Feb 25 2010

Post Register Article

Uncategorized - 3 months ago - John McGee

February 25, 2010 “Youth Not An Obstacle” By: Nick Draper

BOISE — A successful and prominent political career for Sen. John McGee was predicted at a very early age.

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, a Huston Republican serving her fifth term, has known the 37-year-old Republican from Caldwell since he was a child and said McGee’s kindergarten teacher had him pegged as a future elected official.”She knew he’d be governor or president someday, just by the way he carried himself,” Lodge said.

The phrase “Boy Governor” also circulates around the Statehouse halls in reference to the youngest member of the Idaho Senate. McGee, who is completing his third term, said he isn’t considering his political future right now and that fixing Idaho’s crumbling roads and bridges is his top priority.

“I feel like I have some work left to do in the Senate,” he said. But McGee’s name is already being heard in connection with higher offices: Before U.S. Sen. Larry Craig declined to seek re-election in November 2008 after his conviction in a Minneapolis bathroom sex sting, McGee’s name was floated as an eventual Craig replacement if Craig’s career had followed a normal path. When Craig didn’t seek re-election and then-Lt. Gov. Jim Risch vacated his post to run for the Senate, McGee was one of three finalists for the lieutenant governor position eventually filled by Brad Little, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said.

And after Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick defeated Republican incumbent Bill Sali in the 1st Congressional District race in 2008, McGee considered and ultimately rejected a run for the GOP nomination in this year’s May primary.

McGee, who has an 18-month-old daughter at home with another child on the way, said it’s gratifying to be considered for political promotions but still too early for him to leave the Senate. “I’m flattered my name keeps coming up for these high-profile positions,” McGee said. “It’s not something I stay up at night thinking about.”

His rsum indicates otherwise. McGee was the class president both at Vallivue High School in Nampa and at the College of Idaho, a private university in Caldwell, before he graduated in 1995.

McGee ran unopposed for the state Senate in 2004 and became vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee in his first term. During that first term, McGee successfully carried a bill that established the nearly $1 billion GARVEE Transportation Program, a program that uses Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds to expedite highway improvement projects, mostly in the Treasure Valley, by borrowing against future federal highway dollars.

He assumed the chairmanship of the same committee at the beginning of his second term, something that is fairly uncommon, said Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls. “It is the exception to the rule,” he said. “You usually have to be here for a number of years.”

McGee was also fortunate to come into the Legislature at a time when there was a lot of turnover, which allowed him to assume a committee chairmanship well ahead of anyone’s expectations. “I was uniquely positioned,” he said.

This term, McGee’s Senate colleagues appointed him to serve on the Legislative Council, which oversees the permanent staff at the Statehouse, and the Senate leadership appointed McGee to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, which evaluates the operations of state agencies.

It’s those sorts of positions, and McGee’s ability as a legislator, that make some believe he’s meant for bigger things.

Otter said he wouldn’t be surprised if McGee became governor. “Sure,” Otter said. “John has been a great, understanding ally, not just for me but for the residents of Canyon County.”

Lodge said she knows McGee’s future lies beyond the state Senate. “I expect him to either be governor or a U.S. senator,” she said. “He has a tremendous political knowledge. He knows how to work with people.”

Feb 19 2010

Immunization Bill

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

Today’s Idaho Press Tribune Editorial-

Idaho is second-last in the nation when it comes to getting its kids immunized. About 57 percent of them are properly inoculated, according to recent Centers for Disease Control data.

That’s not good. In fact, it’s quite bad.

The national average is 77 percent.

Two Canyon County lawmakers — Sen. Patti Anne Lodge of Nampa and Sen. John McGee of Caldwell — want to see more Idaho kids get immunized. To that end they have sponsored legislation that would change the state’s child immunization registry policy to get more kids on it.

The registry notifies parents when their children are due for immunizations and offers them the vaccinations.

Right now, parents have to request to have their children put on the statewide list. So parents who don’t know about it and would want to have their children added will miss out.

The bill put forth by Lodge and McGee would automatically put every Idaho child on the list. If parents don’t want their kids on it, they would be able to request to have their names removed.

The Legislature should pass this bill. It’s not an attempt to force kids to be immunized. It wouldn’t even force them to be notified when they should be getting shots. They could opt out any time they choose.

Ultimately, parents are still responsible for getting their children immunized. Even if they’re notified that it’s time to bring their children in for shots, they may decide to wait because the child is feeling ill. Parents may have concerns about autism and its relation to immunization. Whatever the concern, if they don’t want to do it, they still wouldn’t have to.

