TWIN FALLS — The past year has seen more people getting out of their armchairs and involved in the political process. But knowing how to navigate the corridors of Idaho’s Capitol Building—or even beyond in Washington, D.C.— can be daunting.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, government relations director for the Idaho Conservation League, will lead a whirlwind tour of the legislative process as he offers suggestions for crafting a testimony and sharing concerns with legislators.
The free workshop will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Elevation 486, 195 River Vista Place in Twin Falls.
“Though the Idaho Legislature can be frustrating, it is very accessible,” said Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer said he expects this legislature will focus heavily on transportation, water quality, energy and wildlife issues.
Citizens can send emails to any one of Idaho’s 35 senators and 70 representatives by visiting legislature.idaho.gov. They can keep abreast of issues via such organizations as ICL, which send out action alerts.
And anyone can testify at a hearing, simply signing up to testify as they walk into the meeting, he said.
Idaho Conservation League has sponsored a couple of workshops in the Wood River Valley outlining how people can best make their voices heard. One session at Ketchum’s Limelight Hotel drew 150 people. And another at Hailey’s Community Campus packed them in, as well.
“One of the best pieces of Jonathan’s presentation is how he explains the importance of getting involved and how each one of us can make a difference,” said Betsy Mizell, Central Idaho Community engagement associate. “Also, the general overview of how the process works is very helpful.”
Aimee Christensen, who worked for four years with the government in Washington, D.C., before founding the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, said there are apps and websites that make it easier to make one’s voice heard at the national level.
A Countable app, for instance, provides a simple overview of bills that Congress is considering and allows users to instantly send emails to representatives, telling them how to vote.
And the Every Day Project at everydayproject.org offers daily suggestions of actions citizens can take to protect Title X funding, deal with climate change and other issues.