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Coming Up:


I will hear an address from the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage, 10 a.m., Governor's Ceremonial Office, second floor, Capitol, Boise.



I will present Idaho Mother of the Year awards, 11 a.m., Governor's Ceremonial Office, second floor, Capitol, Boise.


First Lady Lori Otter and Miss Idaho Kalie Wright read to students in Karen Schow's fourth-grade class for Read Across America Day, 1 p.m., Hidden Springs Elementary School, 5480 W. Hidden Springs Dr., Garden City.


I will speak at the Idaho Day observance, "Idaho Heroes - Past and Present," 10:30 a.m., third floor, House of Representatives, Capitol, Boise.


I will sign a proclamation for Idaho Day, noon, second-floor Rotunda, Capitol, Boise.


I will participate in the State Prayer Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Boise Centre, Boise.

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Saluting a True American Patriot and Idaho Hero 

Idaho paid tribute this week to an American patriot and Idaho hero - Medal of Honor recipient Art Jackson. Arthur J. Jackson is one of only two living Marine Corps recipients of the Medal of Honor from World War II. Art received his medal from President Harry S. Truman for actions in the Pacific, and his contribution to the war effort there was truly remarkable.

Art went into the Marine Corps in 1942. By February 1944 he was a private first class and had distinguished himself in battle. In heavy fighting near Cape Gloucester and New Britain, Art carried a critically wounded fellow Marine to safety and was credited with saving the man's life. But it was several months later, on a small island in the western Pacific, that Art would play a decisive role in one of the bloodiest amphibious landings in American military history.
In September 1944, PFC Jackson landed on the island of Peleliu with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. In fighting to establish a beachhead, Art singlehandedly attacked 12 enemy bunkers and pill boxes, destroying all of them and in the process killing 50 enemy soldiers.  He's credited with securing an American victory in the southern sector of the island during a two-month battle that saw 20,000 casualties on both sides. In October 1945 now Capt. Arthur Jackson received the Medal of Honor during the same White House ceremony where another Idaho hero received his - Coeur d'Alene and St. Maries resident Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.
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Idaho State University Affiliates with New Medical School
I was proud to announce this past week that Idaho State University's Meridian Health Science Center will be the home for a brand new medical school - the first ever in Idaho. The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) will be a privately funded, separately licensed and independently operated medical school that will help Idaho in our K-through-Career efforts as well as helping to address the primary care physician shortage in our rural communities. The ICOM will receive an initial capital investment of $105 million from the financial backers, and the school promises to provide enormous economic benefits for all of Idaho. I'm extremely excited that Idaho was able to land this groundbreaking project that's part of a larger five-state effort to address the region's shortage of physicians.

This is the kind of public-private partnership that doesn't happen overnight. It was the result of a lot of hard work by President Art Vailas and his staff at Idaho State University, Idaho Department of Commerce Director Megan Ronk, the City of Meridian, the State Board of Education, Senator Marv Hagedorn, Representative Kelly Packer and a team of healthcare professionals. Those include Dr. Robert Hasty, an osteopathic physician who will serve as ICOM's founding dean and chief academic officer. John Goodnow will serve as the new school's president and a member of the executive board.
Read my press release
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Mourning the Passing of Justice Antonin Scalia
It was with great sadness that the First Lady and I learned of the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was a renowned scholar and a true champion of the U.S. Constitution. He was appointed by President Reagan 30 years ago and was the longest-serving member of the high court. Justice Scalia visited Idaho as recently as the summer of 2014, when he spoke admiringly about the landmark Snake River Basin Adjudication of water rights process that we had just completed. He said it was the envy of other states that are experiencing similarly tough court battles over water rights. Justice Scalia was a brilliant commonsense conservative whose passing is a great loss to all who admired his scholarship, wit and integrity. His towering legacy and place in American history are secure.
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Idaho Day is March 4th
On Friday, March 4, communities across the state will celebrate Idaho Day - recognizing the date in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln signing a congressional act creating the Idaho Territory. I will help kick off and commemorate Idaho Day in the Rotunda of the Idaho State Capitol. The ceremony is open to the public and begins at noon. Program includes my proclamation signing, a student choir, the 25th Army Band Mayday Saxophone Ensemble, Opera Idaho singer Jena Carpenter, and Valor Award Winner Eric Killoy.

