Weekly Column: Voting: Self-Governance In Action
Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Self-governance guides our nation. Our country’s Founders affirmed its central role in the formation of our country in the Declaration of Independence when they asserted that to secure our freedoms our government must derive its just powers from “the consent of the governed.” Voting is an important way we participate in our system of self-governance.
As our nation’s 33rd President Harry S. Truman put it, “It is not the hand that signs the laws that holds the destiny of America. It is the hand that casts the ballot.” It is up to all of us to shape the destiny of our great country. The official voting information website for the state of Idaho can be accessed at www.idahovotes.gov.
As we cast our ballots, we cannot lose sight of the significance of this right. This year marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining suffrage in the U.S., and the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, protecting the right to vote for all Americans, regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This right is secured by the bravery, persistence and strength of extraordinary Americans. We honor them and the servicemembers who protect our liberties by exercising this right.
We have serious work ahead to build on the progress of the last few years. While a number of the following legislative achievements may have been overshadowed by other debates or media coverage, it is remarkable so many substantive legislative successes were achieved, many on a strong bipartisan basis, in the face of the increasingly partisan atmosphere in Washington.
- Tax reform law—the first comprehensive pro-growth reform of our tax code in 30 years. The law’s benefits include reduced tax bills for American families, with lower to middle income Americans realizing the highest tax rate reductions. The law puts our economy on better footing to weather pandemic recovery.
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—This bipartisan law provided direct financial help to the American people, rapid relief for small businesses, support for health care professionals and patients fighting the coronavirus and assistance to impacted agriculture producers.
- 2018 Farm Bill—provides certainty agriculture producers in Idaho and across the nation need as they continue to face a challenging farm economy while ensuring the continuation of important research, promotion and conservation programs.
- U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)—The USMCA improves market opportunities for Idaho goods in our closest neighboring countries.
- Secure Rural Schools (SRS)—The two-year extension of SRS funding helps rural communities home to federal land provide essential services while bipartisan work continues to end the financial uncertainty thousands of rural counties face nationwide.
- Military Widows Tax phase out.
- Terrorism Risk Insurance Act extension for seven years to help limit the economic and physical impact of terrorist attacks while further protecting taxpayers.
- Natural Resources Management Act –This law contains boundary changes for three wilderness areas in Owyhee County important to the implementation of the Owyhee Initiative, which is providing exemplary collaborative resource management of this special part of our great state.
- Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act—Bipartisan retirement savings legislation to increase retirement savings opportunities and financial security for American workers and families.
- Taxpayer First Act—Bipartisan legislation to restructure and modernize the IRS, with a focus on new protections for taxpayers.
- And Much More
As Senate historians aptly observe, our Constitution’s “first three words – “We The People” – affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.” We must exercise our individual right and responsibility to vote to ensure we have a voice in how our government serves us.
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