Big Push for Medicaid Expansion Signatures

Dear Supporters of the campaign to Expand Medicaid in Idaho

We are organizing the biggest days of signature collection in Idaho history. 

In McCall, Saturday, March 10th meet in Ridley/ Rite Aid parking lot.

10:00 am – Noon, Noon – 2 pm shifts. We will seek to complete our goal for 6% of Valley Co voter’s signatures. Select your shift. Email Jon Glick to sign up

On Tuesday, March 13th, we believe we can collect over 10,000 signatures. All in a single day.

Tuesday, March 13 there will be school-levy elections in about 40 school districts, including West Ada County, Bonneville County, Lewiston, Twin Falls, Caldwell, Wallace, Orofino, and Grangeville. Our goal is to place volunteers at as many polling stations as possible, and to capture as many signatures as we can.

March 13 Find a location near you and sign up for a volunteer shift by clicking here: We especially need people in Boise/Meridian that day.

If we pull this off, the victory will be HUGE: We’ll complete our “distribution requirement” of 6% of signatures from 18 different districts, and we’ll be well on our way to our 56,000 statewide total.

Meet and Greet: A.J. Balukoff Democratic Candidate for Governor.

Wednesday, Feb. 28th from 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Hotel McCall Library Room,
1101 North Third St., McCall


I’m really looking forward to traveling through Valley County and getting the chance to meet with you one-on-one. I’ve been meeting with people all over the state talking about the vital need to improve our education system, expand Medicaid so thousands of working families, children and veterans can get coverage, and protecting access to our public lands.

I know that last issue really hits home in Valley County where a couple of Texas billionaires are locking people out of land that used to be accessible to hunters and others. As a lifetime sportsman, I know how much you all value access to our public lands. I will fight to keep them open to us all.
I would love to sit down with you and talk about whatever issues concern you the most – even if it’s not politics. I hope to see you there.

A.J. Balukoff

Refreshments will be served. 

More info

March for Medicaid Expansion- Winter Carnival Parade- Sat. Jan 27

Medicaid Expansion Van

Join the McCall Medicaid Expansion Team, Saturday, January 27 at the Winter Carnival Parade. We will be walking behind the Medicaid Expansion Van and handing out candy to the crowd. After the parade we will assemble and get signatures for the next hour. You can volunteer for both or just one activity.
Parade: Meet at 10:45 am at McCall-Donnelly High School (Corner Stibnite & Mission). Look for our Van.
Signature Gathering: Meet at 1:15 pm at the Van in Parking Lot across from Foglifter. We will gathering signatures for an hour. 
78,000 Idahoans—most of whom belong to working families—fall into the so-called “Medicaid gap” and have been denied access to affordable healthcare. 64 percent of Idahoans say they are disappointed with the failure of the Idaho Legislature to address this issue, and 70 percent of Idahoans say that they favor closing the Medicaid gap.
You can make a difference just by joining our effort to get on the ballot. Please join us. Get petitions at and follow instructions. Contact us to turn in completed petitions. 
Bill Thomas
Jon Glick
McCall Medicaid Expansion Team
Save the Date: Saturday March 17- Pizza and Politics. Democratic Legislators speak on what is happening at the Capital and answer your questions. 

Opportunties to get involved.

Get Active, Be a Valley Democratic Party Precint Captain.

We have 8 precincts in our county. As a precinct captain, you will organize a team of Democrats from your community to communicate the values, principles, and policies that make us all proud members of the Idaho Democratic Party. It is a great place to start to become active to help change the county, state and the country.

Precinct captains are elected in the May 15th primary election. Contact us a valleycountydems@gmail to get info. March 9 is the last day to file for election. You must be a registered as a Democratic to be a Democratic precinct captain.

Valley County Commissioner Race for four year seat is open this November.

The district seat that is open is the seat currently held by Bill Willey which is the area east for Rt. 55, north part of county. If you are a Democratic that is interested in running for the seat, please contact us at valleycountydems@ gmail. This is the same seat that Frank Eld held in the past. March 9th is the deadline for filing.

Help Get Medicaid Expansion on the Ballot

78,000 Idahoans—most of whom belong to working families—fall into the so-called “Medicaid gap” and have been denied access to affordable healthcare. 64 percent of Idahoans say they are disappointed with the failure of the Idaho Legislature to address this issue, and 70 percent of Idahoans say that they favor closing the Medicaid gap.

Valley County United Against Hate: Thursday August 17- 5 pm at Veteran’s Statue, 3rd St. McCall

This will be a peaceful coming together to demonstrate that we stand united against racism, bigotry and hatred towards all people! Come whenever you’d like. This is part of a nationwide demonstration in support of Charlottesville.
Brings signs if you’d like, banners, anything showing you are against what is going on in our country. Remember, this is a PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION!!

Protect Our Care: Say No to Attack on Our Health Care

Join us for a protest outside of Senator Crapo’s office!
Say No to Attack on our Health Care

Wednesday, June 28 at 11 am- 1pm
Senator Crapo Office 251 E. Front Boise

Car Caravan: 8 am- May Hardware Parking Lot

We need to show Senator Crapo that Idahoans oppose any cuts to the ACA. Taking health care from 24 million folks in the US is unacceptable, and he needs to know that we are going to keep him accountable for his vote.

Sponsors: National Organization for Women-Southwest Idaho Chapter, People For Unity, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii


The Senate Republicans finally released their bill to repeal the ACA. It is now evident why Senate leadership has attempted to withhold details of this bill from the public. This bill would only inflict more harm on people’s access to health care, compared to the House repeal bill that CBO estimated would strip coverage from 23 million people. 
The Senate bill would do the following: 
• End the Medicaid expansion, ensuring that millions of low-income workers will lose health coverage
• Radically cut Medicaid for all states by capping and cutting federal spending and passing significant costs on to states, essentially ensuring that they will cut their programs
• Allow states to eliminate the essential health benefits and minimum coverage requirements that are core protections for people with pre-existing conditions 
• Cut financial assistance for private coverage and eliminate all assistance with out-of-pocket costs like deductibles 
• Institute an age tax on premiums, allowing insurers to charge older people five times the premium of younger people 
• Provide billions of dollars in tax cuts to the millionaires and corporations


Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.


Valley County Democrats Highway Cleanup- Sunday, June 4, 4:30 pm

Dems stepping out to Cleanup Highway 55 in earlier cleanup

Valley County Democrats Spring Adopt-A-Highway cleanup will be on Sunday, June 4, 2017 beginning at 4:30 pm. 

Democrats, family, and friends are invited to take part in this semi-annual community service project. Participants should meet in the parking lot of Elk Creek Church on Highway 55 south of McCall. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and bring sunscreen, gloves, hat, and water. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided.

A no-host social at Home Town Pizza in McCall will be held after the clean up. For more information call Jim Arp at 634-5833.

Vote Yes for Sewer Consolidation in McCall- Tuesday, May 16- McCall Donnelly High School—- Support Valley County Pathways

We have an opportunity to end the sewer wars in McCall this Tuesday, May 16 by voting Yes on consolidation and Yes on the sewer bond. As our former City Manager, Gene Drabinski said almost three years ago, “We’re going to get out of this business pretty soon because we suck at it” One consolidated agency operating our sewer service for McCall and Payette Lakes Recreation Water and Sewer District is logical and cost effective. 

Below is Jacki Aymon, Mayor of McCall, Nick Swanson, McCall City Council Letter to the Editor in the Star News explaining why a vote Yes is the right thing to do.


There is beauty in a single sewer operating agency
First, I would like to thank everyone who took time out their busy schedule to listen and learn about the May 16 ballot questions on annexation of the McCall City sewer system into the Payette Lakes Recreation Water and Sewer District and the $22 million bond to fund DEQ required upgrades for a reuse permit, wastewater treatment facility infrastructure repairs and retirement of the city’s existing 2004 and 2008 bonds. This is a complicated issue with multiple moving parts and requires a lot of information and thought.
So how did we get here? As many of you know the history between the two agencies has been at times cordial, rocky, smooth, contentious, friendly, feisty and costly. The final lawsuit between the city and the PLRWSD was settled in 2011.
On then-City Manager Gene Drabinski’s first day, he asked Council members to write down three goals. One of my three was “solve the sewer wars.” Anyone who knew Gene understood he did not let grass grow under his feet and he got right to it. Knowing we were coming up against a DEQ deadline to continue to land apply our treated wastewater he brought the two governing boards together, organized a committee to chart a course, and after three years of collaboration here we are.
This is a big deal and is incumbent on all of us to participate in this election and answer the questions for you, your family and the future. A “Yes” vote on both questions will result in one agency, PLRWSD, to collect, treat and dispose of wastewater and to bond for required and needed system upgrades. A “No” vote on either or both questions sends the team back to the legal department to craft a joint powers agreement and another trip to the ballot box for funding.
There are potential risks and/or impacts in either scenario. This is where history is important. We know the history of cooperative agreements between the city and PLRWSD were not always so cooperative and they were sometimes expensive. In my mind, a single agency is less likely to go to court with itself.
Secondly, DEQ may only issue one permit to the system owner who has system control. There are also land planning components to consider. Cities use sewer infrastructure as a tool to encourage annexation and control growth.
I am not a planner but during the process of crafting the annexation agreement, new tools were created to foster communication and cooperation in land use planning in an attempt to mitigate these issues.
Let’s not forget PLRWSD is a taxing district and thus property taxes would apply to those within the district. Keep in mind, unlike other taxing districts, most of the revenue comes in the form of user fees and property taxes play a minor role funding.
Finally, the city sewer infrastructure is managed by the city but is actually owned by the users, those who pay the sewer bills. The infrastructure in a consolidated entity will follow the rate payers.
This was a long walk and now it is a dash. Initially I was skeptical. However, after wrestling with all of the components, obstacles, funding mechanisms, permit requirements, ballot questions, infrastructure needs, director zones, staffing, and more, I began to see the beauty in a single agency that only collects, treats and disposes of wastewater.
What sealed the deal was the willingness of the PLRWSD to share the 2004 and 2008 City bond debt. This step was a huge leap of faith and would reduce our sewer bills in the consolidated model.
Think about it. Ask questions and vote!
Jackie J. Aymon, Mayor, City of McCall