Idaho Day activities are aimed at helping Idahoans learn more about the historical and cultural roots of contemporary Idaho as well as celebrate all that makes Idaho unique, majestic and the place we love to call home. We hope all Idahoans will participate and create Idaho Day celebrations in communities across the state. A wide range of state and local agencies, school districts and communities are participating in this year's Idaho Day Celebration. 
Idahoans across the state are encouraged to participate by posting selfies of their favorite Idaho places, Idaho heroes, or themselves wearing blue to represent our state flag on social media sites with the hashtags #myidaho, #idahero, #idablue.

For more information about the Idaho Day Celebration events, visit, or contact Michelle Wallace at or (208) 891-7617.
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Idaho Medal of Achievement Nomination Deadline is Approaching
The March 31st deadline is fast approaching for submission of nominees to be among the first recipients of the Idaho Medal of Achievement.

Last November I issued an Executive Order creating the highest civilian honor to be conferred by the State of Idaho. Sponsored by Hecla Mining Co., the award will recognize individual Idahoans for their exceptional, meritorious and inspirational service to the people of Idaho.

The Idaho Medal of Achievement will be awarded annually to individuals - living or dead - who are nominated by the public and considered by a five-member Idaho Medal of Achievement Commission. That panel will advance the names of no more than five finalists for my consideration.

The public is encouraged to go to my Web site or contact the Governor's Office to receive a nomination form by mail on which to submit the names of deserving individuals. The deadline for nominations is March 31st of each year, and the Commission will submit finalists to the Governor by May 1st.

Coeur d'Alene-based Hecla Mining Co. is providing the silver for the Idaho Medal of Achievement medallions. Each is made of 99.9-percent fine silver and weighs 19.7 troy ounces. They feature a relief carving of the Idaho State Capitol on the front and the Idaho State Seal on the back.
The award will be presented in the Capitol at a time and date to be determined by the Idaho Medal of Achievement Commission. 
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Share your Support for the Idaho Primary Care Access Program
House Bill 484, creating my proposed Primary Care Access Program (PCAP), is an all-Idaho initiative that can improve the health and lives of up to 78,000 low-income adults who have no access to health insurance coverage.  The proposal for closing a gap in healthcare access programs would pay $32 per person per month to qualified providers who develop preventive and chronic condition treatment plans for each participant while also providing regular primary care services. A summary of PCAP can be found on my Web site here .

I rely on my constituents to share their opinions and personal experiences with me to inform my decisions. To share your support for PCAP, I encourage you to send your message through this form.
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First Lady's Focus: First Lady Otter and United Way team up again for Children's Book Drive
Statewide Children's Book Drive to be held April 4-8, 2016
First Lady Lori Otter and United Way once again are teaming up for the second annual statewide United Way Children's Book Drive, April 4-8.

Last year, the seven local United Way organizations across Idaho partnered with state agencies and collected more than 70,000 books for kids! The top three agencies that collected books were Idaho State Liquor Division with 394, Department of Health and Welfare with 296, and the Idaho State Tax Commission with 256 . In total state agencies alone brought in 2391 books. United Way also partnered with Book It Forward Idaho and many other nonprofit organizations to distribute books to children. The First Lady participated in last year's inaugural United Way Children's Book Drive by reading to preschoolers. Her support and participation were crucial to helping the United Way raise so many books for children!

According to a report from Book It Forward Idaho, only one in 300 Idaho children in low-income households have books. Together we can change those odds. Please consider dusting off your lightly used children's books and donating them to children who can use them to learn and grow into lifelong readers.

