2021 Blaine County Blue BBQ

Representative Sally Toone (left) and IDWC President Gini Ballou (right) at the 2021 Blaine County Blue BBQ.

On Wednesday, July 21, 2021, the Blaine County Democrats and the Idaho Democratic Party hosted the Blue Barbecue. It was a celebration that we can meet together in person despite the pandemic and a fundraiser to raise money for local candidates in upcoming elections.

Gini Ballou, the President of the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus, was one of the main speakers. She was able to present the 2021 National Federation of Democratic Women’s Oustanding Elected Woman Holding Public Office Award to Representative Sally Toone as well.

Idaho Representative Sally Toone Wins NFDW Outstanding Elected Democratic Woman Holding Public Office and IDWC President, Gini Ballou elected NFDW 3rd VP

The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus is thrilled to announce that Idaho Representative Sally Toone was selected the Outstanding Elected Democratic Woman Holding Public Office by the National Federation of Democratic Women. The award was presented at the Annual Convention Gala on Friday, June 11, 2021.

IDWC President, Gini Ballou of Hailey, said that Representative Toone was someone that has supported the people of Idaho and “has shown the power of the minority when it sticks together.” Representative Muffy Davis, said in her recommendation that she is “so thankful that we have terrific mentors and leaders…to guide and support us through the challenging and difficult work we are determined to do for our constituents.”

Senate Minority Leader, Michelle Stennett, said, “Sally methodically, relentlessly works legislation through the layers of obstacles required to make good policy. She pushes through partisanship with a clear vision and a willingness to bring all parties together, but she does not tolerate foolishness or untruthfulness. She is a warrior.”

Toone is a master educator, teaching for over 37 years, named a Mentor of the Year by BSU’s College of Education. She currently is the Idaho House Minority Caucus Chair and serves on the Agricultural Affairs, Commerce & Human Resources, Education and Ways and Means Committees. 

Also, during the Annual Convention, Gini Ballou was elected 3rd Vice President of the NFDW during the business meeting on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Ballou, who lives in Hailey, has served as IDWC President since 2018 and been involved with the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus since 2008. Ketchum’s Wendy Jaquet, former Representative, and House Minority Leader helped form the IDWC along with a group of women wanting to have more voice in Idaho politics. The National Federation of Democratic Women is celebrating 50 years of uniting and encouraging full participation of women in every level of the Democratic Party structure. They are represented on the DNC Board and have member organizations in 32 states plus DC and Puerto Rico.

2021 Clint Stennett Social

From the Idaho Mountain Express:

Published on May 12, 2021

By Gretel Kauffman

Democrats from District 26 and beyond gathered virtually at the Blaine County Democrats’ annual Clint Stennett Social on Friday night, where they discussed the future of Idaho’s political landscape.

Guests at the virtual event included out-of-state speakers Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., as well as statewide leaders such as Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Fred Cornforth, former congressional candidate Rudy Soto and Gini Ballou, president of the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus.

The event also featured remarks by all three legislators from District 26: Rep. Muffy Davis, D-Ketchum, Rep. Sally Toone, D-Gooding, and Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum—minority leader in the Idaho Senate and wife of the late Sen. Clint Stennett, for whom the event was named.

“Nationally, Democrats made great strides in the last election,” Merkley told eventgoers via Zoom call. “We have a president now laying out a very, very aggressive plan to put America back on track.”

Statewide Democratic leaders struck a different tone, praising Blaine County as a rare blue island in a largely Republican sea.

“You guys have been such a bright light in our state that has a few dark corners,” Cornforth said. “We appreciate so much the things that are happening in Blaine County.”

Ballou acknowledged that the political climate in Idaho can be “scary” for Democrats, noting that one recent Democratic award winner chose not to have her name announced publicly out of fear for her own safety.

But while Idaho remains for the most part red, Cornforth said, he sees reason for optimism in some historically conservative parts of the state—“areas of our state that I think we had written off or thought they were lost in the past”—such as Idaho Falls.

Soto, who lost the 2020 election for Idaho’s first congressional district to U.S. Rep Russ Fulcher last fall, said he was “disappointed” by the election results, though he was “under no illusions that we would just outright win.”

“But we’re persistent and we’re not going to give up,” he said. “We have nowhere to go but up.”

Davis, who was first elected to the Legislature in 2018, said she has seen the Republican-dominated body grow progressively “crazier” each year since she took office, but felt hopeful listening to the out-of-state and statewide guests speak.

“[All the speakers] helped inspire and motivate me and helped me see the positive and all the good things going on in our country,” she said. “We get so mired down in being a minority here in Idaho in the Statehouse, it was really good to see all of this.”

2021 Idaho’s Women in Blue Report

The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus was well represented at this year’s virtual NFDW Women in Blue event. Our President, Gini Ballou, was part of the subcommittee that helped plan the event. The video below was shown during the event showcasing the highs and lows of being a Democratic woman in Idaho.

You can view the entire 2021 NFDW Women in Blue Lobby Day presentation, via the video below: