November 21, 2016

Heroes Among Us

For the past fourteen years, I have had the honor of recognizing some of the remarkable service of Idahoans with the Spirit of Freedom:  Idaho Veterans Service Award.  This award is presented in two categories:  veterans and volunteers who assist veterans.  Many of these Idahoans participated in formidable world events and returned home, raised families, built up our communities and continued to serve in many capacities assisting fellow Idahoans, including veterans and their families.  Their exa… Continue Reading

November 14, 2016

Capitol Christmas Tree: "An Idaho Mountain Gem"

Idaho is blessed with beautiful mountains and immense forests. In the winter the mountains and forests are covered with snow, making the landscape look like never ending clouds with skyscrapers covered in snow. Big tall trees. Beautiful to look at. Amazing to see. Pristine mountains. As I sit in the forest I find peace. As the wind blows through the tall ponderosa pines I feel a sense of solitude and peacefulness. To someone that has… Continue Reading

November 07, 2016

Idaho Rail Expansion Supporting Economic Activity

Idahoans living in communities across our large state create quality, innovative products, making access to reliable and affordable transportation options critical for the success of Idaho small businesses and agricultural producers.  Short line railroads are proven to be extremely efficient at moving Idaho goods to customers worldwide.  I had the opportunity to joinexecutives from Watco Companies, LLC; Burley Mayor Merlin Smedley; and other local officials in Burley to celebrate a major expansi… Continue Reading

October 31, 2016

America: Still To Build

"The American Journey has not ended.  America is never accomplished.  America is always still to build . . ." said former Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish in a 1961 speech. We are fortunate as Americans that we are active participants in governing our country.  The right to vote gives each of us an important voice.  It is more valuable when we recognize that the story of America has not fully been written.  The building of America is not done.  It will never be completely finished.  Wor… Continue Reading

October 24, 2016

"Audacious Executive Action"

It has been widely reported that White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough declared in January that the Obama Administration would take "audacious executive action throughout the course of the rest of the year."  I rechecked the definition of the word "audacious" to try to get a clear sense of the Administration's stated approach.  The Oxford Dictionary's definition of "audacious" includes "showing an impudent lack of respect."  Words such as impertinent, insolent, presumptuous, cheeky, irrever… Continue Reading

October 17, 2016

Idaho State Police: Supporting Guard And Reserves

The men and women who serve in the Guard and Reserve and their families give immensely of their time and talents to serving our nation.  Their skills and commitment also add great value to the workforce and our communities.  I had the opportunity to join fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch in honoring the Idaho State Police (ISP) of Meridian, Idaho, for being selected as a recipient of the 2016 U.S. Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, known as the Freedom Award.  This award is a trib… Continue Reading

October 10, 2016

Cutting Red Tape To Improve Veterans' Access To Care

Idaho veterans and their family members have made it clear that the Veterans Choice Program (Choice program), created to make it easier for veterans to get health care, does not work for Idahoans.  To address concerns raised by Idaho veterans, I introduced the Improving Veterans Care in the Community Act of 2016, S. 3401, to make it easier for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to send veterans into their local communities for health care, to make it easier for veterans to access this … Continue Reading

October 03, 2016

We Cannot Lose More Veterans To Suicide

The newest data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shows that 20 veterans a day commit suicide.  Overall, the VA finds that the risk of suicide is 21 percent higher among veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adults.  The thought of any one veteran, who has given themselves in service to our country, let alone a staggering 20 veterans per day, feeling lost to the point of ending it all means that we, as a nation, must do better to ensure that veterans receive needed suppo… Continue Reading

September 26, 2016

Olympic Gold Cultivated In Idaho

The ripples of inspiration created by Olympians pushing themselves to reach extraordinary accomplishments will continuelong after the XXXI Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have drawn to a close.  We shall never know how many young people here at home or around the world tuned in this summer to see a favorite athlete do what to most would appear unattainable.  Olympic athletes spark hope that the seemingly impossible can be achieved.  Some of this inspiration and determination is be… Continue Reading

September 19, 2016

Idaho Is A Fantastic Vision For America

Thank you to the approximately 4,000 Idahoans who attended the town meetings I held in every incorporated city in Idaho over the past two years.  Your thoughtful insights reinforce my belief that the best solutions for good governing come from the ground up.  The angst in our country is clear.  Much of this frustration is driven by decisions and politics in Washington, DC.  I decided the best thing to do is to reach out to the entire state and listen, but not just listen in the traditional way,… Continue Reading

