August 29, 2016
By Bryan Clark
Sen. Mike Crapo has spent the last two years holding town hall meetings in every incorporated city in Idaho, from Boise (population 218,000) to Warm River (population 3).
“It’s been an incredibly valuable experience going across the state of Idaho and literally meeting with people in every corner of the state,” Crapo said.
Crapo started his tour of the state’s 200 incorporated cities Oct. 8, 2014, at Moyie Springs in Boundary County, and he will finish Sept. 1 at Wardner in Shoshone County.
“This decision came out of a meeting I had with my staff two years ago,” Crapo said. “It came out of a desire to make sure that we reach out to the entire state to listen to people. What better way is there than to go to each of the cities in the state of Idaho?”
Spokesman Lindsay Nothern said the tour’s itinerary has been packed, but gave the senator important insight into the concerns of Idahoans around the state.
“There were days when we would leave Boise and knock a couple out, get up the next morning and knock a couple of others out,” he said.
Nothern said recurring themes at the events are the level of federal debt, which has been the focus of Crapo’s presentations at many of the meetings, as well as government regulations and recurring problems with the Veterans Affairs’ health care system.
Another common question: “Why can’t people (in Washington) work together and get things done?” said Nothern.
“Many people across the state are very concerned with the gridlock we have in Washington — the inability of congress to control the explosion of spending and regulatory overreach,” Crapo said. “It has to be noted how informed and concerned the people of Idaho are. The most significant concerned they raised in general is the explosive growth of our federal government.”
Federal spending has fallen as a percentage of gross domestic product from about 24 percent in 2009 to 20 percent in 2015, according to data from the Office of Management and Budget. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, it averaged 21 percent of GDP.