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All too often, the concerns of Idaho’s smallest citizens, its children, are not fully considered in the Idaho Legislature. Does your legislator support what you believe is important? We believe the priority in Idaho is the health, education, and well-being of our children.

No matter your party affiliation, ideology, or background, we should work toward a better life for the next generation. Decades from now, some of us may not be here, but our focus on children today will show in their level of achievement and their resilience to weather difficult situations, such as now. Taking care of our kids now, means better economic growth, more stable communities, and the ability of Idaho businesses to be competitive in the future. It is more than an investment in human capital, it is “the right thing to do.”

No legislator will campaign as being “anti-child”. Look at how they vote. Do you know if your representatives voted for/against health and safety standards for daycare this past session? Do you know if they voted to keep highly qualified teachers? Or raise the minimum age of marriage to 16? Or limit youth access to vaping products? Shouldn’t this change the way YOU vote in the upcoming election? These issues are what drive true change and move the dial on things such as literacy rates, childhood obesity, high school graduation, college attendance, and even prison recidivism.

To highlight issues, we have formed Idaho Children Are Primary (ICAP) who will oversee an evaluation system called the Kids Matter Index. ICAP represents a diversity of Republicans, Democrats, policy makers, business leaders, educators and physicians. Despite different backgrounds and agendas, we all have the same goal in mind when it comes to policy and legislation: bringing the welfare of children to the forefront.

Our mission is to highlight issues when they come up. Starting January 2021, for every bill pertaining to children before the Idaho Legislature, we will be asking the question: Is this good for Idaho’s kids? We will help voters and legislators make informed decisions by providing evidence-based data whenever possible. At the end of session, we will publish the voting history of each legislator based on the Kids Matter Index. Our intention is not to point fingers, but to highlight opportunity. In fact, when we scored ten child-related bills from 2020 session nearly half of legislators voted decidedly pro-child, in agreement with ICAP’s position about 90 percent.

Yes, we CAN reduce dropout rates, decrease teen suicide, increase kindergarten readiness, and improve children’s health, but to do all these things, we need dedicated

legislators voting for the interests of children. Lawmakers’ actions — or inaction —determine whether Idaho children are growing up healthy, staying safe and walking into classrooms prepared to learn. This is what we want for our kids, a strong economy, communities filled with opportunities, and an environment where all kids reach their potential. With your informed vote, we can elect policy makers who will vote for a brighter future for all of Idaho’s children.

Are you registered to vote? Have you requested your absentee ballot to vote on November 3rd? Go to www.idahovotes.org and insure your vote will be cast and counted!

Trent Clark, Staci Darmody, Patricia Kempthorne, Alicia Lachiondo, Cristina Leon, Luke Malek, John Rusche, Chris Streeter and Cindy Wilson are advisory board members for Idaho Children Are Primary.

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