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Issue Analysis

    Go Idaho! Local Elections Matter

    03/09/2011

    Do you remember filling out your ballot in November 2010?  I most certainly do remember re-electing my Governor, and attempting to unseat my Congresswoman.  But I also remember that there were lots of less known folks up for election, folks like your School Superintendent, or Treasurer, federal and state judges, your police chief, sheriff etc.  


    And if you are like me, you had no idea how to vote in concern to these smaller posts.  But hopefully like me you went to the internet and tried to determine to the best of your ability where these lesser known candidates fell on the political spectrum, and voted accordingly.   These small posts matter and below is an excellent example of why. 


    Just this past Tuesday March 8, the Idaho Legislature passed a law restricting collective bargaining rights for the state’s unionized teachers.  In a recent article in Politico.com Jennifer Epstein reports: “The Idaho bill ends teacher tenure, limits contracts to one year and ends the “last in, first out” method that most school districts use when determining teacher layoffs. Collective bargaining would be completely banned in any district where the union is unable to prove that at least half the district’s teachers are members”.


    Read Jennifer Epstein’s entire Politico Article:


    But here is the really interesting fact in this political and legal victory for Idaho; the elected Idaho’s schools superintendent, Tom Luna, is a Republican.  Luna crafted this legislation, and told POLITICO last month that he had proposed it as part of “an overall comprehensive reform process for education” in the state. Limiting collective bargaining, he said, “restores power to our local school boards.”


    We must remember that change almost always takes place on a local level, when filling out future ballots, take your time, research ALL the candidates, even the obscure posts you think will never make a difference. Clearly in the case of Idaho the election of their Republican School Superintendant mattered.