself and voted against this bill. It passed without my vote. Then it became necessary to make a decision on what to do with said pay raise. A few members (none from Idaho) returned the money to the treasury but, after much contemplation, my wife and I made the decision to try to help people in Idaho.

At that time, many people were hurting financially. Farmers, students and families were struggling. We made the decision to provide scholarship money to non-traditional students. These were people who had been victims of the economy and were struggling for new opportunities in life. It seemed to us that there were lots of funding sources for 18 year-old students but were extremely scarce for older people facing the same life changing experiences. In retrospect, we are grateful we had this opportunity. I wanted to share a letter we received from a young woman at that time. Her full name has not been included because we have not been able to contact her to obtain her permission to do so. She should be extremely proud of her accomplishment, hence reprinting this letter:

Dear Mr. Stallings,

It is very hard for me to put into words how I am feeling at this time. This morning I got up, fed my four children, hurried them off to school and then hurried off to school myself. In my religion class, I received the message that the scholarship office wanted to see me as soon as possible. When I sat in that office, my prayers were answered. I still cannot believe that I was chosen to receive this scholarship.

Read the full discussion at

Does this seem ethical to you?


Is it legal for the Speaker of the Idaho House to push a bill through the State Legislature on behalf of a development company only after that company fires a political opponent and hires a political ally?

The answer is yes.

Is it ethical?  You be the judge.

Back in 2007, a California development company pushed for a bill that would allow it to pay for an interchange on I-90 with the sales tax collected at a yet-to-be-built Cabela’s store located next to the interchange.

The bill appeared to be going nowhere. Then the company asked Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney for advice. Soon after, the company fired its lobbyist, a established moderate Republican who opposed Denney’s run for speaker, and hired Julie Ellsworth, a Denney supporter and former House member who lost her seat four months earlier.

After that, the bill sailed through the legislature.

The appearance of impropriety prompted calls for a “cooling off” period, a mandatory two-year break between legislating and lobbying.

Denney would have none of it. “I have no desire to dictate who can and cannot get a job working as a lobbyist,” he opined.

Days later, Denney changed his mind, announcing that he would co-sponsor a “cooling off” bill. He did so tepidly. ‘‘I’m still not sure it’s necessary, but in this business, perception is reality,’’ he said. 

Unfortunately, the bill came too late in the session. It died in committee without a hearing.

The next year, a similar bill was referred to committee at the beginning of the session where it sat for months before dying without a hearing.

Give Denney credit. He’s right. Perception is reality in the business of government. Idaho’s Secretary of State’s office has a long tradition of honesty and impartiality. The Gem State doesn’t need that tarnished with cronyism and malfeasance.

Idaho needs somebody with the reputation of fairness and honesty.

Idaho needs Holli Woodings for Secretary of State.

Idaho student Jacob Dorsey withdraws from Wisconsin State Assembly race after racist and anti-gay slurs


An Idaho college student withdrew from a political race in Wisconsin after a series of controversial comments.

Jacob Dorsey quit his campaign for the Wisconsin State Assembly after admitting to making offensive comments about gay and black people -- including using the "n word."

Dorsey took a break from BYU Idaho to run for the seat. He also made disparaging remarks about President Obama and President Lincoln. Dorsey was running as a Republican.

CLICK HERE to see images of Dorsey's offensive posts on Youtube and Twitter and for further details.

READ MORE about the Jacob Dorsey scandal.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel elaborated:

The 19-year-old, who was running against Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville, issued an apology last week after bloggers discovered a December post on Twitter about a ruling in support of same-sex marriage in Utah that included a derogatory term.

This week, bloggers surfaced comments on YouTube videos that included derogatory statements about black people. Dorsey also used a curse word in a YouTube comment referencing Abraham Lincoln, the nation's first Republican president. ...

Dorsey's name will remain on the Nov. 4 ballot. The Republican Party of Rock County denounced Dorsey's comments and asked him to return a donation to his campaign, according to the Gazette.

Dorsey told news outlets that he plans to return to Idaho to finish school.

Idaho Press Tribune: Hixon's Actions "could be highly scandalous, clearly egregious lawbreaking."

Troubled Lawmaker Hixon

The Idaho Secretary of State’s Office is investigating Rep. Brandon Hixon (R-Caldwell) after questions were raised regarding his use of campaign funds.

Hixon’s campaign contributors and others noticed that Hixon’s Sunshine reports look like he could be spending his campaign dollars on personal expenses, which is against the law. For instance, he charged his campaign for enough fuel to drive 315 times from his Caldwell home to Boise, according to a complaint filed by the Canyon County Democratic Party with the Secretary of State’s Office.

