NFDW Day at the Capital 2019

What a great experience it was to represent Idaho during the NFDW Women in Blue Day at the Capital! We were a sea of Blue throughout the halls of Congress and around the buildings, with folks stopping us to ask what we were representing. When we answered YOU! they applauded and offered encouragement and thanks.

IDWC President Gini Ballou catching up with friends

When I arrived in DC the events started out with a bang! Registration and program in our hotel, and a visit from Paulette Jordan’s campaign manager, Gayraud Townsend. Great to catch up and hear that Idaho is still on the minds and plans of those around the country. I met so many wonderful women from around the nation, and found old friends from the Annual Convention last June.

IDWC President Gini Ballou outside of the U.S. Capital Building

Wednesday we hit the ground running—from Congressional buildings through tunnels and walkways we’ve all seen on TV, which was very exciting. We dined in the crowded basement cafeteria and ran to Senate buildings in the afternoon.

IDWC President Gini Ballou with Representative Bennie Thompson (D-2)

I spent the morning with the delegation from Mississippi and a woman from Arkansas. We all share the same issues, concerns, values and frankly, bottom of the barrel status in regard to education, living wages, opportunities and healthcare, for our citizens. How many times have you ever said, “Well, as least we’re better than Mississippi?” Well, they say the same about Idaho, and we all deserve so much more. We met with a staff member that showed concern and respect but whose Representative will likely do little and their one Democratic Representative, Bennie Thompson, who was friendly yet challenging.

IDWC President Gini Ballou with Idaho Senator Jim Risch

In the afternoon I met with staffers for Senator Crapo and Congressman Simpson, neither of which was able to meet with me in person. I did get to meet with Senator Risch as well as his staff member John Sandy. Though Senator Risch showed interest in our concerns, there was doubt regarding Domestic Violence Protection and unpaid caregiver costs. Also interesting was when I asked to take a picture with the Senator, he wanted to know what I planned to do with it! I assured him it would only be used to acknowledge his willingness to meet and hear the concerns of Idaho’s Democratic Women.

IDWC President at the DNC Headquarters in Washington, DC

As the lobbying portion came to an end, our busses brought us over to the Democratic National Headquarters, where we had a great buffet dinner. There were lively speeches and poetry from National leaders and we each gave our State reports. I enjoyed meeting women from New Jersey, Connecticut, Arkansas, Mississippi, DC, New York, Kentucky, Texas and many more!

The Washington Memorial in Washington, DC

Our final night we visited and networked and shared how this event would help us back home, each in our own areas. I gained new insight into methods and events that Idaho can utilize to grow our base and involvement in the IDWC that I am excited to give to our Regional Directors. The 5 o’clock am trip to the airport was a blur, as was much of the trip home. I’m glad I caught this shot of the Washington Memorial as my plane lifted off. Even happier to touch down safe back in Boise and ready to share this trip and the training back at home. Thank you again for the honor of representing you at the National Federation of Democratic Women’s Day at the Capital!

Sign the Petition

The Senate passed this legislation last Friday by 18-17 and it now heads to the House. This legislation threatens our Constitutional right to achieve ballot initiatives and locks Idahoans out of the process.

Let Governor Brad Little know that Idahoans oppose S1159. Take action today by signing the petition today and encourage him to veto this horrible piece of legislation.

Western Regional Conference and Meeting

The NFDW Western Regional Conference and Meeting will be held on April 27, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. While the other 3 regions of the NFDW have had yearly events in their regions, I believe this is the first regional event in the west in 4+ years.  This will be a great opportunity for democratic women in this part of the country to take part in workshops, informational sessions and collaborating with others to grow their state organizations in addition to preparing for the 2020 election cycle.

2019 IDWC Meeting Concludes

We would like to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy lives and attended our recent Breakfast Meeting in Boise held last weekend. We had a great turnout filled with both fresh and known faces that are excited to help us get more women into public office.

National Federation of Democratic Women President Susanna French

We had a wonderful keynote speaker, National Federation of Democratic Women President Susanna French, who told us about how far we have come with women in public office and how far we have to go. As long as we rank below Ethiopia, our efforts are still a work in progress. She also informed us that forty-four other states have their statewide Democratic women’s organizations a voting seat on their executive committee while Idaho does not. Remember that women are the backbone of the party and not a “special interest” group.

2019 Dottie Stimpson Award Winner Janie Davidson

Janie Davidson, the current chair of the Blaine County Democrats, is this year’s Dottie Stimpson award winner. She possesses the courage to do what she believes will benefit all Democrats and the well being of the Blaine County Democrats. She is a selfless leader has a very complex volunteer job as chair and dedicates countless hours to helping others in her area. She is this year’s winner due to her selfless leadership and tireless efforts to keep her district blue in the face of unique challenges.

2019 Young Distinguished Woman Award Winner Jessi Boyer

Jessi was elected as Idaho Young Democrats President last year and has done a tremendous job. She has recruited, door knocked, phone banked and trained other volunteers. She does this while raising her daughter, helping her with school and Girl Scouts, and Jessi also creates beautiful jewelry. 
Idaho is lucky to have such a dedicated and talented young woman, who is willing and driven, to share her heart with others. Her actions demonstrate why she was chosen as this year’s Young Distinguished Woman Award 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 Treasurer is Bev Robinson, who was the IDWC Secretary. The new IDWC Secretary is Lee Hendricks from Pocatello, Idaho. The New Region 4 Director is Elle Casner, who recently stepped down as the Idaho Democratic Party’s Executive Director. Region’s 3 Director, Pat Hartwell, was re-elected at the meeting. Region’s 5 Director, Karen Bliss, was also re-elected at the meeting. Region’s 7 Director, Julie Dahlgren, was also re-elected at the meeting. At this point in time, Regions 1 and 2 Director positions are vacant.