Legislators speak on student loans, vouchers and more

Print Article

  • Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, listen as they are asked a question about education issues in the state, at a town hall meeting Saturday at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. KEITH COUSINS/Press

  • 1

    KEITH COUSINS/PressRep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, lead a townhall meeting Saturday at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. More than 200 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Kootenai County Democratic Party.

  • 2

    KEITH COUSINS/Press Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, listens as Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, responds to a question during a town hall meeting Saturday at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

  • Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, listen as they are asked a question about education issues in the state, at a town hall meeting Saturday at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library. KEITH COUSINS/Press

  • 1

    KEITH COUSINS/PressRep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, lead a townhall meeting Saturday at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. More than 200 people attended the event, which was hosted by the Kootenai County Democratic Party.

  • 2

    KEITH COUSINS/Press Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, listens as Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, responds to a question during a town hall meeting Saturday at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

COEUR d'ALENE — Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding said he has been coming to Coeur d’Alene for town hall meetings since 2012.

But, the scene Saturday morning at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library made Erpelding, D-Boise, pause to soak it all in.

“This is five times bigger than any town hall I’ve attended (in Coeur d’Alene),” Erpelding said. “We’ve got a good problem, and that good problem is that a lot of people are here.”

The event, hosted by the Kootenai County Democratic Party, drew large interest from community members and had to be moved from its original venue to the library to accommodate the more than 200 who attended. Erpelding was joined by Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, with both elected officials fielding a variety of questions from the audience.

“We’re all here today because we care about our communities and want to fight back,” Jordan said.

Coeur d’Alene School District Trustee Tom Hearn asked both elected representatives to address concerns that recently-appointed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos could help inspire a state-level push for a voucher program. Vouchers are a certificate of government funding for students that allow for the funds to follow the student to the school, whether private or public, of their choosing.  

Although he said he has heard whispers that legislation could be put forward about the issue this session in Boise, Erpelding added that he was opposed to the concept of the voucher system.

“I definitely support the charter school and public school programs we have right now in Idaho,” he added.

Erpelding said that, while voucher programs could work in urban areas like Boise and Coeur d’Alene, implementing vouchers statewide would further harm the already struggling school systems in Idaho’s rural areas.

This session, Jordan said she has introduced a bill that, if passed, would give teachers in rural school districts college student loan relief. According to Jordan, the bill would help keep teachers from leaving rural areas after gaining enough experience to find work in higher-paying areas of Idaho and bordering states.

“This bill ensures they have a way to get by, even with the low salary they see in rural districts,” Jordan said, adding that she is aware the bill was criticized by local legislators at a town hall last month.

“If you don’t like our solution, come up with a better one. But I have yet to hear anything from the opposition in this (legislative) district.”

Many of the questions at the event focused on the bigger picture of how Idaho Democrats could capitalize on the political energy they are gaining as a result of opposition to President Donald Trump. One question, from North Idaho Indivisible founder Teuvo Orjala, paid particular attention to engaging younger generations in political discourse.

Jordan noted that the majority of her 100 campaign volunteers were college students and said that that fact was encouraging.

“People think our young folks aren’t engaged, but that’s simply not true,” she said.

“Our focus has to be on the Generation X-ers and Millennials being the future of our party,” Erpelding added. “That transition has to start now.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

Massive pile fire prompts changes

September 19, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — More than four months before a massive pile of reclaimed construction wood went up in smoke along U.S. 95 on Sept. 10, the business was issued three site violations. Among the violat...

Comments

Read More

Is mail theft on the rise?

September 19, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press A pile of stolen mail recovered Sunday on a lawn in Coeur d’Alene was the second batch of pilfered mail recovered in Kootenai County in less than a week. The property owner south of Kathleen Avenue ...

Comments

Read More

Land deal is on hold

September 19, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — The city and owners of the former Atlas Mill site will decide Wednesday on the fate of $100,000 of earnest money the city anted up to buy the 47-acre property along Seltice Way and th...

Comments

Read More

3Cs Hoedown coming up: Fall Fest fundraiser

September 19, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The ladies of the 3Cs (Cancer and Community Charities) are pulling out all the stops again this year for their annual Fall Fest Hoedown fundraising event. Called “Buckles, Boots and Bling,” the event...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X