According to the Idaho Press Tribune, Hixon's case:

... could be highly scandalous, clearly egregious lawbreaking. ... State law essentially allows him to use campaign money “in connection with the campaign for public office” ...

HOWEVER: Hixon’s opponents strongly imply his expenses for travel are excessive. He could help reassure skeptics with a detailed log of where he drove, when he drove there and the total mileage taken.

... Could he be operating under a loose interpretation of state law and funneling some of those expenses for non-campaign purposes? It’s possible.

Below is a repost of my 12/28/2013 blog entry on this topic:  read more »

Did You Know There Was An Idaho Statesman Website Archive?

Crossposted on Daily Kos

UPDATE: 9/15/14: An astute commenter on Sisyphus Facebook page added this: "According to a friend who inquired of the Statesman, articles over a year old are archived in a pay-to-view system, accessible by hovering over the search field and then clicking on "Search Print Archives." After doing so, a search for "Tom Luna" (minus the quotes) yields only 26 matches, but displays them on a page at A new search on that page yields 1300+ articles, including those from between 2007 and 2013.

So, no scandal, just another example of the Statesman making itself irrelevant."

Where;s Tom Luna?

We believe that we live in the 'age of information,' that there has been an information 'explosion,' an information 'revolution.' While in a certain narrow sense that is the case, in many more important ways just the opposite is true. We also live at a moment of deep ignorance, when vital knowledge that humans have always possessed about who we are and where we live seems beyond our reach. An unenlightenment. An age of missing information. - Bill McKibben, author of The Age of Missing Information.

It is the age old question: Scandal? ... or just ineptitude?

And does the latter necessarily vindicate responsible parties from the seriousness of the error?

I wonder why the Dan Popkey story, from Sept. 2012, about my blog entry "Is the STATE of Idaho Whitewashing Tom Luna's Bio?" is no longer on the Idaho Statesman website.

Tom Luna is the current Superintendent of Public Instruction in Idaho. He is not seeking re-election after a profoundly flawed "Students Come First" initiative was trounced by Idaho voters.

Look at this Boise Weekly reference to the Popkey story. In it, click the hyperlink to the word "column" in the first sentence. Notice how this important story is no longer there.

Betsy Russell, who covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog for the Spokesman Review, had also included a link to the disappearing story. Her link is in the first sentence of the third paragraph.

Boise State Public Radio still has their story available, too ... a curious situation.

The same goes for D.F. Oliveria's Huckleberries Onlinee entry, "Luna Subject Of Wikipedia War," which also includes a link to the now-nonexistent Popkey story.

Luna's bio had been reworked by the Wikipedia editors after the controversy. But the key question here is why the story disappeared from the state's largest media outlet -- which has Popkey links going back as far as 2001 -- but not from other sources.

The story appeared on the front page of the Idaho Statesman print edition on Sept. 7, 2012.

Some concerned Idahoans weighed in:

The great media black out. Idahoans simply will not get the truth. At least we have Betsy. And you. I'll report. -Holly Imamovic

Another person said:

It's pretty stunning. You have to wonder if Luna leaned on the publisher or if Popkey himself had it removed, because of his own new political affiliations.

Popkey, a political reporter and columnist for the Idaho Statesman, left journalism in Late June after 30 years to become the press secretary for 1st District Congressman and Tea Party darling Raul Labrador.

But apparently, disappearing stories from do not represent a new pattern:

Unbelievable but not surprising. They do it all the time. - Boise Weekly Publisher Sally Freeman

and ...

Statesman web archiving is crap. Some of Popkey's pieces on Luna back in 2011 we put on our Common Sense webpage in their entirety, and the same stories have disappeared off the Statesman site.... - Travis Manning

Scandal? Or just a lousy website?

Does either option make you more comfortable?

We have front page story from a state's largest media outlet. It was linked and discussed on multiple other sites. It discussed whether tax dollars should be spent to have the staffer for a statewide elected official clean up his Wikipedia biography.

The story now only exists for those who can get a hard copy of a two year-old newspaper edition.

Please offer your thoughts and suggestions.

Boise School Board - VOTE TODAY

It's an important election for three seats on the Boise School District board. Incumbents Nancy Gregory and Doug Park have done well and deserve to be re-elected. Brian Cronin will make a great addition. The John Hruby-Grant Walden-Travis Jones axis is some weird concept cooked up (or at least simmered) by John Foster. While they're all capable of soft palaver, it's quite suspect. The Boise School District is the best one in the state; let's keep it that way.

