Otter to Defend Common Core: 2014 Idaho State of the State Preview
No I'm not talking about the BCS Title Game between Florida State and Auburn. The real game has begun now that Governor Otter has given us his blueprint for the current legislative schedule. I must admit to listening to the speech on 580 KIDO instead of watching it on television. The speech the governor gave focused on education, the health exchange, and economic development. As expected, he highlighted his administration's fiscal discipline during the rough economic years. I was a little shocked at the governor describing the additions of Chobani Yogurt and Cliff Bar to the Twin Falls area as the 'Magic Valley Miracle.' Too bad there's more to the state than the magic valley.
Perhaps it's the old cultural conservative in me that wanted the governor to talk about the defense of marriage. Considering the recent lawsuit brought against Idaho and other states, it would have been refreshing to hear what the governor had to say. That didn't happen today. Advocates of strengthening the second amendment should be concerned that there was no mention of expanding gun rights today. Without the overt and covert support of the chief executive, new gun legislation has little chance of passing.
The early winners of today's speech have to be Senator Russ Fulcher, who will join us tomorrow morning at 8am, and AJ Balukoff. Fulcher because the governor continued his defense of the state health exchange. This is the number one issue among the base of the Idaho Republican Party Voters who feel betrayed by the state joining the exchange. The governor admitted that we are not a state exchange. He hopes that it will happen one day. Otter doubled down on his belief that engagement is better than opting out of Obama Care.
Mr. Balukoff wins due to the governor not giving teacher's a pay raise. The teacher's are a powerful and sympathetic group in Idaho. We've seen their electoral power in 2012. Will the growing challenge of funding education and educators be enough to make the general election competitive? Only time will tell. State School Superintendent Tom Luna will join us Tuesday morning at 7am to give his take on the governor's proposal.
The length of the session should also tell us about the game within the game. A longer session does not bod well for incumbents who fear a tough primary fight. A short session indicates the old guard still runs the statehouse. Grab your popcorn, soda, and scorecard, game on!