With winter quickly rushing in, and the holidays getting into full swing, I wanted to take a moment to give my thanks to all of our dedicated volunteers and supporters for all the time and hard work they have given to our You’re the Cure efforts throughout the year.
Moving policy forward in the Idaho Legislature requires the sustained work of so many volunteers to be successful. Thanks to your help, this year we were able to secure approximately $2 million in state funds for child and pedestrian transportation safety projects, support almost $6 million in tobacco education, prevention, and cessation programs, and share with legislators the continued issues surrounding affordable health care coverage needs, helping them work towards a solution to closing the coverage gap for health insurance in Idaho.
We also hosted over 30 students, from local Treasure Valley Mayor's Youth Councils and high schools, who met with Legislators to speak about the importance of Safe Routes to Schools. These students were well spoken, thoughtful, and thorough in conveying the connection between transportation and Safe Routes to School and lifetime health. Their effort was tremendous, as well as the volunteers who came to assist on Lobby Day, and made a huge impact in the Statehouse, and our advancement of Safe Routes Legislation.
We had similar assistance from a smaller group of dedicated supporters who testified on behalf of our Tobacco to 21 Legislation. Although it did not pass the committee this year, we are encouraged by the response and will be bringing it forward in the 2018 Session. I can’t say ”thank you” enough to all the volunteers, both students and adults, that dove into these issues and helped us move them along and create momentum around improving public health.
We know public policies and legislation like this will help improve health across the state, and encourage healthier habits, reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It remains an arduous task, and we have so much to do as we prepare for the 2018 Legislative Session, but we know we can count on our fantastic volunteers to continue our critical work toward creating a healthier Idaho!