Please vote, and please consider choosing Nancy Gregory, Doug Park, and Brian Cronin.  read more »

Heidi Knittel for Senate Dist. 12 Endorsed by Idaho Education Association (IEA)

Nampa, Idaho — Heidi Knittel, Idaho State Senate Candidate, District 12, has been endorsed by the Idaho Education Association (IEA) and Nampa Education Association (NEA). “It is an honor to be recognized by this esteemed, 120-year strong organization.” Knittel said, referring to the Education Association.

Knittel supports IEA’s vision to deliver on their promise of a great public school for every Idaho student. “Public education is the gateway to opportunity. It is vital to prepare our students to succeed in a competitive and diverse world,” Knittel said, concurring with an IEA Core Values.

Knittel understands that, in order to meet their vision, education professionals must be championed at the Legislative level. As State Senator, Knittel plans to do just that. “I will continue to advocate for educator’s rights, including restored education funding, increased teacher base salary and more opportunities for professional development.”

Heidi Knittel is 42 years old, lives and works in Nampa and has a master’s degree in psychology. She is running for Idaho State Senate District 12. Her decision to run was born out of her experience as a program director at a small, Nampa business, where she speaks on behalf of Idaho’s most vulnerable citizens.

As a mental healthcare professional for more than a decade, Heidi has been a passionate advocate in the citizen legislative process to help her clients have better futures. She has navigated Idaho’s sometimes slow-moving bureaucracies to help Idaho’s vulnerable citizens. She has participated in public meetings impacting clients, sponsored by agencies such as Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare.

Heidi is a member of the Mental Health Providers Association of Idaho (MHPAI) and the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH). She serves on the committee of Idaho KIDS COUNT.

For more information, see:

ID Election 2014: Congressman's Press Secretary: "It’s unclear what Labrador will do."

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Rep. Labrador's office has confirmed that he doesn't know what he is doing.

"Ever wonder exactly what our congressman, Raul Labrador, is planning?" says the Idaho Democratic Party.

Does he have an end game?

Raúl Rafael Labrador has been the U.S. Representative for Idaho's 1st congressional district since 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. His district is located in the northern and western portions of the state and includes the southern fourth of Boise as well as the cities of Meridian, Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Sandpoint, Lewiston, Bonners Ferry, McCall, Caldwell, Nampa, Emmett, Parma, Weiser, and Eagle. Labrador previously represented District 14B in the Idaho House of Representatives.

The young Congressman from our district, Rep. Raul Labrador, ran on a very idealistic platform that essentially boiled down to "America was a much better place in the 19th century, and we should return to that" -- basically, straight Tea Party doctrine.

The analysis above is from blogger Joel Kennedy, written in April of 2011: Idealism Meets Reality.

But does Labrador actually believe many of the thigs he says to get ... and to stay ... elected? Funny things can happen when idealism meets reality; and when opportunism runs into our rapidly changing world; especially when one's paycheck is based on a career in the ever-unpredictable Beltway.

Shirley Ringo has one clear goal:

Serve Idaho's people.

Check out this transcript excerpt from the Hugh Hewitt radio show, from June:

HEWITT: Big change in the race to succeed Eric Cantor as Majority Leader. Congressman Raul Labrador of Idaho has thrown his hat into the ring to square off against Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California. I’m pleased to welcome Raul Labrador back to the Hugh Hewitt Show. Congressman, good to talk to you, thanks for joining me.
LABRADOR: It’s great to be on your show, Hugh.
HEWITT: Are you going to win?
LABRADOR: I am going to win. You know, I’m already getting a lot of calls from people who are telling me that they’re switching their vote, that they’re excited about having a choice in this race, and that they want a different direction for the conference. They want more conservative leadership in the House.

When he challenges Speaker Boehner, the iconoclastic representative guarantees that Idaho will have no clout. When he then runs for the second spot without any support, he reminds other Republicans why they don’t like him.

In an interview with Boise State Public Radio, Labrador’s new press secretary, Dan Popkey, shed light on the baffling maneuvers of Labrador:

Popkey says it’s unclear what Labrador will do in the future; whether it’s run for governor, the U.S. Senate or a higher office. “I think I’m reading him correctly, he does not know what he’s going to do,” Popkey adds. “To suggest that working for Raul Labrador is an assurance of long term professional success, I think he’s a little too unpredictable for that.”

"Yes. Mr. Popkey looks like he’s reading him correctly," according to the IDP. "Labrador has never behaved like a man who knows what he’s going to do. He’s been so unpredictable that none of his constituents or his peers can trust him enough to work with him."

