Summertime update for Legislative District 1A

By Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint
Reader Contributor

Greetings. I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying our summer. With several weeks to go before the summer temps and water levels begin to drop, it’s time for a short update. 

It’s been a few months since the legislative session ended. As you may recall, shortly after legislators returned home, the state GOP “no-confidence” and “censure” votes began. Since sending my responses and rebuttal answers to the local newspapers, I’ve spent the summer visiting with our residents and doing some volunteering from early June at the Chafe150 to the recent SledFest, trying to stay informed and involved. I appreciate the time people have given me, sharing their thoughts and concerns about our community and how we can improve our district.

Conversations with community members have prompted me to make some requests from the State Legislative Services Office for research on possible changes to state statutes. Some of the topics I’m currently following up on are women’s health care, public works contracts, public access through corporate-held land, the distribution of Narcan, a library bill, electioneering and filters for digital devices. And I’m not alone with these interests — other legislators are working on these issues as well. 

Since returning in the spring, I have attended and volunteered at numerous public events and activities. From FFA in Bonners Ferry to both county fairs to the Farmers’ Market, it’s easy to see how important agriculture is to our area. I walked away from the herding and sorting event at the Bonner County Fair arena amazed at the abilities of the participants and the dedication to ranching and equestrian work that goes on here every day. 

Rep. Mark Sauter. File photo.

It also started me down the path of wondering what our multigenerational ranch and farming families think when they reflect on how our community has changed in the past 50 years. Oh, to sit and listen to their stories and comparatives. 

I’ve also spent time meeting with school officials from Boundary, Lake Pend Oreille and West Bonner school districts, city and county elected officials, and the Bonner County judges. I’m listening and learning from our dedicated professionals. What’s working and what needs to be improved are always part of the conversations. Establishing genuine contacts is also critical for the future, when legislation comes forward and I need to get the insight of our local professionals. 

I’ve followed up on a few local issues like the HVAC system needs at Bonner General Health and the failed culvert on Dufort Road. Honestly, I don’t think my calls sped things along on these projects, but they did let state officials know we are engaged in our North Idaho communities and are being responsible. 

A few road projects are underway — or finished — that should yield better traffic safety and flow. The Highway 95/Lakeshore turn-around project is wrapped up. The McArthur Lake curve project and the lowering of the roadway near the Sand Creek railroad overpass will both be welcome improvements. I do my best to attend the monthly road meetings for Bonner and Boundary counties. 

With Labor Day coming in a few days (as of this writing), I applaud those who work so hard on our roads and highways. And “cheers” to the police, firefighters, EMS, teachers and health care workers who ensure our safety and support our communities. Please make sure you give them a nod and a thank you. Let’s be thankful we live in a place with a foundation of sustainable business and agriculture. Celebrate it not just on Labor Day, but throughout the year. 

If you have questions or comments for me, please direct them to [email protected]. Or talk to me at a public event — like Bulldog football games. I’ll be there flipping burgers. 

Rep. Mark Sauter is a Republican legislator representing District 1A. Contact him at [email protected].

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