Washington, D.C. – “By now, some of you may have heard that I am inviting Idahoans to join me in a virtual walk across the country in our Idaho STEP Challenge. 

In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to discuss my simple “eat less, exercise more” plan that has helped me lose 70 pounds.  But what you may not know is the reason why I’m sharing my story and inviting you to join me. 

“Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Call to Action that encourages Americans to get out and walk or exercise regularly.  In this invitation, he notes that one out of every two U.S. citizens are living with some form of chronic disease that can be significantly reduced by increased physical activities. 

“Consider for a moment, the impact it would have within our communities and families if we were able to reduce the number of avoidable chronic diseases Idahoans would otherwise experience due to physical inactivity.  Through healthy active lifestyles we are able to improve our quality of living and save untold amounts of money on healthcare expenses.  It’s no secret that across the country we are experiencing increased healthcare costs.  If we are serious about tackling these growing costs, we need to start with our own health and the wellbeing of our communities.  

20160531 Idaho STEP

“During the last 18 months, I’ve taken my health more seriously and made simple lifestyle changes that benefit me every day.  Being physically active each day has become part of my life.  One of the ways I have found that motivates me to exercise is my fitness tracker, which allows me to track my progress alongside my family, friends, and staff.  That is why I started the Idaho STEP Challenge. This fun and unique challenge is an effort to motivate more people to improve their personal health, one step at a time.    

“Beginning on June 1 we’ll embark on a virtual walk across the United States, hiking nearly 3,000 miles over the span of about 12 to 15 months.  This historic virtual journey will start on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, and will end in front of our beautiful Idaho State Capitol Building.

“The Idaho STEP Challenge is a non-partisan, non-political interactive event that is open to everyone.  This isn’t a competition or a race, but rather a common goal we can use to establish healthy, daily habits.  

“Participants will need a means of keeping track of their daily steps to report each week.  You can choose from a variety of options, including smartphone apps, wrist activity trackers, and other pedometers.   Likewise, for persons with physical disabilities, there are a growing number of companies that offer trackers that work for individuals who use wheelchairs. 

“Whatever method of tracking you choose, you will need to sign-up on our website which can be found at http://simpson.house.gov/district/idaho-step-challenge.htm.  Here you will be prompted to enter your name and email address, as well as provide the number of miles you’ve completed.  We encourage you to submit your progress each week.  Doing so will allow you to stay current on our tracking board that will be updated weekly. 

“If you are concerned about meeting the required number of steps necessary to complete the Challenge, you have the option of joining as a team, rather than as an individual. Teams will be limited to no more than three persons per team.  Should you have any questions about the STEP challenge, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“Whether it’s a hike enjoying the beautiful scenery Idaho has to offer, or walking on a treadmill in your home or gym, I hope you will join me on June 1 as we step toward raising awareness to the benefits of an active lifestyle.  I am overwhelmed by the response to the recent Idaho Statesman article and I am more motivated than ever to start walking towards Idaho with you.”