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America’s servicemembers, past and present, have shown incredible sacrifice and dedication to defending our freedom. We owe it to our nation’s heroes and their families to cut the bureaucratic red tape and continue the effort to identify and recover those who have not yet made it home. In De…

As another busy holiday season draws to a close and the new year gets underway, I am reminded of a critical segment of our population, who collectively never take a holiday and individually, hopefully, get some well-deserved time with their loved ones and needed rest and renewal. According t…

2022 in Idaho brought with it long campaigns and high-profile races in the May primaries and November election. As a result, three of Idaho’s statewide offices have new leaders this week, including the office I now hold, superintendent of public instruction. With the rallies, speeches and de…

As the 117th Congress (2021-2022) draws to a close, it is a good time to update Idahoans on some of the legislative and policy changes we made progress on over the past two years. The following are some highlights:

As parents, it goes without saying that one of our primary objectives is to do what’s best for our children. We strive to protect their health and well-being. We encourage participation in sports, the arts, or other activities to give their lives balance, joy and the opportunity to connect w…

This month, Mountain States Policy Center released our comprehensive Idaho Poll. Digging through the numbers, just about anyone can find something they like or something of which they might disagree. On education, the results were clear and can be summarized with three simple points: (1) Ida…

Adoption provides opportunities to turn heartbreak into love and growth for Idaho children in need of a loving home and the families who are blessed with their additions. According to the Children’s Bureau, an office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 353 children were …

When the leaves start changing colors and there’s a cold breeze in the air, we begin to think of fall and spending time with friends and family as the holiday season nears. What we don’t have on our minds is the beginning of the respiratory illness season, such as influenza, and the importan…

For well more than 40 years, Penny Keck has been the motor who drives the Lowell QRU, a volunteer-operated ambulance unit serving from the Middle Fork and Selway, up the Lochsa to the Montana line. In honor of those decades of service, the Lowell QRU crew gathered with a max capacity of loca…

One of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas in the 1970s was riding around in the family station wagon, “Bessie,” to look at Christmas lights while I whined to my parents about needing a snack – again. There was something magical about a familiar evening landscape transformed to a radi…

Harvest and fall groundwork is concluding for western farmers, and tractors and equipment are finally resting for the season – a much-needed relief to farm fuel budgets. Escalating fuel prices are an unavoidable reality in the fuel-intensive process of farming and ranching. No workaround exi…

Anyone needing a reminder about fellow parents’ depth of love for their children just needs to witness a kindergarten drop-off on the first day of school. Parents love their children dearly and want what is best for them. Making it possible for parents to be actively engaged in their childre…

A recent Wall Street Journal article, “New Rules Temper Stars’ Medicare Pitches,” addressed the practice of using celebrities in Medicare plan marketing ads. The piece also shared steps the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are taking to reduce confusion.

(Editor’s note: With all the discussion on this rescue on social media, and the public service emphasis on preparedness from the agency, the Free Press wanted to provide the public the full Idaho County Sheriff’s Office press release on this incident.)

For at least 36 hours, Idahoans believed Democrat Karma Metzler Fitzgerald had bested Jack Nelson in a Magic Valley race for a House of Representatives seat. But Wednesday morning [Nov. 9], state and county officials explained in an about-last-night-style press release, someone noticed the s…

The results from Tuesday’s election continue to ripple through state legislatures and school boards across the nation. Exit polling shows that public education was one of the top issues on the minds of voters – especially parents.

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Nov. 14-20 is National Apprenticeship Week and marks the celebration of a proven and time-honored career pathway. Right now, 236 Idaho businesses sponsor apprenticeships, with more than 1,800 participating Idahoans getting paid on the job.

For many years, Idaho’s policymakers have attempted to address problems related to “the teacher pipeline” by focusing on recruitment: reducing professional certification requirements, increasing ‘alternative route’ teacher preparation programs, and providing one-time incentives like Senate B…

Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) dual mission of financially supporting the endowment beneficiaries, such as public schools, and protecting 6.3 million acres of timber and rangelands from wildfire results in our agency offering Idahoans great employment opportunities to work in the outdoors.

All active duty and retired military personnel deserve to receive the full care and benefits they have earned. When Major Richard A. Star, namesake and champion of S. 344, the Major Richard Star Act, passed away last year after a long fight against cancer, our country lost a resolute leader …

As the Nov. 8 General Election quickly approaches, it is important for voters to understand the processes and precautions we take to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the election. Nationally, election officials are under intense scrutiny. Internet and television news sources have been re…

Idaho’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) units provide critical services, and the dedication and hard work of the exceptional Idahoans involved in Idaho’s EMS cannot be overstated. They take action when an Idahoan needs help. And, so often, especially in Idaho’s rural communities, EMS person…

As the Idaho County Clerk, I have been fortunate to participate in a number of organizations designed to help me excel as a county leader serving our citizens. I currently sit on the board of directors of one such organization—the National Association of Counties or NACo.

In the 1987 film “Full Metal Jacket,” soldiers march to the chant “This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun,” grabbing their genitals for the word “gun.” Turns out they’re both legal and lethal weapons.

Let me get right to the point: I would work harder and smarter for Idaho in Congress than Mr. Fulcher ever has. If he would agree to debate me, I believe I could prove it. Perhaps Mr. Fulcher agrees. Consider the following: 1. Mr. Fulcher refuses to debate me in fair, time-honored public for…

I love my kids. I appreciate their unique qualities. I look for opportunities to help them succeed and develop their unique strengths – but I don’t always agree with everything they do. I love them enough to tell them when I am concerned about their choices – and to say ‘no’ when it matters.…

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces. Concerns with President Biden’s announcement of student loan debt cancellation are among the issues Idahoans have contacted me about recently. The following is my response:

The first time I saw an electric bike — better known as an e-bike — I was struggling up a hill. Suddenly, a silver-haired man came whizzing by in regular city clothes. I felt a wave of envy as he left me in the dust.

Idaho Governor Brad Little made headlines recently, announcing a $1 million push to fight the influx of illicit fentanyl in our state. While there’s much discussion in the political arena over the methods to combat drug trafficking, Optum Idaho remains committed to helping those in our commu…

Housing affordability is a critical issue in Idaho and all across the country. With higher interest rates set by the fed, higher mortgage rates follow, making it all the more challenging for Idahoans to buy homes.

The Idaho Department of Labor is committed to assisting local businesses in the successful recruiting and onboarding of talented and skilled veterans into your workforce. We recognize the extensive training, experience, and transferable skills gained through military service and also recogni…

Congress recently passed, and the president signed into law, S. 2938, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Although this law contained some needed solutions to address mental illness, threat identification and school safety, I voted against this bill because it will abridge the rights of la…

Former President Ronald Regan said, “Strength is the most persuasive argument we have to convince our adversaries to negotiate seriously and to cease bullying other nations.” One of the ways we show strength is by solidifying our alliances with other countries with similar world objectives. …

The Biden Administration released two documents this month regarding the Lower Snake River Dams (LSRD). One is an analysis performed on behalf of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) by E3 that explores cost and environmental impacts in maintaining grid reliability across multiple scena…

A pending tax ballot measure in Idaho would create a new top marginal individual income tax rate of 10.925% on high earners, imposing the highest income tax rate between New York and California. But through a series of drafting errors, the initiative does so much more than that, as noted las…