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I’m excited to introduce five community members who will serve on our editorial board for the year ahead.

We had more than 40 applicants, so narrowing this down was tough. I was impressed by applicants’ community involvement and wide range of career expertise. I enjoyed hearing about what they love about the Treasure Valley and what areas they would like to see improved.

In selecting applicants we aimed for balance in life experiences and careers, political perspectives, and Ada/Canyon County residents.

Please join me in welcoming our new board members:

Rod Gramer, a Boise native and University of Idaho grad, is president and CEO of Idaho Business for Education, a group of more than 200 Idaho business leaders dedicated to improving the state’s education system.

“By running IBE I wanted to give back and give other young people the chance to have a great education so they could change their lives for the better, too,” Rod said in his application. “Secondly, I love Idaho and I wanted to play whatever part I could in improving the quality of life in our great state and moving it forward.”

Before leading IBE, Rod was a journalist for 38 years, including as a reporter and political editor at the Idaho Statesman, where he covered 11 legislative sessions, and later as KTVB’s executive news director and moderator of the Viewpoint public affairs program. He’s written two books and serves on several local boards.

Rosie Delgadillo Reilly, a longtime Nampa resident who grew up in Southern California, worked in education for 37 years, first as an elementary teacher and then as a school counselor. She went on to run a private counseling practice, and now works pro bono as a counselor for St. Paul’s Parish. “I am bilingual and bicultural which is most helpful in this community,” Rosie said.

Rosie cares deeply about equal access to health care and literacy services. She sat on the Nampa Public Library Board for 15 years and continues to serve on the Library Board Foundation and on the Terry Reilly Health Services Board. She volunteers with the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.

“I am passionate about fostering civility and offering discourse to teach the need for children and adults to address each other and issues with respect,” she said.

Tracy Watt of Nampa has been a registered nurse with Saint Alphonsus Health System for 17 years and with West Valley Medical Center before that. She started out as a 911 dispatcher at the Caldwell Police Department, where she met her husband, who continues to serve as a police officer. Their daughter is a paramedic.

“Resources and support for all of our local law enforcement and first responders, including and especially, mental health resources, is something I’m very passionate about,” Tracy said. She’s also passionate about suicide prevention, health care access — especially for migrant community members — and addressing food insecurity and homelessness. She hopes to see improvement in public transit and ride-share options between Nampa and Boise.

Nicholas O’Bryant is a 36-year-old attorney and father from Boise. Through his work as an attorney, Nicholas hears firsthand about many of the issues and challenges Idahoans are facing throughout the state.

In applying to be on our editorial board, Nicholas wrote, “Open dialogue with different and dissenting opinions is something severely lacking in modern society and too often people are afraid to ask the hard questions. I would like an opportunity to be a part of something that expressly seeks to avoid an echo-chamber.”

Pat Klocke, a Boise resident who grew up in North Dakota, recently retired after more than 36 years in information technology with HP Inc. Before joining HP he worked for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, automating rodeo systems in the early 1980s.

When Pat’s two children were young, he enrolled with them in Tae Kwon Do, and they all went on to earn their black belts. “Never underestimate the benefits of something like this on children,” he said.

Growth paying for itself, “just the facts” reporting, government responsibility and transportation are some of Pat’s top local issues, along with law enforcement — “not a fan of any ‘defunding’ but rather, let’s be smart about it” — and school funding.

As you can see, our board is going to have some great discussions. We’re up against a lot this year as our businesses, schools and families try to navigate a pandemic and as our population continues to grow, pulling up housing prices along with it. On top of that is a contentious election and the spread of misinformation, making it tough for us to find a common foundation to talk about what’s really going on.

Rather than badgering those on the other side or simply complaining about what’s wrong, it’s crucial that we put our heads together with solutions in mind. The mission of this board is to further those conversations and call on local and state leadership to do the same.

Holly Beech is the managing editor of the Idaho Press.

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