That doesn’t hurt Mr. Labrador. He’s doing fine as the Beltway’s favorite TV lightning rod – it just hurts Idaho.

Let’s send Mr. Labrador back to private life as an immigration lawyer where he can while away the years ineffectively like he did before he fell into Congress.

The IDP website encourages people to "Vote for Rep. Shirley Ringo and get someone in there who will make a plan with the interests of Idaho at heart … and stick to it."

ID Election 2014: Idaho Statesman Affirms Risch’s “Dilettante” Rep

Crossposted on Daily Kos

Sen. Jim Risch thinks "the job is easy."

Well … who wouldn’t like a high-paying job that gave you lots of clout and respect and perks without making you work for them?

That’s the job U.S. Sen. Risch has back in Washington, D.C..

Hard to believe? Well, Risch is the one who said it:

You know, I really enjoy this job. I really like this job,” Risch said last week, saying it’s a breeze compared to the seven months he served as governor in 2006. “Governor will wear you down. You can’t do that job permanently. This you can do ad infinitum.”

Home for a Senate recess that included a visit with the Statesman editorial board, Risch was remarkably passive about the failure of Congress to deal with the country’s problems, starting with a $16 trillion debt.

I can’t explain to you how dysfunctional it is back there,” Risch said, predicting it will take a catastrophe for the national legislature to tackle its responsibilities.”

U.S. Senate candidate Nels Mitchell used the column for an ad that ran this week in the Idaho Statesman. The columnist, Dan Popkey, who wrote the piece, confirmed that it’s accurate:

Democratic Nels Mitchell is using a column I wrote in May 2013 to make the case that Republican Sen. Jim Risch “sees the U.S. Senate as a place to relax, a perch from which to watch dysfunction and gridlock.”

“Idaho can’t afford a senator who thinks the job is easy,” Mitchell says in the ad, which cost $1,200. “Our country needs a working senate, and Idaho needs a working senator. Unlike Jim Risch, I won’t simply be a senator from Idaho; I will be a senator for Idaho.”

Mitchell’s ad reproduces excerpts from my May 6, 2013 column. When Mitchell announced for the job in January, he mentioned the article to me as evidence of Risch’s vulnerability despite the GOP’s strength.

Risch spoke volubly during a meeting with the Statesman editorial board about how much he loves the Washington social scene, his work on the Foreign Relations Committee and the collegiality of the Senate despite the institution’s “dysfunction.” He also said the job was a breeze compared to his seven-month stint as governor in 2006.

Mitchell’s campaign manager, Betty Richardson, said Tuesday that Risch’s comments have “staying power….So, we think more people should see it.”

Mitchell wrote:

Dear Idaho Voter,

I am running for the United States Senate to fulfill a childhood dream of serving others and to further the interests of fairness and justice for all Idahoans, indeed for all Americans.

Crossposted on Daily Kos

When I look at the United States Senate today, I see a body that has become dysfunctional. It is bogged down in gridlock, held hostage to extremist views, and peopled with career politicians who have abandoned the ideal of public service in favor of protecting the perks to which they believe they are entitled.

That kind of broken system is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Instead, they contemplated a Senate in which citizen legislators would step forward for a limited time in order to represent their states and serve the American people, before returning to their private lives. In so doing, they would make way for new leaders.

Surely, they did not conceive of career politicians – the kind of politician which Jim Risch epitomizes.

And our Founding Fathers did not imagine a Congress paralyzed by gridlock and partisan gamesmanship. Rather, they anticipated a true marketplace of ideas, one in which competing views would be deliberated in light of the very purpose of our Constitution:

...

Graphics used with permission.  read more »

It's Like if You Were Trying to Write a Good Haiku and All of a Sudden a Million Ghosts of Dead Haiku Masters Show Up and Laugh

It was so easy for me to unleash thousands of words on my favorite topic: making fun of Idaho. Adjectives flowed like unicorn blooded water over precipices of crystalline squirrel bones ... oh fuck that ... I can't do it. It's gone.

Why? Because these hilarious motherfuckers at the debate. I watch these youtubes and roar with laughter until I am in tears. Tears of joy. It's the funniest shit ever. No way can these guys be satirized. They are satire-proof simply by being such douchebillies. Fucking Idaho.

When I first saw the photo of the four of these guys I thought "hey, two closeted guys in suits being introduced to a leather daddy and something really icky daddy convention, and one can hardly imagine the horror they would experience in the dungeon." But nah. Once I watched the video I realized there's no point in a spin or interpretation trying to be humorous. This is perfect art. This is the superabsurd. This is brilliant. Butch Otter, who I find as appealing as an old saddle shat upon by hundreds of diarrheac cowboys and now boiled into shitty leather jerky, was tactically (if not strategically) possessed of a certain type of genius to insist these crackpots be front and center on the stage with Fulcher. Butch comes out looking like a circus ringmaster.

