June 27, 2011

Idahoans Enrich Our Nation's Capitol

July 2 nd marks the 147 th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing into law legislation that invited each state to provide up to two marble or bronze statues of citizens "illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services such as each state may deem to be worthy of this national commemoration" to be placed in the Old Hall of the U.S. House of Representatives, which was designated as National Statuary Hall.  Idaho has given statues of two notable Idah… Continue Reading

June 20, 2011

Healthy Choices

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently replaced the traditional food pyramid with a new symbol, "MyPlate," to provide simplified visual nutritional guidance.  MyPlate also includes recommendations to enjoy food, but to eat less, avoid oversized portions and compare sodium in foods.  No matter what picture is used to provide nutritional guidance or even what guidance is best, this change can help spark family discussions about making healthy choices.    Most of us have seen our coun… Continue Reading

June 13, 2011

Rebuilding Lives While Strengthening Communities

A basic question about the juvenile justice system has been how much weight to place on rehabilitation versus holding juveniles accountable for their actions.  Perhaps, there is no real division between rehabilitation and accountability.  Juvenile offenders can take personal responsibility for their actions by complying with their penalties and turning their lives around.  Idaho's juvenile justice system is successfully working with offenders to help them rehabilitate and change their lives, a b… Continue Reading

June 06, 2011

Aggressive Energy Source Development Needed

Americans are rightly concerned with the price of gasoline exceeding $4.00 per gallon in parts of our country.  In many rural areas, jobs, grocery stores and schools are miles from home, and public transportation is not an option.  As we start the summer and producers are fueling up farm equipment and shipping goods to market, high fuel costs cast a shadow on productivity and cause financial hardship for families.  America recognizes the importance of establishing a sound energy policy that sust… Continue Reading

May 30, 2011

Monumental Service Of Quiet Patriots

I often write about the service and sacrifice of our nation's military and their families.  Our freedom remains intact due to the selflessness of brave Americans, like them, who are willing to stand up and defend it.  An easily overlooked part of this effort is the intelligence community.  The dedication and contributions of intelligence specialists are critical to the defense of Americans at home and abroad, and their sacrifice is worthy of our thoughts and prayers this Memorial Day.    The d… Continue Reading

May 23, 2011

The 21st Century's â??Belt Of Freedom And Democracyâ??

Twenty years after the Soviet Union's dissolution and the reassertion of their independence, Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have been well-described as a "belt of freedom and democracy," buffering the rest of Europe from Russia.   Each country shares a strong commitment to maintaining independence.  Developing democracy and building a free market system after communist subjugation is hard.  Dealing with a large neighbor bent on sabotaging their efforts increases the difficult… Continue Reading

May 16, 2011

Feds Again Overreaching On Water

Visiting areas of the world where clean water is not easily attainable is a reminder of how lucky we are to live in a country that puts great emphasis on maintaining a healthy water supply.  This fundamental necessity must be protected.  However, greatly expanding the federal government's jurisdiction over our waters, to include virtually all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, is the wrong way to go.  The Obama Administration and its allies in Congress have taken this misgui… Continue Reading

May 09, 2011

Justice Served; But Perseverance Required

Justice was served with the death of Osama bin Laden.  The symbol for worldwide terror for more than ten years was killed in Pakistan by U.S. special forces, and his body was recovered and verified.  While we take comfort in his removal and the effect it has on al Qaeda, there should be no question that we must remain vigilant and aggressive in combating terrorism.   The shadowy terrorist network bin Laden led is only one of the global terrorist threats we face, and only one of the many terror… Continue Reading

May 02, 2011

Idaho National Lab: World-Class Innovation

Many people understand that the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is a nuclear energy research lab.  However, the breadth of the lab's work may be largely unknown.  I am consistently impressed by the importance of INL's innovations, but never more so than following the tragedy in Japan.  INL specialists have stepped up to help address the trials in Japan in meaningful ways and continue to lead a wide spectrum of advancements that help both home and abroad.   Since the earthquake, INL experts hav… Continue Reading

April 25, 2011

Victorious In War And Vigilant In Peace

Atop our nation's Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom.  According to the book "Where the People Speak," Thomas Crawford, the American sculptor who was commissioned in 1855 to design the statue, envisioned the Statue of Freedom as "a figure victorious in war and vigilant in peace."  Standing more than 19 feet tall, the Statue of Freedom is a reminder of American service members' sacrifice and steady commitment to secure our freedom.       The stream of recent reports regarding those around the… Continue Reading

