In race against Mike Simpson, challenger Wendy Norman pushes for affordable healthcare


A Rigby teacher is challenging U.S. Representative Mike Simpson’s re-election bid in Idaho’s 2nd congressional district race because she believes the 12-term congressman has lost touch with regular residents of the Idaho.

Democrat Wendy Norman is making access to affordable health care a central part of her campaign. Three years ago, Norman’s younger sister died in part because she couldn’t afford health care as a single mother, Norman said.

“The financial situation, for a single mother, was such that she made the choice not to have this health care, and her children woke up on Christmas morning and did not have a mother,” said Norman to the Idaho Capital Sun in an interview. “To me, no American should die without access to health care. So that’s one of my important goals in life, and if I can make a difference there, that’s what I’ll work for. .

Norman said she had never considered a career in politics before, but was asked to consider running for office this year. She said she has long been on board with Simpson and respects her, especially for her work on natural resources and environmental issues. Norman told The Sun that she had already registered as a Republican but affiliated with the Democratic Party to run for Congress.

But Norman says Simpson has abandoned his once moderate principles and moved to the right politically with much of the Republican Party. Norman criticized Simpson for his support of former President Donald J. Trump and Simpson’s vote against the American Rescue Plan Act, a COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law by President Joe Biden.

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As a public school teacher, Norman said supporting schools and ending extremism and school shootings were her other priorities. Norman teaches in the small eastern Idaho town of Rigby, where a 12-year-old girl shot and killed two students and a guard in 2021. Norman has a daughter who was at Rigby Middle School, where the shooting took place. is produced. The shooting traumatized their family, like every subsequent school shooting in America. It also opened Norman’s eyes to the need to do something different.

“To this day, when she hears a balloon popping, it terrifies her because she was in math, that’s where it happened,” Norman said.

“I was a teacher when Columbine came along and I was a teacher when Sandy Hook came along, and I imagine my little freshman and somebody walking in there with a gun and taking out my little freshman year that I love,” Norman said. “That’s wrong, and it’s time for us to stop saying ‘my right to own any gun is more important than the lives of those little first graders who died at Sandy Hook or those little fourth graders in Texas”.

Norman supports limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines that can hold large amounts of ammunition or rounds to young people. Norman wants to consider a graduated gun license, so that 15- or 16-year-olds aren’t immediately given assault rifles or high-capacity magazines.

Idaho’s Mike Simpson has been in the job for 48 years

Originally a dentist by trade, Simpson has held elected office in Idaho since 1984. He served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1984 to 1998, serving as Speaker of the House for his final six years in the Idaho Legislature.

Simpson was elected to his first of 12 terms in the United States House of Representatives in 1998.

Simpson sits on the House Appropriations Committee and is the senior member of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

In Congress, Simpson sponsored legislation that created the Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness, which has since been renamed the Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness. Designated in 2015, the Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness is one of the newest protected wilderness areas in the United States. The wilderness includes over 275,000 acres of high mountain terrain, including 11,815-foot Castle Peak and dozens of clear subalpine lakes. Motorized equipment and travel are prohibited in the wilderness, which is home to dozens of species of animals and plants and is used for hiking, fishing, hunting and more.

In February 2021, Simpson made waves when he unveiled a $33 billion proposal (which has yet to become a bill) that he says is designed to prevent salmon from becoming extinct. endangered and threatened. The Columbia Basin Initiative’s plan calls for the breaching of four lower Snake River hydroelectric dams located in Washington, replacing the power generated by the dams and financially compensating farmers, communities, businesses, businesses of utilities and others that are affected and related to the river.

Simpson’s fellow Gem State Republicans, including Gov. Brad Little and the GOP-controlled Idaho Legislature came out against Simpson’s plan and said dam breaking is a failure. But the Nez Percé tribe and some conservation groups are in favor of the plan.

“I’m not sure that removing these dams will restore Idaho salmon and prevent extinction,” Simpson said. in a video posted on his YouTube channel. “But I’m certain that if we don’t take that course, we’re dooming the Idaho salmon to extinction.”

According to his campaign website, Simpson’s other top priorities include supporting Idaho farmers, promoting Idaho agricultural products, and supporting nuclear power and the Idaho National Laboratory. Simpson says he opposes bans on gun ownership and abortion rights.

Efforts to reach Simpson for comment were unsuccessful.

Democratic challenger Norman wanted the chance to debate Simpson

simpsons refused to debate Norman in the statewide Idaho debates leading up to the general election, resulting in the cancellation of the debate. simpsons also refused to debate his opponents ahead of the May 17 primary elections.

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“To me, I feel like (Simpson) has retired and that’s the problem, he’s just resting on his laurels rather than telling us what he’s going to do if he’s re-elected,” Norman said.

Norman said she hoped Simpson would have agreed to debate so she could ask him how the National Rifle Association A+ rating he promotes has helped students who have been victims of school shootings in Rigby or in Uvalde, Texas.

To qualify for the general election, Simpson defeated a group of four other GOP challengers, including Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith.

Norman ran unopposed in the Democratic Party primaries.

How to Vote in the Idaho General Election

Early voting or in-person mail-in voting is available in all Idaho counties until 5 p.m. Friday, November 4. Otherwise, polling places across the state will be open for in-person voting from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time on Nov. 8. Idahoans who are not yet registered to vote can register at their polling place before voting.

Visit the Idaho Secretary of State website To check if you’re registered to vote, find out where your polling place is and which congressional district and legislative district you live in. Due to the 2021 redistricting process, many Idahoans will have a new polling place and live in a new or congressional district for the first time in 10 years.


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