Idaho has a vested interest in raising its poor child immunization rate. Kids who aren’t properly immunized get sick more often, which costs the state and parents more money when they do become ill. Productivity also suffers. And kids who get sick spread their illness and make other people sick.

Odds are good this bill, if passed, would raise that immunization rate. If that means a few parents have to go to the “great inconvenience” of notifying the state they don’t want to be on the list, it’s well worth it.

Feb 19 2010

Education Budget

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

This week in the Idaho State Legislature, members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) were able to balance the current year’s state budget and protect public schools from any mid-year cuts. I believe the plan is an appropriate response to the current economic situation. After consulting with my local elected school officials, I fully support the 18-month approach to budgeting for public schools in order to leave them without harm in the current budget year. I believe that it will provide more flexibility for schools in meeting their own budget needs.

We are very fortunate that we did not have to make cuts to Idaho’s public education this year, even during the very difficult economic times. However, some cuts for the FY 2011 school budget are expected. As a State Senator, I have always been a strong supporter of public education and have a voting record to back it up. I am hopeful that the Idaho’s lawmakers will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of public education, as it is such an important part of our state.

Feb 17 2010

Congressional Delegation Updates

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

In the last two days United States Senators Crapo and Risch, and Congressman Walt Minnick have visited the Idaho Capitol and talked about how the state of Idaho is doing right by balancing its budget and how much better the process works that the federal government’s approach of deficit spending and printing money.  It made me proud to be involved in a process where we balance the state’s budget and safeguard Idaho citizens’ valuable resources. As a State Senator, I am particularly proud of the way the state legislature manages our citizen’s money.

Feb 12 2010

Week 5 in the Idaho Legislature

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

This week in the Idaho State Legislature, the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee (JFAC) voted to adopt the revenue figure for fiscal year 2011 of $2.29 billion, which was proposed by the Joint Economic Outlook & Revenue Assessment Committee. This is important because it will be the roadmap that the legislature will follow when deciding where to allocate the state’s dollars during these tough economic times. Fortunately, the state of Idaho is one of few states that is required to keep a balanced budget. That is a charge I take seriously as a state Senator.

The $2.29 billion figure illustrates how quickly the economy has faltered. Just two years ago, the number used to set the budget was $2.96 billion, nearly a 23% decrease just 24 months. As I have previously stated, this is bound to be a very difficult legislative session with many very difficult decisions to be made. Almost everyone is feeling the impact of the national economy. Rather than raising taxes I will continue to make prudent decisions for the long-term benefit of Idahoans.

Feb 12 2010

Text Messaging While Driving

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

Today in the Senate Transportation Committee, we voted to send RS 19642 (the texting while driving legislation) to print. We will be holding the committee hearing sometime in the near future.

Feb 11 2010

Text Messaging While Driving

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

Tomorrow at 1:30 we will be introducing RS 19642 (the texting while driving bill) into the Senate Transportation Committee. As I have previously stated, this is a very important issue that needs to be addressed.

Feb 8 2010

Idaho Children and Nature Network

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee


Last week, I had to honor of speaking on the capitol steps for the Idaho Children and Nature Network event. There was a great turnout and I was honored to have spoken for such an important cause.

Feb 5 2010

Week 4 in the Idaho State Legislature

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee

This week in the Idaho State Legislature, the Senate heard and confirmed a number of gubernatorial appointments. The Senate is unique in the fact that it must approve appointments to boards and commissions that are made by the Governor. As the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I hold hearings on transportation related appointments where we ask conferees questions about their background, etc.

As the son of a military officer, I see the importance of the role of military in the State of Idaho. This week, Idaho’s military division held its budget hearing before JFAC, and Brigadier General Gary Sayler said the possible assignment of three F-35 Strike Fighter squadrons to Boise as their training base would effectively double the size of the Idaho Air National Guard. He stated that carrying this out would “guarantee an Air Guard presence in Boise for the next 40 years.” The economic impact of the F-35 would be very positive for our state.

Feb 4 2010

Special Olympics Idaho

Uncategorized - 4 months ago - John McGee


Last year, I had the honor of being part of many who helped to bring the Special Olympics World Winter Games to Idaho. As a state, we were very fortunate to host such an incredible event. The final fiscal impact of the games was between 35 and 40 million dollars and benefitted our state greatly. Today, the capitol welcomed over 100 young people who were also involved in the Winter Games. It was heartening to see such a large turnout of such wonderful people.