Sewer consolidation critical for future of McCall area
On May 16, voters should allow the Payette Lakes Recreational Water and Sewer District to annex the city to maximize cost reduction, planning, permitting, and efficiency within the sewer world we live in.
In my mind, this has never been a “who should annex who” type of scenario, rather, which model is the most palatable to all patrons within the two currently separate sewer systems and who can get the improvements, permits, and all other work done by the deadlines set by various other parties that make our sewer system function.
The sewer district being the entity to annex proved to be the most expedient option, as they hold the permit with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for reuse of the treated wastewater, letters of intent with the landowners who are receiving the water, and are fully capable of operating a sewer system.
The city annexing the sewer district could be a good thing for the city in the long run, but expecting district patrons outside the city limits to be annexed into the city is a political non-starter. Expecting a majority of the district to be included into the city limits, all services and taxes included, would be an exercise in futility.
Two entities have created problems in the past, as many of us are aware. The permitting, operations, and maintenance, needs to be under one entity as required by Idaho DEQ. Further, one entity has been proven, through the rate models we have been working with, to be the most cost effective for all patrons, regardless of where they live.
The distribution of the 2008 Wausau debt across all customers has proven to be the tipping point in the favor of consolidation. The sewer board agreeing to this request from the city is more proof of a positive long-term partnership, and the dedication to be fair to all patrons they may serve.
The cost will be more to current city sewer patrons if the annexation takes place. Is it worth it? Cost goes up for everyone regardless of where they live.
Consolidation rate models, including all other hits to the patrons’ pocketbook, has still penciled out to be the most cost effective solution we have discussed to this point, and we have to have a solution.
It is not a perfect proposal, but it possesses all the components our community needs to keep moving forward given the deadlines we face, at the lowest possible rate. I think it is important to remember a few key points, outside of how much it costs, and how ugly the past has been.
First are trustee-zone style elections to the sewer board. This is my favorite part of this entire agreement, because it requires diversity based on location on the sewer board. The issues of “in the city” versus “in the district” evaporate once the new board is in place. The future board is postured to be representative of all patrons based on the neighborhood they are from, or own property within.
Second, the language of the annexation agreement puts the city into a stronger position in controlling development outside of its boundaries than it has been since the sewer district was formed. If annexation is approved, it actually provides protection to “leap-frog” development situations from occurring without joining the city.
Finally, passage of the ballot measures effectively ends the “sewer wars” as coined by our late friend and former city manger Gene Drabinski. It provides an equitable rate to all patrons and a single agency that is responsible for all infrastructure, permits, and capacity and will be best for growth, the environment, the farmers, and the patrons, and the future of our community.
I urge you to vote in favor of the sewer consolidation and the sewer bond on May 16.
(Nic Swanson is a member of the McCall City Council and chair of the Joint Wastewater Advisory Group.)

Support Valley County Pathway Plan- Email the Commissioners Now

The Pathway Plan goes up for adoption by Valley County Commissioners Monday.
There was some large landowners who went to the last meeting and overpowered the Pathways support with fears of land takeovers and “not in my back yard” mind sets.

We need Valley County to adopt the Pathway Plan and to encourage creation of these corridors (not specific parcels) for a coordinated Pathway throughout our area.

1. PLEASE email the commissioners in support of this plan. Just email anything in support of the plan.
Email all three commissioners at:

2. If your able, please attend the 1pm meeting on Monday May 15 at the Courthouse in Cascade.

3. Please let me know if you email the Commissioners. That way I know when to stop harassing people. 😉

You can do a quick review of the Plan here: (see Executive Summary)

• Tell the commissioners that you support the development of tourism and recreation in the valley, this is our economic future.
• It’s important to approve the updated Master Plan for Valley County Pathways. The new plan is in sync with community pathway plans created by McCall, Donnelly and Cascade.
• Valley County Pathways has been respectful of private property rights since the very beginning, and this plan has no language to suggest any infringement on propriety owners rights.
• Pathways are good for safety, health and fitness, quality of life and property values. 
• Support the notion of developing pathway corridors that connect our communities and link to our mountain trails, lakes, rivers and waterways
• Support the notion that new developments provide pathways or pathway easements to connect to regional pathway corridors
Brett Shepherd