So, I think I'm done here and anywhere else where I once soaked myself in the blood of squirrels, sister-wives, mutant inbred children with single eyes in the middle of their foreheads capable of staring deep into your soul to find your most hidden place of shameful despair, as well as psycho-conflagrate many combustibles with nothing more than a *mad* thought, old Subaru Brats (the official Car-Truck of North Idaho) and so many more stereotypes of a backasswards frontier state.

Because. Because Harley and Walt. Motherfuckers you are golden.

Good luck Idaho. I fear you've collapsed upon yourself in weirdness, like a massive potato-shaped supernova, forming a black hole which sucks. I'm sorry you suck but it's kind of spectacular.

Groping in the dark for 2016

As an officially affiliated Republican voter (you could look it up), I was privileged to receive an IDAHO VOTER EXPLORATORY REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE POLLING BALLOT that was Authorized and Conducted by the Republican National Committee. It's CONFIDENTIAL | NOT TRANSFERRABLE with my name preprinted upon it, by which I guess they mean I'm supposed to keep mum, but they're going to tuck my preferences into their big database in the sky and use it for fundraising and advertising and whatever. All my base are belong to them.  read more »

Idaho GOP Fights for James Brown!


Isn't he the Godfather of Soul?

Regarding the Idaho Republican Party fighting for soul:

“It is a fight, really, for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “Are you out there on that far edge, or are you rational? I certainly hope that the rational message comes forward.

James Brown sang some relevant lyrics:

HEY, fellas!
Sometimes your business is ALL messed up, yeah!
…sometimes you don't have your thing together, yeah, yeah, yeah, YEAH!
…and when your thing is ALL messed up… somebody will take that fire, yeah!

And look at these thoughts from Spokesman Review commenters:

"How could the GOP be fighting for something that doesn't exist?" - slamdunk

And a shot from Joel Kennedy:

"The official "Fulcher for Governor" Fact Check page says it all ..."  read more »

Idaho Legislative Highlights!

Here are my top four:

1. Nullify the US Government and declare Idaho "a lawless frontier of Caucasian cowboys packing heat, killing things and loving Jesus" (died in committee)
2. Renaming "Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Probes" as "Happy baby ticklers" (tabled, feasibility study ordered)
3. $2,000,000 reward to the hunter or trapper who kills the last wolf in Idaho. (reduced to $400,000 and signed by Governor)
4. Legalize "upskirt" photos or films of animal rights activists. Create a website for upskirt and upkilt galleries. (signed by Governor)

Vote for Holli Woodings for Idaho Secretary of State

"I’m running for Secretary of State because your freedom to vote should not be infringed by anyone’s agenda at any time. Voting should be easy, fair and open, period. That’s what I signed up for when I registered to vote for the first time and that’s what I want for my children and my grand children. Easy, fair and open voting for all." - Holli Woodings

Holli Woodings grew up as the youngest of three sisters in a Southern Oregon logging family. Her mother, Julie, was a hairstylist and raised the girls in Eugene while her father, Chuck, was an auto parts salesman who settled in Boise. Spending holidays and summers with her father, Holli fell in love with Idaho and chose BSU after graduating from high school. She was the first in her family to graduate from college.

After graduation, Holli went to work as a project manager in Idaho’s renewable energy industry. She had a knack for wearing multiple hats within the industry; working development, public relations and public policy issues before founding Woodings Group, an energy development consultancy. Active as an organizer for TechBoise and co-founder of Energy Drinks (a networking group for energy development professionals), Holli developed a passion for the economic development issues facing Idaho. Community involvement was an inevitable choice from that point on.

Holli served three years as President of Boise’s oldest neighborhood association while starting a family with her husband, Ryan, founder and CEO of a local technology company. She helped grow the family business from 5 employees to 26 and win several “Idaho Best Places to Work” awards along the way. She helped pass the Yes! For Boise Schools supplemental levy and was elected to the State Legislature in 2012. In 2013, she was named an Idaho Business Review Woman of the Year.

Holli serves on the State Affairs, Energy, Environment and Technology, and Commerce and Human Resources committees. Her work focuses on providing high-quality education, growing innovative businesses, preserving personal freedoms, and increasing accountability in government. She has served on the Idaho Council on Industry and helped found the Idaho Clean Energy Association.

