A few thoughts as legislators begin work

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The start of the Legislative session is underway. It is an honor to represent all of you, my friends in Legislative District 7.

As a member of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, my priorities remain focused on ensuring all funding is based on a need, and measurable outcomes are ensured for every dollar spent. Even though the economy seems to be in good shape, there is uncertainty when it comes to the revenue the Idaho Legislature will have to work with. Thereís some belt-tightening that needs to take place, and Iím there to make sure that happens.

We have a monumental challenge ahead of us in managing Proposition 2 passage. I will be watching this closely. Additionally, I will fight to secure fair, but not excessive resources for infrastructure, transportation and education as it directly relates to us in North Idaho. I will serve you as vice chair of the Senate Transpor-tation Committee this year, to increase your influence in Boise.

Some proposals to fund education has money for small school districts like all of ours on the chopping block. In the case of the Orofino School District, one funding formula proposal had the district losing $1.2 million. Itís my utmost priority as your senator to save rural schools and protect our children by ensuring they have the money they need to properly and fully educate our rural Idaho students. As member of the Education Committee and the Finance Committee, I am in the best possible position to influence these issues for you.

These are all major decisions that I do not take lightly because they are very important to North Idaho.

There is also the challenge in a new administration. It has been 12 years since there was some new blood in the governorís office, and there will be the adjustments that come with change. There will be new people to develop relationships with, so I can be an effective legislator.

While there are obstacles to overcome ahead, I look forward to new opportunities to represent each of you, protect our good conservative values, and do whatís right for District 7 and the state of Idaho.

Thank you!

Sen. Carl Crabtree represents District 7, which includes southern Bonner County, in the Idaho Legislature. He can be reached at ccrabtree@senate.idaho.gov.

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