Sunday, May 31, 2020
Blaine County Democrats Build the Future with Youth and Moo Chews
Jack Keating and Grace Ayres-Doyle’s common interest in political science was among the things that paired the two at the Senior Prom this year.
Thursday, May 9, 2019


Jack Keating and Grace Ayres-Doyle were among the fresh-scrubbed faces taking their place alongside the old guard at the Blaine County Democrats’ Clint Stennett Social this past week.

Both are Wood River High School seniors who plan to study political science at college next year—Keating at Dartmouth and Ayres-Doyle at Fordham in New York. And both were among the young people who worked last summer and fall on the campaign to elect Muffy Davis to the Idaho Legislature.

Their involvement can’t come fast enough for the Democrats as political leaders urged the faithful to stand fast in the face of legislators trying to circumvent Idaho voters’ approval of the Medicaid Expansion bill.

The late Sen. Clint Stennett seemed to look on as his widow Sen. Michelle Stennett noted that the recent legislative session—the third longest in history at 95 days—was one of the most challenging of the past 25 years.

“It was a challenging session for a freshman,” said Rep. Muffy Davis, of the 95-day legislative session just past. “If I learned anything, it’s that we need more. We need more seats to get balance back. We have lots more we need to do and we’re going to do it. We’re going to be at parades. And we’re going to working with Nosotros United and some of our amazing future leaders.”

Keating, a star tennis player, said he wants to study political science because he sees it as a way to create positive change. I really like Sen. Kamala Harris—she’s awesome. She’s got some great ideas on the criminal justice reform--she brings a different perspective. And she’s representative of a population that isn’t well represented in politics.”

Members of Wood River High School’s Nosotros United also mingled with those at the Valley Club Clubhouse, in addition to looking over silent auction items, which included Idahound’s Moo Chews and Mutton Munchies, meals at the Ketchum Grill and Rasberrys and a stay at Ann Christensen’s Mexican retreat.

“I heard Muffy Davis speak and decided I had to get involved—she’s so inspiring, the things she’s been through,” said Amy Aranda

Noelia Passillas, America Tellez, Amy Aranda and Melissa Gonzalez—all members of Nosotros United—chatted with Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary.

 “It’s important to attend these social events, hear from the representatives and get to know others,” added Melissa Gonzalez.

Janie Davidson, who oversees the Democrats in Blaine County, noted that Blaine County was the only dark blue county in the state, meaning voters approved a Democrat ticket from Gov. Paulette Jordan all the way down to, as she put it, the dog catcher.

This year’s legislature spent nearly $2 billion on kindergarten through 12th grade education—a 6 percent increase. And it increased new teacher pay to $40,000 at the governor’s request to recruit and retain new teachers.

But no progress was made on the new School Funding Formula, which has been on the table for three years, lamented Rep. Sally Toone, a former teacher

Kathryn Goldman chatted with Melissa Ayres and Grace Ayres-Doyle, the 2019 winner of the Betty Murphy Scholarship.

“We’ve got to bring jobs to the state and all that is tied to education,” she said.

Rebecca Schroeder, the new executive director of Reclaim Idaho, told attendees that those who voted for Medicaid Expansion should be extremely proud of what she said is the greatest legislative achievement in recent memory. Tens of thousands of people will be able to see a doctor for the first time in their adult life, as a result, said Schroeder, who has a son with cystic fibrosis. But legislators  introduced several bills that would repeal or constrict the bill. And Gov. Brad Little signed one into law, even though he acknowledged the work requirements it called for would likely be struck down in court.

That bill will create a second Medicaid gap that will cost Idahoans millions of dollars in bureaucracy, Schroeder warned.

“We can pass all this great legislation, but if our legislators don’t care…” she said. “Every Idahoan deserves to be represented by someone who cares.”

Peggy Grove and Patti Lindberg were among 125 who attended the Clint Stennett Social held at the Valley Club Clubhouse.

Rep. Davis noted that Medicaid Expansion was the reason she was motivated to run for office.

“But we didn’t get it done,” she said. “They think we’re going to forget all those sneaky maneuvers they did this year. If we can flip six more seats, they won’t be able to pull these sneaky maneuvers.”

Sen. Michelle Stennett said this session was the most challenging she can remember in 25 years. It included posturing, which she said is not good lawmaking.

Her bill to prohibit explosive targets on public land during fire season failed by two votes in the House, thanks to a push by the Freedom Foundation.

It was a no-brainer for the Senate, she said, noting that one fire in Northern Idaho was so incendiary that a bomb squad had to be called to detonate the rest of the exploding target.

“But (those who voted against it) didn’t want to have anyone tell them what to do with their ammunition, even though eight fires caused by exploding targets burned hundreds of thousands of acres and cost the state millions of dollars last year,” she said, adding that she plans to introduce another bill next year.

Stennett noted gerrymandering efforts and urged her constituents to remain vigilant about redistricting efforts prompted by growth in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Twin Falls.

“But we are going to look much different because we’re one of the fastest growing states in the nation,” she added.

Both are Wood River High School seniors who plan to study political science at college next year. And both have been among the young people who worked last summer and fall on the campaign to elect Muffy Davis to the Idaho state legislature.

Their involvement can’t come fast enough for the Democrats as political leaders urged the faithful to stand fast in the face of legislators who are working to circumvent Idaho voters approval of a Medicaid Expansion bill.


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