Biden NIFC Tour Lauren McLean with extended cutline

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean shows off a painting of the Boise foothills that she planned to present as a gift to President Joe Biden at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. McLean said afterward that she discussed the city’s climate initiative with the president, and two members of the city’s Youth Climate Action Council also got to meet Biden. McLean and the president also did a FaceTime call with a government class at Boise High School during the visit.

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Here are reactions from some Idaho political leaders and candidates to the president’s visit on Monday:

House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise: “There were complaints by our governor and others that he was not including Idaho’s leadership in discussions about wildfires when we are one of the states that are suffering most heavily from wildfires, so I felt it was a really helpful move for him to respond by coming out here personally to see what’s happening on the ground and to talk to our leaders about it. We are key players in wildfires in the West, and I’m glad that he made the effort to come out here to learn more about it and talk about it with us.”

Ed Humphreys, GOP candidate for governor: “Joe Biden is the poster child for why we need term limits on Congress to prevent a lifetime of slowly destroying America. Now he is quickly destroying America and we will not tolerate his incompetence taking root in Idaho.”

Gov. Brad Little: “Two-thirds of Idaho is public land managed by the federal government, and it is imperative we keep lines of communication open with our federal partners — right up to the president — on ways to build a more fire resilient range and forest ecosystem. There is plenty I disagree with the president on right now, but today we came together to listen to one another and discuss solutions on wildfire. I spent my limited time with the president focusing on the incredible progress Idaho has made with collaborative initiatives, including the Good Neighbor Authority and Shared Stewardship. We have demonstrated that diverse interests can come together with the common goal of protecting lives and communities from wildfire, creating jobs, and improving the landscape.”

Little added that he pushed Biden for “help with minimizing unproductive lawsuits so we can get fully agreed upon plans implemented and reduce the fuel load.”

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is running for governor: “When Joe Biden ran for president, he promised to unite this country but instead, he’s intensified the divide by waging war on 100 million unvaccinated Americans. Roughly half of Idahoans have decided not to receive the COVID vaccine; Biden’s latest mandates not only take that choice away from Idahoans but also trample our constitution. These mandates will cost Americans their jobs and effectively ice them out of the economy. This blatant attack on our livelihoods should not be tolerated.”

Terri Pickens Manweiler, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor: “It was an honor to meet President Biden and hear him speak at the National Interagency Fire Center on the devastating wildfires we have seen over the past year. President Biden is correct, we can’t continue to ignore reality. Climate change poses an existential threat to the planet, and we must act quickly and efficiently to change the path we are currently on. The Build Back Better plan is a step in the right direction toward combatting the climate crisis we see every day.”

Luke Malek, GOP candidate for lieutenant governor: “I appreciate the fact that the president came to hear what’s on the mind of Idahoans. It’s my sincere hope that he listened to Gov. Little as he explained that we don’t need the involvement of the federal government and running our businesses in Idaho, and that we can be exceptional partners in managing federal lands in the state of Idaho.”

Ammon Bundy, GOP candidate for governor, via Facebook: “Large crowds are gathering today at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise to send a message to Joe Biden that he is not welcome here in Idaho! Now, more than ever, Idahoans need a governor who will ensure Idaho remains free from federal overreach and corrupt politicians.”

Lisa Marie, GOP candidate for governor: “I don’t like the president. I don’t agree on most of the things that he’s talking about. … It shows his human side, in my opinion, that he cares about what’s going on out here with our fires, I mean, it’s real serious, with the smoke. It can take lives. He should be concerned as president. But I don’t believe in any of his actions on COVID-19 and the actions that he’s taking with the vaccine.”

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean: “It was my incredible honor to greet President Joe Biden today and welcome him to Boise. I had the opportunity to speak with him and share the city’s collective values of problem solving and innovation, while highlighting our bold climate action efforts. We discussed Boise’s Climate Action Roadmap, outlining our goals of being a carbon neutral organization by 2035 and a carbon neutral community by 2050. The president commended us for our work and encouraged us to keep pushing forward.”

Idaho Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder: “I thank him for coming to Idaho and coming to the interagency fire center, because of its important role in combatting wildfires in the West, and it’s great that he took the interest in the center. Hopefully it makes him well aware of the dangers of wildfires and what’s going on in the West right now.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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