In This Issue
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
View our videos on YouTube View our photos on flickr
Coming Up: 
 January 8th:
Governor Otter will give the State of the State Address, 1:00 p.m., House Chambers, Capitol, Boise
Drop Shadow Accent Image
Western Governors' Association
In early December I attended the Western Governors' Association meeting in Phoenix, where I moderated a roundtable discussion on preparing our states' infrastructure for natural disasters. With our experience with wildfires, flooding, landslides and even earthquakes, emergency preparedness in Idaho has become a model for the rest of the country. The work and preparation provided by Idaho's Office of Emergency Management has helped ensured we are responding quickly and effectively to natural disasters. It was great to share that record of success with my fellow governors from throughout the West.  
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image
iHeartRadio Interview
While I was at the Western Governors' Association meeting, I sat down for a discussion about the proper role of government with Chris Berry, senior vice president of news programming for iHeartRadio. We also talked about why Idaho's economy is doing so well, how our state has such a great reputation for being friendly to small businesses, and why Idaho's unemployment rate is near an all-time low. It was good to share some of our successes and discuss the challenges on which Idaho and other states in the West are collaborating to overcome. Listen to the full interview here.  
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image
Associated Taxpayers of Idaho
It was a big day on December 6th as I spoke to a big crowd at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho's annual conference in Boise. During my remarks I announced the appointment of a new member of the Idaho State Tax Commission - State Representative Janet Trujillo. The third-term legislator from District 33 in Idaho Falls brings terrific experience to her new role. Janet has been a certified tax appraiser in eastern Idaho and was vice chair of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Her wealth of knowledge and passion for ensuring Idaho taxpayers are treated fairly will make her a great asset to the Tax Commission, and I look forward to having her aboard. Congratulations Janet
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image
Hour of Code
It was a busy day on December 6th! After speaking to the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho, I joined Mrs. Franklin and Mr. VanKleek's fourth-grade classes at Washington Elementary School in Boise for an "Hour of Code." For the past few years I've been participating occasionally in the basic computer science and programming exercise at local schools. The Hour of Code introduces students to important STEM skills using popular movie characters to make the learning experience fun and exciting. Thousands of Idaho students participate in the Hour of Code to help prepare for the workforce of today and tomorrow
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image
Gooding Capital for a Day
We had a great turn out on December 18th at the Basque Center in Gooding as members of my Cabinet and I hosted our latest Capital for a Day. The turnout was great and there was lots of participation as we discussed the Idaho Transportation Department's debate over whether to move its District 4 office from Shoshone to Jerome County, the hurdles involved in getting a small business loan, the need for more accessible broadband internet connectivity in Idaho's rural areas, restrictions on grazing permits on public lands, and the need for more local drug and alcohol treatment services. We also had a special visit from students at the State School for the Deaf and Blind. In all, it was one of the most memorable and productive Capital for a Day events yet. I want to thank everyone in Gooding for being such gracious hosts.    
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image
Agency Spotlight: 
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Live Better Idaho

The Department of Health and Welfare serves more than one in three Idaho families a year through a combination of services. Our mission is to improve the health and safety of Idahoans through effective services and programs that help Idaho families improve their lives, become self-reliant, and live healthy.
We recognize that helping Idaho families live better cannot solely be accomplished through one program, one service or even one State agency. Individuals and families facing crisis, poverty, poor health or financial challenges often need help finding a permanent solution rather than a temporary fix. The Department recognizes that the path to a happy, healthy and productive lifestyle requires the connection of government programs, education, and community resources to form lasting foundations for better living.
"Live Better Idaho" is a Department initiative aimed at helping connect and empower Idahoans to find solutions that will help them improve their financial security, healthy living, nutrition, and family stability. Although many government programs are aimed at helping fill the gap for families in crisis, families are easily lost in the minutia of specific programs and struggle to navigate community resources and other critical supports that not only give them short term help, but also move them to a better place in life.
Health and Welfare recently launched a consumer-focused website that is aimed at improving consumers' connection to programs, services, opportunities, and supports that will help empower life changes, better choices, and new opportunities. is a first in class web experience which begins to change how individuals see government programs from an entitlement program to a life changing opportunity. We change the message and engagement to help people discover ways to eat better, budget more wisely, and connect more deeply with the options available for families to not just "get by" but to "live better."  
Only the first phase of the website's functionality has been launched so far, but innovations on the horizon include connections to community resources that allow coaching and mentoring opportunities in the areas of financial independence, banking, nutrition, educational planning, work and training opportunities, and housing. Our belief is that government should not only be focused on "helping" families in crisis, but also on providing opportunities for all our citizens to live a better life. What better place to "live better" than in Idaho .  
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image
Recent appointments can be found on my website here.
Newsletter - Dance Drop Shadow Image