Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New speaker stiffed Dems

I thought you would like to know a little about the organizational session of the Legislature. Since the end of the last session, there has been a closely contested race for the speaker of the house position.

The repercussions started as soon as the race was completed last Wednesday. Most notable was the refusal of the speaker and his leadership team to give the Democrats their earned third seat on the powerful Joint Appropriations and Finance Committee. This committee is responsible for the setting of the state budget. In addition, there is no public testimony on the committee, thus a greater need to designate the seats according to percentage of representation. The citizens elected six new Democratic legislators, which gave the party by tradition 27 percent of the seats on all committees. There are 10 seats on this committee, and 27 percent equates to 2.7 people, and any math class I took said you round up after 2.5. This step essentially disenfranchises a portion of the voting public for this whole next session. In this time when citizens are demanding more accountability, openness, and ethical behavior from our government at all levels, this action goes against the public trust.

The repercussions within the majority party were also obvious. If you were on the winning side in this closely contested speaker's race, you earned chairmanships and other coveted committee assignments. If not, you were lucky to keep a vice-chairman position. Each of these new chairs will shape the atmosphere and effectiveness of their committee. I wish for each of these individuals the wisdom and integrity to do what is right for Idaho and its future.

I kept committee assignments in Education and Agriculture committees and got a new assignment to the Natural Resources Committee. I am excited to land this one because of the great impact this committee has on our water situation involving the Snake River Plain Aquifer. I had to drop the Judicial and Rules Committee as a result and will miss the close association with the judicial, corrections, and law enforcement communities that I had formed over the last several years. I will still be involved locally, but not as involved on the state level, so be sure to keep me informed as your issues arise.

I thank you for the trust you had in electing me for a second term. If you have any issues, please contact me at or Call me at 934-5302 or write me at 1960 US Hwy 26, Gooding, ID 83330.

Donna Pence

District 25 representative


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