Monthly Archives: October 2017

Idaho and NAFTA: Part I

by Graham Zickefoose

Idaho Public Radio

State Capitol Bureau

 

Idaho agriculture, which accounts for 20 percent of the total economic output in Idaho, could be in for changes as President Trump leans towards scrapping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and as renegotiations continue between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

NAFTA is a free trade agreement that began in 1994 between the three largest economies in North America that, among other things, largely eliminates tariffs on goods and services traded across their borders.

Between 1993 and 2016, the value of agricultural exports to NAFTA partners has increased from $7 billion to $11 billion. That increase is important in Idaho, where $2.2 billion worth of agricultural products were exported internationally in 2014.

The idea to get rid of NAFTA struck a chord with voters during the presidential election in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states characterized as once having manufacturing as an instrumental part of their economies, and who had all voted for democratic presidents in the recent past before voting for Donald Trump in 2016.

This shift in support from one party to another is reflected in the history of NAFTA, which began in the Reagan administration.

Trade deals with Israel and Canada during the 1980s laid the groundwork for thinking in terms of international free trade in the United States.

Then, during the Bush Sr. administration in 1990, negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and Mexico began. Canada joined the negotiations the following year in order to ensure that the United States would not be the only country in North America with tariff-free access to the whole continent.

The deal, which became NAFTA, was signed by President Bush, the prime minister of Canada and the president of Mexico in late 1992.

Governor Bill Clinton, as a presidential candidate, said he would be willing to support NAFTA during his presidency if there were supplementary agreements that standardized environmental and labor regulations for the three countries.

These agreements would satisfy his democratic constituency, many of whom were wary of the deal’s potential to hurt American jobs and the environment.

However, this did not satisfy the Democrats in Congress, many of whom feared that ratifying NAFTA would lead to a loss of American jobs to Mexico, where labor was cheaper and environmental regulations were less strict.

After Mr. Clinton was elected president, he pushed Congress to ratify NAFTA. Congress narrowly voted in favor of ratification in November 1993, but with heavy opposition from Mr. Clinton’s own party in both the House and the Senate.

NAFTA came into effect in 1994, the year after it was ratified in Congress, and NAFTA has continued, largely unchanged, until this year.

As the negotiations have continued, many involved with the agricultural industry have voiced their concerns regarding overhauling NAFTA. Many of these concerns are relevant to some of the top agricultural exports in Idaho, which will be discussed in the next installment.

(Graham Zickefoose- UI McClure Center for Public Policy Research, UI JAMM News Service. First in a series.)

Posted October 30, 2017

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Football: It’s Idaho and Louisiana-Monroe Saturday in Moscow

Football: It’s Idaho and Louisiana-Monroe Saturday in Moscow. Idaho Public Radio’s Kavita Battan reports. (:45)

Listen:

Idaho returns home to take on Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday at the Kibbie Dome, and coach Paul Petrino says he has great respect for ULM’s coaching staff and how hard their players play:

Paul Petrino:

The Warhawks won their first three Sun Belt games, but have dropped their last two against Georgia State and South Alabama.

The Vandals hope to snap their three-game losing streak. Idaho is 5 and 3 all-time against ULM, including wins each of the last two seasons.

I’m Kavita Battan reporting.

(Audio via Sun Belt Conference teleconference, October 23, 2017)

Posted October 27, 2017

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Latah County Voters Have Decisions at Polls

It’s a busy election season in Latah County.

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When voters go to the polls on November 7, they’ll be making decisions in local political races all across the county.

City council seats are on the ballot in Moscow, Genesee, Kendrick, Juliaetta, Bovill, Deary, Onaway, Potlatch, and Troy.

Mayoral races are on the ballot in Moscow, Onaway, Genesee, Bovill, and Kendrick.

In addition, Genesee voters are considering a fire station bond, and voters in Deary are voting on proposed water system improvements.

Polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on November 7.

Posted October 26, 2017

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“We Are Going to Have to Get Past Ourselves”

Working together to solve the daunting water challenges society faces was the message from the keynote speaker at the 2017 Palouse Basin Water Summit. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:25 )

Listen:

Keynote speaker Patricia Mulroy,  a Senior Fellow at the Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, took to the podium just after this clip from President John F. Kennedy was screened as part of a video presentation:

President Kennedy: “Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.”

Mulroy said she appreciated the clip being played because she said it was part of her theme this night, as well:

Patricia Mulroy: “At the end of the day it is going to be we humans who are either going to succeed or fail. It is not going to be climate change overwhelming us. And we are going to have to get past ourselves.”

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Mulroy has more than 25 years experience in the international water community, and for many of those years she was General Manager of both the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Much of her work now focuses on helping communities in water-stressed areas in the United States and around the world.

She told a full house at the 2017 Palouse Basin Water Summit in Pullman that “water is no longer just a local issue.” She said “going it alone is no longer an option,” and she stressed local, state, national, and international cooperation as key to addressing the world’s water challenges.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Posted October 20, 2017

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Encouraging Young Women to Consider Science and Engineering Careers

About 80 high school students from Washington and Idaho have gathered at the University of Idaho in Moscow today for the 24th annual ‘Women in Engineering Day’ event.

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The one-day workshop for women in grades 11-12 is designed to introduce students to opportunities in engineering and computer science.

The hope is to do that through hands-on learning.

In this audio clip, UI sophomore electrical engineering student Christine Page of the Society of Women Engineers explains the clean water challenge the students are working on today. (:29)

About 60 students from Idaho and 20 from Washington are attending this year’s event, including students from Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Sagle, and Walla Walla and Spokane Valley, Washington.

Posted October 20, 2017

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Idaho Football Travels to Missouri

The Vandals hope to get back in the win column this Saturday in college football. Idaho Public Radio’s Kavita Battan reports. (:46)

Listen:

Idaho is on the road this Saturday for its final nonconference game of the regular season, taking on Missouri.

Saturday marks the third all-time meeting between the Vandals and Tigers, and the first time the programs have played since 1963.

Here’s Idaho head coach Paul Petrino:

Paul Petrino: “I think our guys are very excited to travel, and go play in that atmosphere, play there. We’ve done it before and they’ll definitely be excited to go play on the SEC Network and play to the best of their abilities. They’ll be excited and ready to go for the game, no question.”

Missouri comes into the game 1-5 overall, and 0-4 in the SEC. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has thrown 17 touchdowns.

Kickoff is set for 9 a.m. PT from Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.

I’m Kavita Battan reporting.

(Audio via Sun Belt Conference Teleconference, October 16, 2017)

Posted October 20, 2017

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U-Idaho Gets Go Ahead to Plan Cummings Center Expansion

The Idaho State Board of Education today approved a request from the University of Idaho to move forward into the planning and design phase of a new, 8,100 square foot classroom and office facility at the Nancy M. Cumming Research Center near Salmon.

Cummings

The total project cost is $2,160,000, paid for through donated and gifted funds and funds provided by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

The new facility will provide office space and work stations for researchers,
principal investigators, graduate students, and interns, along with veterinarian, superintendent, and administrative staff, and will also include a classroom for 120 persons.

Research and extension activities at the Center include studies on animal identification systems, genetic improvement reproductive efficiency, forage production and grazing practices.

(Photo courtesy University of Idaho)

Posted October 19, 2017

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