Many of you know that I employ the model of collaboration in my work in Congress and on the ground in Idaho.  You’ll see the word collaboration in my news releases and in my actions; in Congressional negotiations and on the ground in Idaho.  The process of collaboration often succeeds as a way of achieving consensus on difficult public policy matters. 

Whether it has to do with decades-old public lands management disputes in Idaho or finding ways to eliminate our national debt and deficit and restore jobs and our economy for families all over the nation, finding a way to work together is always the solution. 

Regardless of where and what the issue might be, I absolutely believe that working together does not require a sacrifice of principle but does require a commitment to problem-solving and a willingness to understand each other’s objectives.  Inevitably, at several points along the collaborative path there will be strong disagreements, and the successful collaborative efforts have in common that the participants refuse to quit. 

In Idaho over the past decade, we have succeeded with public lands projects such as the Owyhee Initiative and are hard at work on others, such as the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI), the Payette Forest Coalition, the Boise Forest Coalition and others. 

In Congress, I have collaborative efforts underway.  I was appointed as the Ranking Member of the new Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth.  I also was an original member of the Simpson-Bowles Commission and the Senate’s Gang of Six (now Eight) seeking to find a permanent solution to our debt issues. 

Many very difficult issues remain nationally, regionally and within Idaho, such as anadromous fish recovery, sage grouse management and others.  It is my hope that the interests involved in each of these issues and more will increasingly embrace the collaborative model.

My staff and I are always available to work with any group as we proceed together in solving Idaho’s and the nation’s problems.