September 12, 2016

Emblematic Service

"He lived to bear his country's arms.  He died to save its honor.  He was a solider . . . and he knew a soldier's duty. His sacrifices will help to keep aglow the flaming torch that lights our lives . . . that millions yet unborn may know the priceless joy of liberty. And we who pay him homage, and revere his memory, in solemn pride rededicate ourselves to complete fulfillment of the task for which he so gallantly has placed his life upon the altar of a man's freedom." This poig… Continue Reading

September 05, 2016

Remembering Idaho's Missing Vietnam War Heroes

I commend those who work to ensure the service of all our nation's veterans is not forgotten.  At a recent rally, POW*MIA Awareness Corp. Director Hiedi Young shared biographies she prepared of eight Idahoans who went missing while serving in the Vietnam War and remain missing.  The biographies are a thoughtful reminder of the ongoing price of our freedom: Lieutenant Roderick L. Mayer, United States Navy of Lewiston, has been missing since October 17, 1965, in North Vietnam.  Lt. Mayer was a … Continue Reading

August 29, 2016

Idaho's Intermountain Energy Summit

Recently, I had the honor of participating in the Intermountain Energy Summit in my hometown of Idaho Falls.  The event brought together experts from many areas within the energy industry from across the nation.  It is great to see Idaho Falls serve as the home for such a remarkable summit.  I had the opportunity to discuss nuclear energy research and innovation proposals I have introduced in the U.S. Senate.  The following is a condensed version of my remarks:    Since the 1950s, the Idaho Nat… Continue Reading

August 22, 2016

Idaho Home To Outstanding Nuclear Research

I had the opportunity recently to join with fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch in honoring Idaho National Laboratory (INL) researchers Dr.Terry Todd and Dr. Mark DeHart, who were recently recognized as Fellows by the American Nuclear Society.  Senator Risch and I submitted a Congressional Record Statement acknowledging this achievement in the official record of the U.S. Senate.  Their accomplishments are a reminder of the excellent work conducted at the lab, and the exemplary Idahoans working daily,… Continue Reading

August 15, 2016

From The Mailbag: Sage Grouse Conservation

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website.  The following is my response regarding sage grouse conservation: As a lifelong Idahoan, I share an interest in protecting our environment and its unique wildlife and recognize the importance of our natural resources to our ec… Continue Reading

August 08, 2016

U.S. Energy Policy Must Match Energy Innovation

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) most recent Monthly Energy Review reflects that, over the past six decades, our nation's energy production and consumption rates have nearly doubled.  In EIA's Annual Outlook 2016, it estimates globally energy consumption will increase by another 48 percent by 2040.  No doubt energy conservation will be important, but it is critical that our nation's federal energy policy keep pace with global demand and the advancements in technology in order… Continue Reading

August 01, 2016

Progress Achieved In Indian Trust Asset Reform

Indian tribes across the country have been working for well over a decade to achieve much needed reforms to policies governing the management and use of their non-monetary assets held in trust by the federal government.  Tribal leaders know best the needs of their communities and members and a recently enacted law will grant them greater autonomy to use their own tribal assets to pursue needed economic development, employment and conservation opportunities.  For too long, federal policies have … Continue Reading

July 25, 2016

Effective Zika Response Requires Eliminating Redundant Pesticide Regs

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy recently announced that aerial insecticide applications are an important tool for combating the spread of Zika on the U.S. mainland and territories.  This reiterates the need to enact legislation I introduced, along with a bipartisan group of senators including fellow Idaho Senator Jim Risch, that would remove redundant, time-consuming and costly permitt… Continue Reading

July 18, 2016

Stopping Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses

I have been alarmed to read outrageous reports of abuse of civil asset forfeiture where Americans' property is being seized without it first being proven that a crime was committed or without even an arrest or warrant.  From reports of the use of new devices to scan a motorist's cards and seize money during a traffic stop to a person's life savings and family business being taken due to unproven suspicion, excessive use of civil asset forfeiture requires action. The nonpartisan Congressional Re… Continue Reading

July 11, 2016

Importance Of Mentoring

Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the importance of mentoring in encouraging achievement in our nation's youth.  Mentors across America are helping ensure young people reach their goals and goals they may never have thought they could achieve.  The statistics included in S.Res. 356 deserve reflection: An estimated 9 million young people in the U.S. "feel isolated from meaningful connections with adults outside their homes, constituting a 'mentor… Continue Reading

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