The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus would like to thank all of the attendees who came to our recent Breakfast Meeting in Boise held last month. We had an amazing turnout filled with lots of fresh faces that are excited to help our organization accomplish our goals.
We would like to express our overwhelming appreciation and gratitude to our beloved President, Barbara Harris, who stepped down from her position at the recent meeting. We shall miss her wonderful leadership has kept our organization accomplish many goals and become a solid partner in electing Democratic Women into public office. She plans on spending more time with her grandchildren and continuing her involvement with the IDWC.
We express our appreciation to our wonderful keynote speakers who energized the audience and showed us why we are proud to be a Democrat in Idaho. Our first speaker, AJ Balukoff, is a successful businessman who has created and managed multiple businesses in the Treasure Valley Area. He has been a Boise School District Trustee since 1997 and is a strong advocate for public education. His gubernatorial campaign is focused on education, healthcare, public lands, and the gender pay gap.
Our second speaker, Paulette Jordan, has served in the Idaho House of Representatives from District 5 from 2014 to 2018. She is a native Idahoan who is seeking to become the nation’s first indigenous Governor and Idaho’s first female Governor if elected. She believes in investing in public education at all levels, closing the coverage gap via Medicaid expansion, repairing our state’s deteriorating infrastructure, and creating a livable wage for all Idaho workers.
We had a last-minute addition to the program when Idaho Democratic Lieutenant Governor candidate Kristin Collum speak to the audience. The Boise resident is a U.S. Army veteran and tech leader at Sensus, which is a small private energy company. Kristin, a mother of four children, believes in being a progressive voice for all Idahoans, especially women, children, and minorities. Her campaign is focused on ensuring that affordable and accessible healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.
The Dottie Stimpson Award winner for 2018 is Kristi Milan from Kootenai County. Milan is a 20-year resident of Kootenai County and a retired middle school teacher from the Coeur d’Alene School District. She is the Kootenai County Democratic Legislative District 4 Vice Chair and a strong Democrat who ran for public office in 2016. Her dedication to the Idaho Democratic Party is incredible and she even performed in the Sister Act Theater Night to raise money for the Kootenai County Democrats. Her enthusiasm and willingness to lend a hand makes her this year’s winner.
The Young Distinguished Woman Award winner for 2018 is Colette Raptosh from Boise. She is a 17-year old high school student who was one of the primary organizers for the 2017 & 2018 Women’s March on Idaho in Boise. She was also a student organizer for the recent “March for Our Lives” held on the steps of the Idaho Capitol Building in Boise. Additionally, she is the co-founder of People for Unity, an organization dedicated to bringing our community together in order to make progress in creating intergenerational connections and work towards common goals. Her advocacy and accomplishments make her this year’s winner.
Finally, we would like to thank our new Executive Board Members for their willingness to step up and try to make a difference. Our new President is Gini Ballou, who was the IDWC Vice President. The new IDWC Vice President is Tamara Code, who was the IDWC Region 4 Director. The New Region 2 Director is Melanie Wolf and the New Region 4 Director is Jennifer Martinez. Region’s 6 Director, Linda Leeuwrik, was re-elected at the meeting. The Region 1 Director position, which was previously vacant, is this year’s Dottie Stimpson Award winner Kristi Milan.