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have no official events on my calendar in the coming week. 
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Congressional Gold Medals

Wednesday March 25th I had the opportunity to present Congressional Gold Medals to the families of four outstanding veterans of WWII. They served in the Civil Air Patrol and they received these awards for their exemplary service during one of the most trying times in our nation's history. Thank you for your service John Huff, Onita Huff, Jetmund Litlell, and Edwin Schiller.

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Racing for Hank 

The First Lady and I would like to share an inspiring story of two Idahoans that underscore some of the great qualities of our citizens. Hank Sturgis is a young man courageously fighting a particularly cruel and rare disease. He has Cystinosis which afflicts 500 children around the nation, and about 2,000 around the world. It is incurable and slowly destroys every organ in the body, including the liver, kidneys, eyes and brain. Due to it being such a rare affliction, research money is scarce. That is partly why there is no known cure.

  

However, that is not stopping Hank from fighting it or his grandfather from traveling across this country in an effort to help cure it. Dave Sturgis is participating in a 3,000 mile bike race to raise money and awareness. At the age of 70 he decided he would enter the Race Across America that starts in Oceanside, California on June 20, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland, later this summer. Dave is part of a 4 person team from Sandpoint that will compete in the event which they hope to complete in seven days.

Dave and Hank Sturgis 

We admire the selfless determination that Dave Sturgis is using to help propel himself and his team across thousands of miles and bring his grandson Hank and others with Cystinosis closer to a cure. While Dave's incredible effort is aimed at raising awareness, it's also a moving expression of love for his grandson and hundreds of other young Americans. Lori and I will be following his progress on the Race Across America and in the race to beat Cystinosis.

 

If you would like to help Dave and support their non-profit foundation you can do so by going to this website:

http://www.24hoursforhank.org/

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Heyburn Capital for a Day 

 

Capital for a Day is an event that I always look forward to every month. I bring our state government to the people of a rural Idaho community so that we can discuss public policy and concerns one on one. On March 31st I had the opportunity to visit the town of Heyburn, located at the southern tip of Minidoka County. During our visit we were able to discuss local concerns, policy matters, state questions, and ideas that the community members had for our state. I even had the chance to meet with Mrs. Jeanne Allen's senior Government class from Cassia High School. I want to thank everyone who attended this month's Capital for a Day and for the warm welcome from Heyburn.

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Distracted Driver Awareness Month 
On Thursday, April 2nd I signed a proclamation declaring April Distracted Driver Awareness Month. Every year thousands of accidents injure and claim lives as a result of distracted driving. Ashley Zumbrunnen attend the signing ceremony to show her support for the proclamation. Ashley lost the use of her legs as a result of texting while driving and has been raising awareness ever since her accident. Brian Ness, the head of the Department of Transportation, lead the event to speak on the dangers of distracted driving. By signing this proclamation I hope to make people more aware of distracted driving. Please drive safe and help make Idaho a better place to live.

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Financial Literacy Month

 

Finances are one of the most prominent aspects of our daily lives. I believe that financial literacy is an important aspect of life and demands proper education from as many people as possible. That is why I proclaimed April to be Financial Literacy Month. Several private and public entities have teamed up to make this possible and are offering seminars at local libraries to better educate the citizens of Idaho. If you are interested in attending one of these events go to http://finance.idaho.gov and find a seminar near you.

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Giant Salamander Signing

 

Fourteen-year-old Ilah Hickman has authored a bill for the past five years to make the Idaho Giant Salamander the State Amphibian. On April 2nd I was pleased to say that I signed the bill into law for Idaho's new state amphibian. The Idaho Giant Salamander is primarily found in north-central Idaho, along the Coeur d' Alene and Salmon Rivers. They feed on a variety of prey including insects, shrews, small snakes, and mice. The Giant Salamander will be joining our other state symbols such as the Mountain Bluebird, Syringa Flower, Appaloosa State Horse, Peregrine Falcon, and of course the Potato. Congratulations Ilah on your hard work and perseverance on getting this bill passed.

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First Lady's Focus:
Grind Modern Burger and the Idaho Meth Project

 

On Friday the 20th the Governor and I went to The Grind, a local specialty burger restaurant in Boise. Each month The Grind promotes a celebrity burger to benefit a charity of that person's choice. This month we partnered with The Idaho Meth Project to bring awareness to the need for Meth prevention in the state of Idaho. The Grind named a "Made in Idaho" burger after the Governor and I with proceeds benefitting the Idaho Meth Project. And it was a hit! The Grind sold out of the burgers, with almost 150 ordered in the span of only a few days! Representative Kelly Packer reached out to the Business Psychology Associates which provided a sponsorship for the event. We would like to thank Representative Packer for her efforts and the Business Psychology and Association for their generous donation. We would also like to thank The Grind for their donations towards the Idaho Meth Project and its mission to prevent and keep the devastating effects of Methamphetamine use out of the homes of Idaho families.

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Spotlight Agency:
Idaho Department of Commerce
 

Recent TRI Announcements:

The Idaho Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI), which went into effect July 1, 2014, has proven to be a game changer in the state's efforts to encourage business growth and expansion. The TRI provides up to a 30% refundable tax credit for up to 15 years on all payroll, sales, and income taxes for companies that hire at least 50 new employees above the average county wage (20 new employees in a rural community). Idaho has experienced early success with this new incentive and continues to see significant interest from existing companies wishing to expand and new companies looking at our great state.

Since July 1, 2014, there have been 12 projects approved for TRI resulting in the following economic impact:

  • Total Jobs: 2,294
  • Capital Investment: $336 million
  • Total Wages: $869 million
  • New State Revenue: $127 million

Following is the list of companies or projects approved for TRI:

  • SkyWest
  • Amy's Kitchen
  • Glanbia Foods
  • ATC Manufacturing, Inc. - Post Falls
  • Kochava - Sandpoint
  • Diversified Fluid Solutions - Boise
  • Project Pipe - Pocatello
  • Aspen Skiing Company - Ketchum
  • Gayle Manufacturing Company - Caldwell
  • Project Aerospace - Hayden
  • Fabri-Kal - Burley
  • Project 204 - Boise

Upcoming Trade Mission

Governor Otter will accompany a team from Commerce by leading an Idaho trade delegation to Peru and Mexico in May 2015, with meetings in Lima on May 11 & 12 and meetings in Mexico City on May 14 & 15.

Trade missions provide Idaho companies with an unparalleled opportunity to pursue potential business partnerships, make contacts, and open doors in foreign markets. These missions are extremely targeted events that involve precision planning and clear goals. Past trade missions increase sales and find representation for Idaho companies in new foreign markets.

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Recent Appointments:

 

Behavioral Health Planning Council 

Evangeline Beechler - Boise

Pat Martelle - Star 

 

Children at Risk Task Force 

Kailamai Hansen - Coeur d'Alene

Board of Correction
Cindy Wilson - Meridian

Early Childhood Coordinating Council
Amanda Flores - Nampa

EMS Physician Commission
Dr. Mark Urban - Boise

Petroleum Storage Tank Fund
Gayle Batt - Wilder

Public Safety & Security Info System
Chief Craig Kinsbury - Nampa

Scaling Practices Board
Brett Bennett - Moscow

Serve Idaho
Kara Brascia - Boise