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Idaho’s three top Republican candidates for governor were downright stumped toward the end of Monday’s debate, televised by Idaho Public Television.

The topic at hand? Idaho’s faith-healing exemption, which prevents the civil or criminal prosecution of parents who deny their children medical care because of religion, even if the child dies.

U.S. Rep Labrador gave a hard no on changing the exemption. In Labrador’s words, he believes in “religious liberty” and “freedom.” That’s a pretty weak reason for letting kids die, but at least he took a position.

Lt. Gov Brad Little blabbered for a few sentences about wanting to convince parents to do the right thing instead of intervening with legislation – in other words, he wants them to denounce the very beliefs that make this an issue in the first place – before saying that he would need to “look at the exact language of the bill.”

Tommy Ahlquist was the only one who admitted that lawmakers needed to take a look at the law, but only reluctantly so, after paying lip service to the importance of religious liberties.

Ahlquist did, however, acknowledge the blatant hypocrisy of three candidates who proudly pound their chests as pro-life advocates while also allowing children to die from preventable causes.

“I don’t know how you fight for life up until birth and, at day one, you don’t intervene when you can save a child,” Ahlquist said.

The three candidates came to three different conclusions – Labrador said don’t change it, Ahlquist said take a look at changing it, and Little wiggled out of an answer altogether. But the sentiment from all three candidates was the same, and it came through loud and clear: “We’ll fight to get you born, but once you’re out of the womb, good luck kid. Hope you’re not unfortunate enough to be born into a family that doesn’t believe in doctors.”


Operation Facelift in Rupert just keeps getting bigger and more ambitious.

As we reported Friday, the city had 580 local volunteers show up last year to tackle 28 different projects. This year, special projects coordinator Leslie Garner anticipates 650 volunteers showing up for roughly the same number of projects.

The project, offered by Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, includes awards for things like “Best Small Business Facelift” and “Best Community Arts Project.”

On the heels of Twin Falls’ massive Main Street renovation, several cities are giving extra attention to their downtowns. Jerome is also participating in the SIEDO project, and Twin Falls and Glenns Ferry may join too.

We applaud Jerome and Rupert for organizing a resident-led cleanup and revitalization, and urge other cities to do the same. Magic Valley cities recognize that having a vibrant downtown is essential to making the city attractive for residents and outsiders, and who better to clean up downtowns than the city’s residents?

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