October 29, 2012

Voting: A Right And Responsibility

Every Election Day, a colleague puts on a suit and takes his young sons to the polls with him to vote.  Even though his sons may be too young to fully understand voting, he is instilling in them, at an early age, the importance of this precious right.  Self-governance guides the course of our nation.  Voting is not only a right, secured by the sacrifices of countless Americans, but also it is an individual responsibility to help shape our nation.  With the passage of time, it is easy to forget … Continue Reading

October 22, 2012

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

According to statistics compiled by the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, in 2011, the Idaho State Police reported 5,715 incidents of violence between spouses, ex-spouses and those in dating relationships.  This equates to one reported violent incident nearly every 90 minutes.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I commend all those who are working to raise awareness of resources for victims and advance prevention.  These efforts cannot diminish. We are makin… Continue Reading

October 15, 2012

Application Process Open For U.S. Military Academies

The privilege of nominating young Idahoans to United States military academies is one of our most enjoyable opportunities as U.S. Senators and Representatives.  These young people are the future of our country, and we are always impressed with the Idahoans who apply. As authorized by law, each year elected officials have the honor of nominating deserving young women and men to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado; the U.S. Military Academy, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy, Maryland; and the Me… Continue Reading

October 08, 2012

Practicing Regulatory Oversight

Job creation and economic growth require that Congress actively practice its oversight responsibilities, including reviewing regulations that affect small businesses and workers and curtailing redundant and overly-burdensome federal mandates.  That is why I recently joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing legislation to clarify Congressional intent regarding the regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters.  This issue is another example of overregulation that nee… Continue Reading

October 01, 2012

Outdoor Recreation: An Unsung Economic Driver

I grew up camping, hunting and fishing.  I shared this heritage with my sons and daughters over the years and continue to enjoy it today.  Idaho's many areas to participate in this tradition are some of the numerous reasons I love our state so much.  As this hunting season kicks-off, I am reminded of the importance of hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities to our communities. Recreational opportunities are helping support our economy.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rec… Continue Reading

September 24, 2012

Lessons From This Relentless Fire Season

This year, Idaho has had more than 600 fires on federal land.  More than 100 of these fires have burned in excess of 100 acres.  As we take stock of where we go from here, we must continue to work to ensure that we are prepared for the worst, equipped with the best methods to deal with catastrophic fires and trained for mitigating the consequences of fires.  The impacts of the fires have been hard felt in Idaho communities.  The tragic loss of Anne Veseth, a student from Moscow who was fighting… Continue Reading

September 17, 2012

They Continue To Leave Their Mark

The phrase, "Kilroy was here," with a cartoon, is engraved on two remote spots on the National World War II Memorial.  This is found on the memorial because American troops during World War II used it to leave their mark in various places they served.  Today, it remains a reminder of the permanent mark left by this generation of Americans who fought to secure our freedom and the freedom of millions of people across the world and then returned home to build America into the greatest country in th… Continue Reading

September 10, 2012

Our Constitution: Foundation For Freedoms

In a letter accompanying the Constitution, George Washington wrote about the challenges in developing our nation's Constitution.  He wrote, "on the present occasion, the difficulty was increased by a difference among the several States as to their situation, extent, habits and particular interests…thus, the Constitution which we now present is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession, which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensible…we h… Continue Reading

September 03, 2012

Long Overdue Honor

During a recent ceremony in Blackfoot, I was honored to present two Idaho veteranswith the Congressional Gold Medal for their distinguished service to our nation during World War II.  The medals were long overdue for Kazuo Endow, of Blackfoot, and Agie Harada, of Shelley, who were unable to attend the presentation in Washington, D.C., last year where their fellow members of the 442 nd Regimental Combat Team collectively received the medal.  Visiting with these two inspiring Idahoans was a r… Continue Reading

August 27, 2012

Rare Earth Minerals Critical to U.S.

