By Judy Meyers
Bonner County Democrats filled the Sandpoint Community Center on Saturday, Feb. 11, for their Pizza and Politics town hall. Last spring the party filled the fairgrounds 1,000 strong for its raucous caucus. Democrats are engaged. They are focused on a range of issues including good schools that grow our economy, the environment, health care and budget priorities.
Sylvia Humes, new Chairperson of the Bonner County Democrats, urged everyone to become active: “Show up, and sign up.” She introduced former candidates and urged the crowd to support Democratic candidates in upcoming local elections. The Democrats are seeking precinct captains, and putting together a roster of folks to attend meetings of the LPOSD board, Bonner County Commissioners, Sandpoint City Council, and Planning and Zoning. She directed folks to the Bonner County Democrats Facebook page for updates and information.
The main speaker, Rep. Mat Erpelding, Minority leader of the Idaho House gave a brief talk on priority issues for this legislative session. When asked about proposed legislation that would remove information about climate change from science teaching standards, he encouraged everyone to contact members of the Senate Education Committee to “support science standards as written.” He also stated that communication with legislators should be respectful and reminded attendees that what works is local sustained action. Rep. Erpelding is working on legislation that would encourage recruitment and retention of teachers in rural districts. He said when he proposed it, it died in committee. But now a Republican has put the idea forward, so it may progress.
When asked what Democrats can do to advance their causes, he shared a theory advanced by Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor. Those who survive maintain hope: “Donate what you can. Take on one task each day. Contact your state legislators. Be an engaged citizen.”