Holli lives in Boise with her husband and two children, Mary and Arthur. They enjoy hiking, camping and snowshoeing with friends and family.

Here are her positions on the issues:

Protecting the Freedom to Vote

We were very fortunate for many years to have strong non-partisan advocates—Democrat and Republican—as our Secretaries of State. They did a great job putting fairness and the interests of the people first because they recognized that voting is a fundamental freedom where partisan and special interest politics have no place. In their view, ensuring that our elections are easy, fair and open was a moral responsibility they were sworn to protect.

And that is exactly how I look at it too. I’m running for Secretary of State because your freedom to vote should not be infringed by anyone’s agenda at any time. Voting should be easy, fair and open, period. That’s what I signed up for when I registered to vote for the first time and that’s what I want for my children and my grand children. Easy, fair and open voting for all eligible voters.

Investing in Education

There is no more important issue than education in Idaho. We rank dead last in the country in education spending per child. Only 35% of our children have access to pre-school or educational daycare when the national average is almost 50%. Only one in ten of our high school freshmen eventually graduates from college. Which also makes us dead last in college attendance too. This is not putting us on track to fill or attract the skilled jobs our modern economy needs right now. And every year Idaho falls a little further behind.

That is nothing to be proud of. It’s an urgent problem that needs an even more urgent solution.

The Secretary of State is one of five members of the Idaho Land Board, which has a constitutional obligation to administer state lands for the long-term public good. One of the specific beneficiaries is our public schools—which over the years have been starved of millions of dollars from the Land Board. All of us are looking for ways to make our schools better That’s why as Secretary of State I will push to use excess revenue from the Land Board to reinvest in our schools so that we can attract more businesses and good-paying jobs to Idaho.

Growing the Economy

I deeply believe that the greatest investment Idaho can make in economic competitiveness is through education. Yet there is also much we can do to make our state more business friendly. Simplified business licensing, easy-to-navigate online filings and state agencies with a commitment to can-do, problem-solving business assistance are a low-cost way to start. Seamless partnerships with the Idaho Tax Commission, the Department of Commerce and Bureau of Occupational Licenses (just to name a few) will help small businesses navigate the system and get down to the business of serving customers faster. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we need to help them in every way possible, every day. Less paperwork, more service.
Holding the Special Interests Accountable

One of the key responsibilities of the Secretary of State is monitoring lobbying activities in our state. I believe lobbying should be transparent, legal and ethical on every level, and I will fight to keep it that way. Safeguarding the openness of our political system, protecting your freedom to vote and ensuring that our lands are managed for the benefit of all will be my job description from Day 1.

UPDATE 10/5/14 Idaho Statesman Endorses Holli Woodings

Our concerns about Denney revolve around past partisan dealings and future plans to tinker with voting. Denney's failure as speaker to take action against former Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, who stole state timber and refused to pay $600,000 in back state and federal taxes, has us questioning his impartiality.

His priority, if elected, "to work on measures to enhance the security of the election process, such as new technology that scans either signatures or fingerprints," is a solution in search of a problem. Denney seems too willing to spend money on phantom voter fraud and authorizing expensive second legal opinions that bolster the belief that Idaho has standing to take over federal lands through lawsuits.

Read more here:  read more »

Meet A.J. Balukoff, Candidate for Governor of Idaho

A.J. Balukoff’s honest, experienced leadership has helped make Idaho a better place.

Thirty-one years ago, A.J. and his wife Susie moved to Idaho because they believed it was the best place in the country to raise their 8 children. The accounting firm he started in his home was the start of a successful business career that helped build our economy and created hundreds of good Idaho jobs.

As one of Idaho’s educational leaders, A.J. helped deliver some of the best schools in the nation with high academic performance, financial responsibility and accountability to parents and taxpayers. He believes that every Idaho child and community deserves the same opportunities for success.

His campaign website says:

For March, we're launching a new campaign. We're calling it 'March Matchness'. As a demonstration of my commitment to making Idaho a better place for everyone and to this campaign, I will match every contribution that is made during the month of March, dollar for dollar. If you didn't have a chance to support my campaign in February, take advantage of March Matchness, and your contribution will have double the impact for Idaho. Please use the following form to contribute online. We can't thank you enough for your generosity.

A.J. has gotten results on the issues we need a governor to get right. As a Board Member of St. Luke’s, he helped improve the delivery of health care. He has worked to strengthen adult education and care for abused and neglected children. And as a leader in his church, he has lived the values of extending a helping hand to those in need.

A.J. Balukoff applies the same basic values to everything he does. Work hard. Tell the truth. Put people first. Treat everyone with respect and fairness. It is why he has been able to make such a difference for Idaho, and why he will be able to do even more as our next governor.