April 18, 2011

Idaho: Opportunities Right Outside Our Doors

With diverse and picturesque natural features across its 53 million acres, Idaho is undeniably beautiful.  The rolling wheat and legume fields and grasslands of the Palouse, the sparkling tree-lined Lake Coeur d'Alene and the fascinating Craters of the Moon Lava field that stretches more than 600 square miles are just a few examples of Idaho's distinctive landscape.  We have forests, wildlife, mountains, rivers, lakes, hot springs and parks a plenty, providing great opportunities for exploration… Continue Reading

April 11, 2011

Renewing The Land Of Opportunity

The Federal Register, a publication of regulations and legal notices issued by federal agencies, ballooned to more than 82,000 pages by the end of last year, and small businesses are bearing a disproportionate share of this growing regulatory burden.  To truly improve our economy and sustain what America stands for-the land of opportunity-the federal government must quit heaping federal regulations on job-makers, America's small businesses.   Increasing federal regulations have a disproportion… Continue Reading

April 04, 2011

Positive Snowpack: A Companion Of Productivity

Annual snowfall in Idaho's mountains is what feeds most Idaho waterways, and measurements of snowpack provide an excellent forecast of expected water resources.  Around this time of year, people from all sectors are eagerly reviewing this information and planning their year.   Without a doubt, our water supply is a critical element to Idaho's economy and a major factor in annual productivity.    The importance of water to Idaho communities cannot be overestimated.  Public and domestic water su… Continue Reading

March 28, 2011

Economy Boosting Energy Solutions

Identifying growing energy demands and increasing oil and gas prices as problems is easy.  Far more difficult is taking the next, productive step of identifying and implementing solutions.  Fortunately, we have options, such as expanding access to U.S. oil reserves and increasing responsible domestic oil production.  As fuel prices escalate again and threaten economic recovery, advancing these sensible solutions is increasingly critical.  Such accomplishments could increase our nation's energy s… Continue Reading

March 21, 2011

Health Care Law: A Year Older And None The Wiser

March 23 marks the first anniversary of the health care law that is failing to achieve the results, including control of health care costs and better access to quality care, Americans sought and deserve.  Instead, the law continues to deepen our nation's unsustainable deficit and debt, results in higher premiums for consumers and business owners and persists in stifling job growth.           Rather than restraining health care costs, the health care law worsens our national debt, now more than… Continue Reading

March 14, 2011

Veterinarians Needed In Rural Communities

Life in rural America is exceptionally enriching.  However, those who live in the rural parts of our country also deal with unique challenges.  While many times these challenges make them stronger, shortages in certain occupations hinder our economies, threaten our safety and weaken the fabric of communities that are otherwise the rock that our nation is based upon.  Food animal veterinarians are a sometimes overlooked but essential sector in human and animal health.  Veterinarians defend agains… Continue Reading

March 07, 2011

Plenty Of Room For Belt Tightening

Americans recognize that our inflated federal government currently spends far too much, as confirmed by our more than $14 trillion national debt.  Just as families eliminate wasteful spending to ensure they can put food on the table and provide necessities, the federal government must also eliminate redundancies to get our national deficit and debt under control.  A just-released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report sheds additional light on potentially redundant government programs and… Continue Reading

February 28, 2011

Americans Deserve A Fair And Competitive Tax Code

While an irresponsible and unrestrained explosion in federal spending is the primary cause of our record deficit and debt, an essential part of digging our nation out of our economic struggles is reforming our tax code so that it encourages, not discourages, job creation and economic growth. New, lasting jobs come from turning creative ideas into successful businesses. To enable those ideas to grow into jobs, we must remove barriers to productivity, including overly-burdensome and complicated ta… Continue Reading

February 21, 2011

Dating Violence Takes On Many Forms

My recent visit with middle school students to help young people understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy dating relationships provided an important reminder that dating violence is not just a teen issue. Regrettably, middle school, high school and college students are widely affected by dating violence, which often conveys life-long effects. Unfortunately, dating violence has a number of forms, including digital abuse, which can fall under the parental radar. The tragic death… Continue Reading

February 14, 2011

Idaho Farmers And Ranchers Grow Our Economy

Idaho is home to more than 25,000 farms and ranches growing 185 different commodities. Many of the farm families that comprise Idaho agriculture have persevered through great adversity, difficult economic times and natural disasters to help sustain our economy and provide a sector of resilience, especially during our nation's economic difficulty. The contribution of Idaho farmers and ranchers to our economy and communities is considerable. In a recently released report, University of Idaho ag… Continue Reading

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