A stimulating discussion over coffee

I had a lively discussion with readers who took me up on my offer to have coffee this morning at “The Original” Pancake House at Curtis and Fairview in Boise.

Two gentlemen, both military veterans, took their posts on one side of the table while a man and wife weighed in from beside me.

Topics included gun control issues and how important it is to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill. But how to put the right initiatives in action? To do that will be challenging but worth the effort.

The married people in this group have an adult son with schizophrenia. They believe Idaho needs to do a lot better in its effort to identify and treat the mentally ill. They hope the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the state will be a step in the right direction, but they are concerned that real change may never really occur.

The four Idaho issues this group wants to see action on, in no particular order,  include:

Higher wages. Getting there will require producing a trained workforce that fits the description of what employers need — not necessarily the liberal arts paths.

Federal lands. Don’t release these lands to the state if they are just going to turn around and sell them. Preserve our wilderness areas. The group was unanimous on this.

Address the aging population more. Senior citizens are growing in numbers and but their influence is diminishing.

Schools. Whether by increased sales tax or some other means, our schools need more funding to raise the level of education.





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