I’m super passionate about politics. Part of the reason I’m so passionate because I know the decisions our representatives make on our behalf really do impact our lives.

Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit

Who you vote for does matter — and it can have very real consequences.

One great example that hits close to home has to do with the passage of Proposition 2. For the last several years, our legislators in Boise have allowed about 324 people in Idaho to die each year because they refused to respond to their constituents’ need for access to affordable healthcare.

Dying for lack of healthcare access? That’s a pretty big life impact.

Hundreds more have suffered physically, emotionally and financially because of this callous choice made by those in Boise.

Even now, there are local political insiders filing lawsuits to stop the will of the people from moving forward on Prop 2. We’ve got legislators who have vowed to fight implementation of Prop 2 — and they could very well be in the pockets of the special interests behind this lawsuit, rather than feeling beholden to us.

Idaho’s Constitution specifically spells out the people’s power to legislate through ballot initiative when our so-called representatives fail us. And local political elitists wish to impose their own will on the rest of us. The outcome of this political battle will impact our lives the next time we try to rectify the negligence of our legislators.

Now, let’s consider when our legislature meets. A couple weeks ago, Senator Brent Hill bemoaned the fact that lawmakers have to make appropriations before they know what sort of revenues we’ll have from state taxes. Our legislature is pretty much done with its business before April 15 rolls around and state taxes are done being collected.

The roads you drive on, the education your children receive, and whether we’ll still be able to access our public lands are all impacted by decisions politicians make in Boise — without even having all the budget information they need.

What if our legislature met for three months or so during the summer, instead of the winter? We’d know what money is available. Plus, what kind of representation would we get if the legislature was dependent on the school break for teachers, rather than meeting during a time most convenient for wealthy ranchers?

Finally, tax breaks aimed mostly at the wealthy were passed by Congress last year. Many middle-class families with three or more children might be unpleasantly impacted by the loss of personal exemptions — and that could be a budget-buster in some Idaho households.

Those are just a few examples of how our lives are impacted by the politicians we choose to represent us. And elections at the city, county and state level impact our lives more closely. Luckily, though, they’re also where we have the most control as citizens. It’s easier to run for office, and your vote actually counts locally.

Don’t leave the politics entirely to the politicians. Let’s do this together as engaged citizens.

Miranda Marquit is a nationally-recognized financial expert, writer, and speaker. She is the chair of the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.

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