Lawmakers, others react to Little’s State of the State address

January 8, 2019
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Rep. Jason Monks, R-Nampa

Reaction to Little’s State of the State address

Here are reactions to Gov. Brad Little’s first State of the State address on Monday from Treasure Valley legislators and others:

REP. MIKE MOYLE, R-Star, the House Majority Leader: “He did a good job. He’s dealt an interesting hand with some of the revenue situations going on.” On Little’s decision to delay the grocery tax repeal for a year: “I think it’s a wise one. I think until you know how this is going to settle out with the federal and state tax changes, you’ve got to be cautious. … He’s always been careful. I’ve always liked that about Brad. I’ve always appreciated the way that he does his homework, I really have.”

SEN. CHUCK WINDER, R-Boise, the Senate Majority Leader: “I thought it was a very good speech. I liked particularly his emphasis on education and continuing to improve Idaho’s education system,” including a task force to develop a new five-year plan for Idaho education. “I think on Medicaid, he clearly has sided with the voters in saying that he thinks the Legislature needs to fund it, and he provided a way to do that the first year.”

SEN. MICHELLE STENNETT, D-Ketchum, the Senate Minority Leader, when asked about the overall tone of the address: “I did a happy dance. Because really, much of what he said is something that as Democrats we have been talking about and trying to pass for 10 years — at least as long as I’ve been here. ... Education, the highlights of his speech, are things that we have been working very hard toward. We have a lot of experience. … We want to be at the table.”

REP. MAT ERPELDING, D-Boise, the House Minority Leader, said he looks “forward to finding bipartisan solutions to our state’s challenges. Our core values of ensuring the security of our families, providing quality educational opportunities to our children, and protecting our quality of life provide a guide that will help us work with the new administration to benefit all Idahoans.”

SHERRI YBARRA, the state superintendent of schools: “As Idaho’s top advocate for kids in the state of Idaho, I am very excited about that (education being top priority for Little). I think the starting salary increase that he talked about for teachers, it’s huge, it’s wonderful. And I’m also really excited about the literacy investment there, too, moving forward. I’m really excited.”

REP. ILANA RUBEL, D-Boise: “There was a lot of really encouraging news in the State of the State. I was extremely excited about the increase in teacher pay, the increase in resources going to literacy programs, I think all of that’s fantastic. I guess in a dream world I would have liked for there to be something on early childhood education, as well. I think that’s really going to be the most impactful way to address our literacy crisis. And when you’re leaving out those years of prime brain development between 3 and 5 and just not putting any resources or even allowing kids really to have public access to resources during that time, I think it’s going to be really hard meaningfully improving literacy.”

REP. JOHN GANNON, D-Boise, noted that Little didn’t mention faith healing in Idaho, but Gannon said it needs to be addressed. “It’s something that has to be addressed at some point. It’s not going to go away,” he said. Gannon said a bill is circulating that attempts to nuance the issue of religious freedom as it applies to faith healing. “If they don’t like this bill, they’ll have to come up with something that will work,” he said.

REP. BRENT CRANE, R-Nampa, said he is excited at the direction Little plans to take the state, especially Little’s plan to issue an executive order that for each regulation a state agency implements, it must revoke two. Crane said it moves toward “shrinking the size of government” and “limiting government overreach,” and said, “He hit the issues that have to be dealt with.” Crane also lauded Little’s plan to increase teacher pay as making good on previous promises.

REP. WENDY HORMAN, R-Idaho Falls: “I’m really pleased to hear his continued focus on Idaho’s children. The children’s cabinet, our future task force, that’s right in line with what the Legislature’s been doing in terms of shifting the way we fund the education system to focus on students, as well, so there’s a nice alignment there. His commitment to the year five of the career ladder is great to see. I think the Legislature is supportive of that, as well.”

REP. JASON MONKS, R-Nampa: “I’m kind of looking forward to finding out what else is important to him. I expected to hear something on the school funding formula. I’ll be excited to hear some of the details on an Idaho approach to Proposition 2 and an Idaho approach to how we look at our budgeting concerns this year.”

SEN. CHERIE BUCKNER-WEBB, D-Boise: “I am really excited to start the year.” Buckner-Webb said she’s glad that Little acknowledged Medicaid expansion and that the people of Idaho called it out. She said she is also pleased with the focus on education: “He realizes that education is the foundation of not only the future but the present.”

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