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Democratic caucus in Pocatello focuses on issues, not parties

By By Chris Cole
Published On: Jul 20 2013 07:11:59 PM CDT

The Idaho Democratic party wants to focus issues that are important to Idaho, says political director.

POCATELLO, Idaho -

Idaho Democratic party caucuses met in Pocatello Saturday. The hot topic: how to get more involved in local politics.

But as Jennifer Martinez, the political director of the Idaho Democratic Party said, they're focusing on issues rather than political parties.

Martinez grew up in the small town of Wendell but has worked her way up to where she is now. She decided to come back to Idaho after getting her education because she wanted to make an impact where she grew up.

She says one hurdle she faces is overcoming the political party lines that make younger generations wary.

"I think they're very off-put by the partisanship that is going on, and all the bickering,” Martinez said. “So they don't like to associate with a party. So our goal is to focus on issues specifically, because everyone cares about something.”

Martinez says the Idaho Democratic Party distances itself from the national party, simply because Idaho's important issues are different.

She says the party focuses on the economy, and how to bring better jobs.

"And that leads into education, and making sure that we have a skilled workforce that is able to do those jobs we're trying to bring into Idaho,” Martinez said. “We want those higher paying jobs that will sustain Idaho families."

In the 2012 November election, the party lost three seats in the state legislature. Martinez says they're not worried though, because their overall numbers have stayed the same, but there's always more to do.

"What we're hoping to do is to make sure we're activating our democratic base and identifying new democrats in Idaho,” she said, “and making sure they get out to the polls and vote."

Today they focused on how to reach out to the community. They also let people know if they're not satisfied with a candidate, there may be someone out there in the Democratic party, though Idaho is traditionally a Republican state.

"There are specific counties where we feel if the caucuses can get involved and activate certain groups of people,” Martinez explained. “we can start to gain some traction."

Martinez also says they focus on small local elections, and voter turnout. She says it's even more important to let your voice be heard on those local issues that may affect you more.

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