Letters From the West

Protesters march in Boise urging Idaho delegation to reopen government (Update)

Sen. Mike Crapo (left) and Rep. Mike Simpson talk about the debt crisis.

Sen. Mike Crapo (left) and Rep. Mike Simpson talk about the debt crisis earlier this year in Boise.

As the government sits on the edge of default, the calls into Idaho’s Congressional delegation have balanced out a little.

Sen Jim Risch’s office reports a 50-50 split since the weekend. Rep. Mike Simpson’s staff also says calls are coming in about 50-50 on the  shutdown.

The calls coming into Sen. Mike Crapo’s office are running more than 3-1 against compromising to end the shutdown, his office reports.

Meanwhile, about 120  protesters marched in Boise with signs from the Ann Frank Memorial to the steps of the Capitol, telling the delegation to reopen the government.

“The message is this is hurting a lot of people,” said Edwina Allen, one of the marchers. We’re telling them they need to reopen the government and honor our nation’s debts.”

Simpson said he’ hearing both messages.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/10/15/2817102/shutdown-phone-calls-to-idaho.html#storylink=cpy

“While we have heard from Idahoans across the state who are in favor of the government shutdown, we have also heard from many Idaho businesses that the shutdown and debt ceiling uncertainty are hurting their bottom line and putting their livelihoods at risk,” Simpson said. “ Whether it’s an outfitter, a government contractor, or a small business reliant on the INL, small and large businesses alike are telling us this uncertainty is hurting the economy and it only gets worse the longer it goes on.”

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, right, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., (Idaho Statesman File Photo)

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, right, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., (Idaho Statesman File Photo)

Rep. Raul Labrador’s office was still compiling the numbers this afternoon. Press Secretary Todd Winer said the majority last week supported standing up to President Obama on Obamacare.

All of the offices acknowledged that their numbers may not be a total reflection of calls since their voicemails overloaded on the weekend and through the Columbus Day holiday Monday. Labrador’s Meridian telephone system allowed some people through and not others, Winder said.

It was a glitch in the voicemail system,” Winder said. “We fixed it today.”

Now remember, no one has or is suggesting this is representative of Idaho’s view on the shutdown. These are the people who are contacting their Congressmen.

Even though economists are predicting dire consequences if the U.S. can’t borrow money to pay its existing debt and despite the threats to Idaho businesses and people who already aren’t getting a pay check there is not a huge outcry here.

Crapo’s Facebook page gives a good quick look at the competing views they are hearing.

“Please don’t cave in we have the money to pay our bills this is just smoke and mirrors,” said Anna Fata of Shoshone. “Both sides play this game. There are entire departments we don’t need.”

Some people complain about Obamacare and government spending but worry about the effects of the shutdown on them. Others just want it to end.

Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch

Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch

“We need to put an end to this standoff,” said Pat K Marquardt Jacobi of Idaho Falls. “I am sure you are aware that on Thursday if the government (doesn’t go) back up, 2,600 workers at the INL are furloughed without pay.

“What is this going to do for you the next time you run? ”

Perhaps the most telling is the volume, which is low, not even in the hundreds daily for the individual offices.

“I’m guessing when we were doing Obamacare and gun control we were fielding a thousand calls a day,” said John Sandy, Risch’s chef of staff.

In case you are interested here are some numbers:

RISCH: Boise 342-7985; CDA 667-6130; Idaho Falls 523-5541; Lewiston 743-0792, Pocatello 236-6817; Twin Falls 734-6780

CRAPO: Boise 334-1776; CDA 664-5490; Idaho Falls 743-1492; Lewiston 743-1492; Pocatello 236-6775; Twin Falls 734-2515

LABRADOR: Meridian 888-3188; CDA 667-0127; Lewiston 743-1388; Caldwell 454-5518

SIMPSON: Boise 334-1953, Idaho Falls 523-6701; Pocatello 233-2222; Twin Falls 734-7219




Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West