August 10, 2011

Sharing Our Solutions

Coming home for the state work period is invigorating and thought-provoking.  It gives me the opportunity to discuss directly with fellow Idahoans the state of America's finances.  My first day back, I had the chance to speak with Chamber of Commerce members in Rigby.  We turned the meeting into a town hall-style discussion.  The give-and-take dialogue such forums provide is indispensable as Congress considers policy matters affecting all of our futures.      I hope to get a chance to visit wi… Continue Reading

August 01, 2011

Comprehensive Fiscal Policy Shift Needed

An American child today inherits a larger public debt burden than at any time in American history.  Our almost $15 trillion national debt puts a debt burden of nearly $50,000 per U.S. citizen.  In the last 10 years, federal spending per householdhas risen by roughly $10,000 to more than $31,000. Click here for slide one. If this trend is not corrected, federal spending will balloon to nearly $36,000 per household by 2021.  We can correct this by comprehensively shifting our fiscal policy… Continue Reading

July 25, 2011

Time For A Better Approach: Part Two

Recently, I wrote regarding proposals in the Senate Republican Jobs Plan to decrease our national debt and provide the tax and regulatory reform needed to encourage private sector growth.  To round out this effort, the Senate Republican Jobs Plan also includes proposals to expand market opportunities for U.S. businesses, provide an energy policy to sustain affordable energy options and improve job opportunities.  These proposals are also essential ingredients in the effort to create job growth a… Continue Reading

July 18, 2011

Time For A Better Approach

Our government's debt is now equal to the entire economic output of the country.  Any effort to create lasting jobs and spur growth must begin with addressing the debt and conditions that got us here.  The Senate Republican Jobs Plan provides a balanced approach that includes restraining federal spending, reforming tax and regulatory policy, expanding market opportunities for U.S. businesses and providing an energy policy to sustain affordable energy options.  Addressing spending and creating th… Continue Reading

July 11, 2011

Ranchers: Partners In Health Of Idaho Lands

More than forty percent of Idaho's land is classified as rangeland, which makes it the largest land type in the state.  The open space provided through rangeland supports a myriad of public benefits, including healthy watersheds, habitat for wildlife and vegetation, recreational opportunities and livestock production.  Among the resources for managing rangelands, livestock grazing is an essential tool, and the ranchers who provide this management tool are partners in the effort to sustain the he… Continue Reading

June 30, 2011

Symbols Of Our Extraordinary Nation

Patriotic symbols, songs, speeches and writings are often part of our Fourth of July celebrations.  Some emblems of patriotism are ingrained in the fabric of our nation, yet their origins may be largely forgotten.  This Independence Day, as we gather with family and friends to celebrate our nation and the brave men and women who defend it, offers a time to reflect on the history of a few of these important traditions and the American ideals they represent.        American Flag:  Our flag is … Continue Reading

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

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