My legislative district is amazing and unusual. I grew up in and lived for many years in Custer County, land of mountains and farms and ranches scratched green in desert along flat spots by rivers. A place of very few people. I understand conservative, agricultural and small government perspectives.
But here in the legislature I represent a district containing far more vegetarians than cows or chickens. My district rests beneath the statehouse and surrounds it like a sea of trees and buildings, rivers, cyclists, sage covered foothills, trails. Ours is a place where people often walk to work and grow gardens and I think perhaps understand the Idaho legislature as a hostile occupation of our progressive turf.
Today we debated oversight of facilities that raise animals for food and meat. Senator Siddoway debated, saying that the bill made him nervous, even if it was as some said intended to pre-empt attacks by animal rights groups to make the state of Idaho look bad.
In the debate here below the red velvet curtains, nothing was said of the animals, the chickens and the cows, so I did stand to debate that the proposed advisory board was skewed, giving barely two votes of ten to speak for the animals and not those whose business is to make money selling their parts to the non-vegetarians of Idaho.
I reminded myself that humor is one of the few ways for me to make my way here without constantly being an unwelcome voice of dissent. So I stood and spoke for the chickens and the cows. Someone has to.