Last night as all unfolded here in Idaho, I had to breathe in, look around the old ballroom decorated to feel cheery and know in my gut that I represent a tough state. Candidates who poured their lives into races hoping to make a difference in protecting their schools or creating jobs or public transportation, go home now to surreally quiet homes.
Idaho. We Democrats serve in politics here knowing we are the minority. Democracy doesn't work if someone isn't up to the challenge of representing the 30% of the state that clearly prefers not to have public schools decimated by budget cuts. The 30% that will willingly pay taxes so that neighbors don't go without food, housing or medical care. The 30% that worry how expensive it is to lives and budgets when we cut mental health and substance abuse treatment, driving people and their families into desperation and cirsis.
To the other 70% of the state, I say this: what is invisible to you, the bridges, the police cars, the prison walls, the detox rooms, the teachers reading essays into the late dark of night, the prison guards, the parole officers, the social workers making sure someone takes their medication, the program that pays an 88 year old woman's electric bill, the agency that inspects day care centers: these things break down when you starve state government, when you cut it again and again and again.
Idaho, I will always see the best in you. I still hope we will pull together in crisis, look inside classrooms at the beauty and loss there, see our neighbors as people and rise above this as a state.