The United Way will have drop-off locations in various communities around the state. Information regarding drop-off locations will be available on local United Way Web sites. The week following the Children's Book Drive, local United Way groups will need volunteers to clean and sort book donations. To volunteer, visit
2015 Book Drive Results:
Idaho State Liquor Division = 394
Department of Health and Welfare = 296
Idaho State Tax Commission = 256
Department of Environmental Equality = 249
Department of Insurance = 208
Department of Financial Management = 200
ISP = 154
Office of the Governor = 140
Public Utilities = 106
The Parole Commission = 100
Office of the Secretary of State = 90
Department of Juvenile Corrections = 69
Division of Building Safety = 42
Division of Prof and Tech Education = 39
Vocational Rehabilitation = 39
Commission for the Arts = 30
Office of Energy Resources = 10
Department of Water Resources = 8
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Spotlight Agency: Idaho Department of Correction
The Idaho Department of Correction's mission is to protect the public, our staff and those within our custody and supervision through safety, accountability, partnerships and providing opportunities for offender change.

Unofficially our mantra is "Don't talk about it; be about it."

Here are some of the ways the men and women of IDOC are trying to "be" about their mission. 
  • We reorganized IDOC's central office and moved 15 positions to the field. The reorganization put more probation and parole officers, drug and alcohol counselors and field supervisors on the frontlines of our agency where we need them the most.
  • We are modernizing our inmate treatment programs and discontinuing those that are not 100 percent evidence based. Instead of offering 12 programs that get, at best, mixed results, we'll focus on five programs that research shows are effective in helping offenders turn around their lives. These five programs are all in the public domain. That means taxpayers won't be picking up the tab for expensive program licensing fees.
  • We're reforming the way we discipline inmates who break the rules. Research shows putting an inmate alone in a cell for 23 hours a day does not improve their behavior. In fact, segregation creates mental health problems and makes existing problems worse. Our restrictive-housing reform measures will establish clear lines of accountability for inmates and offer them positive incentives to stay out of trouble.
  • We're bringing home all of the inmates we sent to Colorado in 2012 due to a shortage of beds in Idaho.
  • We have created a diversity council. Its goal is to ensure IDOC's hiring practices are fair and that the department's female employees are being paid as much as their male counterparts.
  • We created a staff wellness program to make it easier for the men and women of the department to connect with services like discounted health exams, mental wellness programs and money-management classes.
  • We've "pulled back the curtains" on our agency. We've given Idaho lawmakers 24/7 access to our facilities. They can show up anytime they want and they will be given unfettered access.
  • We have established a new-employee orientation program that includes employees' families. We want them to feel connected to the department and understand the challenges their loved ones will face on the job.

In fact, we invite all of Idaho's citizens to learn what's going on in their prisons and probation and parole districts. Our Facebook page, IDOC.alert, features regular updates on our latest initiatives. We hope you'll "like" it and give us your feedback as we work to "be" about the mission of IDOC.

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Admin., Div. of Human Resources
Susan Buxton - Boise
Behavioral Health Planning Council
Jason Stone - Boise
Board of Dentistry
Tina Gustaveson Wilson - Star
Dr. Spencer Lloyd - Caldwell
Energy Resources Authority
Mike Mooney - Boise
First District Magistrates Comm.
Mayor Ronald Jacobson - Post Falls
Fourth District Magistrates Comm.
Mayor Tammy DeWeerd - Meridian
Fifth District Magistrates Comm.
Shawn Barigar - Twin Falls
Mayor Jay Darrington - Declo
Food Quality Assurance Institute
Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll - Cottonwood
Health Quality Planning Commission  
Dr. Ted Epperly - Meridian
Horse Board
Connie Blayney - Caldwell
Medal of Honor Commission
Capt. Tim Miller - Twin Falls
Chief Jeff Lavey - Boise
NW Power & Conservation Council
Bill Booth - Hayden

Charlene McArthur - Boise
Dr. Lori Hausegger - Boise
Bill Barton, DVM - Eagle
Public Safety & Security Info System
Sheriff Eric Snarr - Rupert