Here is A.J. on the issues:


After 20 years of the same politicians running state government, Idaho is at or near the bottom in every measure of student achievement. We are 47th in rate of graduates going to college. Only 5 of Idaho’s 70 largest high schools have more than 50% of their graduates prepared for college, according to Idaho’s own state standards. Many school districts are only in session 4 days a week. Classroom overcrowding is sending some of our best and brightest teachers out of state. Parents who already struggle to make ends meet are buried in extra fees. One reason: Idaho is now 50th in the nation for the amount of money we invest in each student. At the same time, politicians refuse to listen to parents and educators about what our schools need most. Education is the most important foundation of success, for our kids, our community and our economy. We need a governor whose actions reflect that.


Idaho’s middle class families and those who struggle to get by are being squeezed like never before. The rising cost of living and health care make it harder to make ends meet, while the governor’s and legislature’s policies have made Idaho #1 in minimum wage jobs. At the same time, the middle class is being forced to shoulder more and more of the tax burden while well-connected corporations and the wealthy get tax breaks. To create opportunity and success, we need a system that rewards hard work, fairness and freedom.


Every tax dollar we send to state government is hard-earned. The politicians in the state capitol don’t seem to appreciate that. They can’t seem to spend our money responsibly, efficiently or effectively. At the same time, there is no accountability when government puts the interests of corporations and contributors before the needs of the people who elected them. The result is a “pay-to-play” culture that benefits campaign contributors and the powerful with contracts and tax breaks, but leaves Idahoans on the outside looking in. We need a governor that will make sure that the Idaho values of integrity, respect for others and putting people first become our government’s values as well.

Rough justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners, from The Economist

I found this interesting article which summarizes America's incarceration fixation:

Never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little
Jul 22nd 2010

Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.

The system has three big flaws, say criminologists. First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable. Many laws, especially federal ones, are so vaguely written that people cannot easily tell whether they have broken them.

In 1970 the proportion of Americans behind bars was below one in 400, compared with today's one in 100. Since then, the voters, alarmed at a surge in violent crime, have demanded fiercer sentences. Politicians have obliged. New laws have removed from judges much of their discretion to set a sentence that takes full account of the circumstances of the offense. Since no politician wants to be tarred as soft on crime, such laws, mandating minimum sentences, are seldom softened. On the contrary, they tend to get harder.

Travis Manning to Announce 2014 Candidacy

Caldwell, ID – All are invited to attend the announcement of Travis Manning’s intentions to run for the Idaho Legislature for the 2014 election cycle. Staff from various statewide Democratic candidates will also be in attendance.

WHO: Travis Manning, previous candidate for the Idaho House in Legislative District 10 seat A, is eyeing one of two Idaho House seats.

WHAT: Press conference w/ Q & A afterward.

WHEN: Monday, February 17 (President’s Day) at 12 p.m.

WHERE: Caldwell High School, 3401 S. Indiana, Caldwell, Idaho.

Press packets will be available at the press event. We appreciate your interest and participation.

About Travis Manning,

Child Advocate

Travis Manning is currently an English teacher at Vallivue High School where he has taught for seven years. He is Executive Director of the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, an Idaho grassroots think tank formed in June 2011 in response to radical education reform measures in Idaho. He is a member of the Idaho Council of Teachers of English and active participant with the Boise State Writing Project. Travis is active in his local teacher’s association where he has led and been engaged in numerous committees. He supports all of his fellow teachers and all of the hard work they do. In 2011 he spoke out at the Idaho House and Senate Education Committee hearings in support of Idaho public schools, and has since published a number of editorials across the great state of Idaho supporting the voices of all Idaho citizens in the legislative process. He supports the needs of all learners in public schools and works hard in his teaching to reach out to help struggling students. He is an advocate for parents and teachers, believing they are critical stakeholders in the success of Idaho’s children.

Community Builder

Most recently, Travis gave up coaching high school wrestling, one of his passions, in order to advocate for parents, teachers and students in Idaho governmental affairs. Travis, an Eagle Scout himself, has recently been a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop in Caldwell, Idaho, and has been involved in Scouting in some capacity or other his entire life. From being a Den Chief and Patrol Leader in his younger years, to being a merit badge counselor, district commissioner, Scout camp counselor or Scoutmaster, among many other duties, in later years. One of the highlights of his Scouting experiences was working on the media staff at the 2001 National Scout Jamboree in Fort AP Hill, Virginia, with his younger brother. Travis believes passionately that youth must understand their local environment — neighborhoods, city, people, culture and natural world — so they might become young ambassadors for the communities in which they live.