A dependable supply of rare earth minerals is essential for national security, industrial production and economic success.  However, we import nearly all of our supply of these critical minerals from foreign sources.  The development of a domestic supply chain is necessary to ensure these elements remain available to U.S. manufacturers.  Seventeen elements are classified as rare earth elements (REEs).  The Congressional Research Service (CRS) reportsthat these elements are key ingredients in … Continue Reading

August 20, 2012

Post Offices: Keeping These Community Hubs

As the son of a former postmaster, I have great respect for the role of post offices in our communities.  Given the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) problematic financial situation, many may be wondering about the continuation of their services.  It is a fair question as discussions continue about how to maintain services while enabling the Postal Service to balance its budget.  The importance of this service, especially in the rural communities that rely on local post offices for business and effic… Continue Reading

August 13, 2012

Seven Remarkable Idahoans

Idahoans have had seven more reasons to follow the Olympic Games in London.  Seven athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics have strong Idaho connections--giving us opportunities to cheer on hometown champions.  Through their examples, Olympic athletes are inspiring us to push beyond the limits of what we may think is possible. Idaho has fielded a remarkable group of athletes in a variety of events for these Olympic games:   Kristin Armstrong, a graduate of the University of Ida… Continue Reading

August 06, 2012

To Survive And Prosper

How a nation handles its spycraft says a lot about its government.  Countries that undervalue it pay a huge price in stability and security.  Governments that direct it at their citizens undermine their own legitimacy.  States that mismanage it waste the investment and strategic advantage.  Most states study and learn about the intentions and capabilities of those who seek to do them harm.  A deficiency of sound intelligence undercutsa nation and its armed services.  But, a smart nation does no… Continue Reading

July 30, 2012

Making The Tax Code Less Fair, More Complex

Our tax code is about the most unfair, complex, expensive to comply with and anti-competitive code we could create.  One would think it could not get more burdensome and illogical.  Unfortunately, it can.  Hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases, affecting every single American, will take effect if Congress and the President do not act by the end of this year.  President Obama would further complicate this by proposing relief for only one-year and for only some Americans.  Questions ar… Continue Reading

July 23, 2012

Food For Thought For Young Americans

Often, I hear young Americans questioning the relevance of national elections to their lives.  However, today's policy choices have significant effects on their lives, whether it is obvious, like looming tax and student loan interest rate increases, or seemingly distant, like entitlement program solvency, purchasing a home and how the growing national debt is addressed. Many are struggling to find employment or enough employment to repay student loans.  While recent action averted a doubling of… Continue Reading

July 16, 2012

Here To Help

Rachel, a student at Boise State University, was preparing to visit a brother stationed in England when she ran into some issues getting her passport approved in time for the trip because of errors by a government agency.  After working with the agency on Rachel's behalf, Rachel received her passport in time to visit her brother.     Sheryl of Lewiston, a high-functioning, permanently disabled constituent, contacted me for assistance when a federal agency was requiring repayment of disability a… Continue Reading

July 02, 2012

Celebrating Our Independence

Ten days before his death, Thomas Jefferson wrote his last letter in which he expressed his enduring belief in the Declaration of Independence and America as a model of self-government to the world.  The letter was a response to an invitation from the city of Washington to a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of American independence.  Jefferson wrote, "I should indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that… Continue Reading

July 01, 2012

Need For Better Health Care Policy Undiminished

By its nature, the U.S. Supreme Court considers cases with far-reaching implications.  The 2011-2012 term has been no different.  In one of its most highly-anticipated decisions, the Court ruled that the individual mandate provision in President Obama's Health Care Law would be unconstitutional, unless it is considered to be a tax on the American people.  The ruling confirms that this law is a huge and unnecessary tax increase on all Americans.  That is not what President Obama promised.  We sho… Continue Reading

June 25, 2012

Idaho Waste Removal Vital To Nuclear Future

The Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Nuclear Safety recently held a hearing to consider the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America's Nuclear Future.  As policymakers consider the direction of nuclear waste management, meeting commitments made to remove defense waste from Idaho in accordance with the settlement agreement must be central to these efforts. During the hearing, the Subcommittee heard from Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, who served as … Continue Reading

June 18, 2012

Honoring Fathers

While the holiday has roots that stretch back more than a century, our nation has been officially observing Father's Day for 46 years.  In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd was listening to a Mother's Day sermon and reflecting on all her father had done for her family when she had an idea to establish a day to honor fathers.  Sonora's father, William Jackson Smart, was a Civil War veteran who raised Sonora and her five siblings by himself on a farm after his wife died during childbirth.  Since Sonora's fa… Continue Reading

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