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Idaho Legislators discuss recent legislative session with Idaho Falls Chamber members

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI)—Business leaders in Idaho Falls and eight state legislators sat down at an Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday to discuss the most recent legislative session.

"I think when the bills are passed into legislation, we feel like we don't have a say. So this is an ability for us to have a say. Also, the launch program, I'm very excited about that, especially how it will impact schools here in this area and students and the higher education system," Jennifer Jennings from the College of Eastern Idaho Foundation said.

"I was impressed with a little bit of everything that they said and may not see eye-to-eye on everything, but I'm sure it was such a civil discourse and I learned a lot. I'm just happy to be here," Annalee Kelly an Idaho Falls resident said.

"It was just really great to hear some different opinions from the various different legislators that were here and really be able to talk a little bit more with my community members after the conversation," said Candace-Marie Mitchum, a local realtor.

Attendees also shared how the legislators answered many of their questions about bills debated in the previous session.

"They can expand a little bit about why they voted a certain way or what their influences were from the community, And you can have your voice heard in sessions like this," Jennings said.

"I can see things. It's a long process. I think our legislators are doing their best and I was satisfied with today," Kelly said.

"It gives us an opportunity to ask questions. And we do have those burning things in the back of our minds. So I really appreciate today's event," Mitchum said.

"So by coming here and participating and hearing what the businesses need and want was an awesome experience for it, I think it will help as a legislator, help the state of Idaho as a whole," Senator Kevin Cook said.

"Any time we can have outreach to our constituents and and hear their side and their questions and concerns gives us an opportunity to better represent them," Representative Stephanie Michelsen said.

"I was just with someone from California a couple of weeks ago at a conference, and they said they represent almost 900,000 people. And so how unique is Idaho that someone can come to a meeting like this and get the cell phone number of a legislator and have lunch with them and talk to them personally?" Representative Wendy Horman said.

They also encouraged everyone to vote in the upcoming primary elections as it would help everyone's voices be heard.

The Chamber of Commerce also shared what the meeting meant to them.

"We just facilitate that interaction between the community and our local legislators. And it's just really important that they have that avenue because I feel like a lot of people don't get the opportunity to communicate with their legislators like this. So I think it's very valuable that people get to have their voices heard," said Larissa Hale, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce's marketing and communications director.

Health care was one of the topics discussed at the luncheon.

"I would say that it just was a great way to keep that communication open and events like this make it possible to discuss those issues. So this was a great forum to have the support of those things and issues," said Savannah Kim, Idaho Falls Community Hospital marketing director.

Other topics ranged from education to the highly-debated library bill.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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