Man of Faith

Travis has been involved in numerous school, community and church sports leagues over the years. He takes the lessons he learned in sports and Scouting to heart and has been active in numerous political campaigns and community advocacy activities. He is a freelance writer, active in his church congregation, and has served in a variety of church leadership roles throughout his life. In college, he worked for his university newspaper as a beat reporter. His most recent athletic accomplishment was completing the Boise Half Ironman Triathlon in 2010. He served a two-year mission to Philadelphia in the early 90′s and enjoys traveling, camping, bicycling, reading, and spending time with his wife and three children, Eliza having been adopted from China in June 2012.

Happily Married

Travis is married to Ann Ellison, who stepped down as a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey when the family came along. They are avid supporters of the Caldwell YMCA and believe this partnership between an organization and its citizens greatly benefits the community in which they live. Ann currently serves on the Caldwell Bikeways and Pathways Committee which works to protect pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, children attending school, and to encourage a healthy lifestyle filled with exercise.

Post Register self-censoring Dilbert. Because teh Gay.

Hmm. One of these things is not like the other -- today's (2/8/2014) Post-Register's Dilbert:

But today's was (Crime to be Gay)

The Post-Register has quietly self-censored, and a quick search reveals they reprinted the January 30, 1995 Dilbert: A Lighter Laptop

Yesterday's (2/7/2014), (Nuke the Taj Mahal) also talks about anti-gay laws. Post-Register readers ironically got Hosed:

A search shows that was the Jan 28, 1995 comic: (I have an Idea)

In 2013, Scott Adams commented that the public opinion blowback sometimes causes him to self-censor. He'd concluded that what he felt was some of his best work just isn't worth days of responding to blowback.

Like Scott Adams, the Post-Register has decided to slink back into comfortable convenience rather than (snort!) publish a syndicated cartoon that mocks India, but coincidentally mocks Idaho's legislature, too. It's a strange row publisher Roger Plothow chooses to hoe: The Post-Register has printed hard-nosed pro-equality editorials from Corey Taule. And they're sticking to their editorial guns over the innocuous 'controversy' of changing which comics to publish: We've endured weeks of letters to the editor as readers protest dropping stale old cartoons for newer ones. Throughout, the Post-Register remains resolute about ditching BC, Kathy, Blondie and Shoe for new comic strips like Wumo, Soup to Nutz, etc. But the Post Register silently preemptorily caved without even mentioning their self-censorship when Dilbert mocks anti-gay laws. During a week when anti-gay laws are prominent Idaho News.

Last week, the Statesman's Dan Popkey was similarly inept: Popkey wrote a piece on Teabagger Vito Barbieri's Tourettes-like grandstanding. Barbieri has repeatedly been blurting out incorrect / inflated numbers of how much of 'our money' the Idaho Legislature was spending. Rather than mocking Barbieri's lack of decorum, Popkey quoted numerous people and wrote an article so inconclusively noncritical that it's likely inflated Barbieri's warped ego until now he'll probably NEVER SHUT UP.

Yet the day before, Popkey pulled slight of hand to dismiss the Idaho 44 protest for 'Add the 4 words'. Popkey wrote that Nichole LeFavour's remaining in protest until she was also arrested was 'Look At Me' grandstanding, and headlined his editorial by paraphrasing Bart Davis's view that LeFavour harmed the protest. Now, if LeFavour simply left without being arrested like the other 43 protesters, Popkey and conservatives could have pounced on her for being a fair-weather protester unwilling to face arrest. So, rather than examining Idaho's grotesque lie ("worsens their chance at a hearing"), Popkey found a way to redirect attention and demean the protesters. Frankly, I haven't been this disgusted by a political writer since DFO at the Spokesman babbled that his (ahem) softballing questions to Bill Sali was an essential quid pro quo to being granted an interview in the first place.

Newspapers silencing themselves is tragic, since if not the press, then who? Molly Ivins (or Finley Dunne) said it best: a newspaper's job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Tolerating a bigoted effort to undermine a basic tenet of civil society maliciously wrapping itself in a mantle of 'freedom' isn't acceptable, either. Society is intrinsically about constraint of **BEHAVIOR**, regardless of ideas. And in a free society, ideas or beliefs can be spoken freely, but we restrict **practices** deemed corrosive to civil society. Milquetoast editorials stating false equivalencies at a time like this aren't ok. When misguided people seek to undermine fundamental civil institutions, there can be no equivocating.

Hopefully, both papers will reconsider. I won't hold my breath.  read more »

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