A few thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...
Rep. Scott and Rep. Nate hold event in Pocatello to blast fellow GOP legislators. Conservative State Representatives Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) and Ron Nate (R-Rexburg) recently held an event in Pocatello to educate locate residents of “massive under-representation” by local members of the Idaho Legislature. Of note, almost every East Idaho legislator is a Republican.
In reporting by the Idaho State Journal, Scott said, “The Eastern end of the state has some of the poorest voting records on individual freedoms for the people, individual liberties, and constitutional voting,” referring to low scores given local legislators by the Idaho Freedom Foundation. She claims “[t]here are two parties up in Boise and it’s not Republican or Democrat. It’s the gravy train party and the party working for the people.”
It is pretty unusual to see incumbent Idaho Republicans attacking their fellow party members before a general election, well separated from the internal party primary. I suspect this will not help the efforts of either Scott or Nate to pass legislative measures next year.
Idaho dairy industry concerned about impact of tough immigration policies. The Twin Falls Times-News wrote a story last week about the impact of an immigration crackdown on the Magic Valley dairy industry, home to 73% of Idaho’s 562,000 milk cows. Idaho is the nation’s third largest dairy state and the industry generated in 2014 over $3 billion in revenues.
According to the story, Magic Valley could lose 40% of the workers employed in the industry if there is a crackdown on illegal immigrants.
The head of Idaho Dairymen’s Association, Bob Naerebout, speaking for himself, pointed out the industry’s need for an immigration program that allows for year-around farm workers. The current program is geared only towards seasonal agricultural workers.
Rumors circulating of possible GOP candidates for Lt. Governor. Brad Little’s declaration of candidacy means that the second highest statewide office, lieutenant governor, will be an open seat next year.
Names are beginning to circulate of possible East Idaho Republicans who might have an interest in the position. In particular, I’ve heard from several sources that both Rep. Kelley Packer (R-McCammon), and Senate President Brent Hill (R-Rexburg) might be possible GOP candidates. Presumably the open seat will draw others.
Idaho National Laboratory’s Cybersecurity Program. The Idaho Falls Post Register last week ran a fascinating story on the Idaho National Laboratory’s cybersecurity program. Housed in a building on the north side of Idaho Falls, the program has an annual budget of $300 million and has hired 128 new researchers in the past two years.
The program is geared towards protecting critical U.S. infrastructure like power facilities, oil pipelines and water treatment facilities from cyber attack.
The biggest challenge the INL effort has is hiring talent. There is an active effort to develop programs at Boise State University, Idaho State University and University of Idaho to produce potential future employees.