We have scheduled breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I get emails, letters, packages and phone calls. I try to return the contacts whenever possible. 

I got a real angry message on my phone this morning about “nullification”. He was upset because he thought he’d heard me on the radio and thought I had called the bill submitted to the House as “grandstanding”. I was confused because I had done a radio interview on KRPL but I didn’t remember using that term. When I read the Boise Statesman I realized he had me confused with House Minority Leader John Rusche. It’s OK. We’re both doctors. He’s a pediatrician, I’m a Family doc. We are both Democrats. 

But I am trying hard to respect the differences we all have. I think nullifying federal laws the state considers unconstitutional is denying our part in this Union we all share. I cannot support it. But I can understand the passion. It may be like that of our revolutionary patriots. We have our Republic to thank for their sacrifice. The cynical might point to self-interest, not the ideal of liberty. They might point out that in 1776 America had the highest standard of living of any country in the world. Did we rebel to protect our wealth, stolen from a decimated native population? The romance of liberty is powerful. And ideals are worthy of our effort. 

But the appeal of nullification is muted by the truth that we elect those that represent us. And we do vote for (or against) the taxes we pay. And our representatives answer to us. I answer to you.

I try to meet with constituents whenever I can.

Wednesday at lunch it was the Troy FFA.

Tall handsome FFA officers escort me to my table

Last night it was the University of Idaho Alumni Association.

Yesterday at lunch I sat with our city officials. 

Which brings me back to the angry phone message. His message had a lot of emotion. He was upset. I called the number back. I got his machine. I offered to meet. I love talking about health care policy. I’ll try to get in touch. That’s the best I can do.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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3 Responses to Constituents

  1. ReggieH says:

    I guess I’ll be the first commenter. Just wanted to say that I really like that you are keeping this blog. Also, my opinion is that the push for nullification is indeed grandstanding.

  2. Vikki says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful posts, I hope it will inspire others besides myself to have a conversation with you.

    I do find it a bit unsettling that people are so misinformed about health care and other political issues when responding to or initiating a conversation. My husband and I were reading about the nullification issue in an article in the U Idaho paper and it was striking to us that the statesman the journalist cited was fairly uninformed when it came to understanding federalism vs. states’ rights and the history of the people involved. I find it hard to talk to people who really only want to hear a one sided point of view, whether from themselves or anyone else they talk to. It’s rather amusing that they think this is a Democracy in which they can pick and choose which laws they like and which they feel they can ignore. Or stir up controversy over if it doesn’t happen to agree with their financial circumstances (whether or not they are employed in the private or public sector or as an elected public official). Laws and regulations are generally put in place so that the most people get the most benefit and protection from them. At least that’s the theory. When one group has the money to influence how the rules are enforced, this is where problems come from.

    For instance, a lot of people seem to be all riled up over being forced to pay for health care. When was the last time they could drive a vehicle on the road without insurance, legally? Or how about going to university–you are forced to have health insurance, whether from parents or purchased through a university provided health plan. So the laws regarding this are already (and have been for quite awhile now) in place. To use a cliche, I say “follow the money” when it comes to why there is a controversy over this at all.

    Good luck with being a voice of reason in the wilderness. I hope you find a few others within the state chambers that are also voices of reason, no matter from what political side of the spectrum they hail.

  3. Stan Smith says:


    “Nullification” The tension between a federal government and state govenments is part of the design of this country. The Articles of Confederation and a Civil War are major examples of this friction! I applaud you for your stand against nullification. I am not in favor of going backward but certainly would applaud any person or elected official who works for positve reform at the local, state or federal level.

    Appreciate your honest attempt to keep us citizens informed about what our State government is doing. From Tom Trail’s side of the legislature some of the ideas being advanced as ways to cut taxes are pretty scarry. My brother, Bob, has been handicapped since birth, a RH reaction, so my parents who are 95 and 83 are plenty worried about him loosing some, most, or all of his help from the State.

    Sincerely, Stan Smith

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