April 14, 2015

Contact: Terri Sterling

208-790-4438 terri@idahocan.org


Report Card: Idaho Policies are Failing Working Families

Raising the wage and protecting child support are critical steps in helping workers

move from barely surviving to thriving.

BOISE– A healthy, thriving environment that allows workers to move beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck is good for families, good for business, good for the community, and good for the economy.

Unfortunately, in Idaho, state policies too often seem rigged against workers and their families, preventing people from getting ahead no matter how hard they struggle. Low wages, a lack of good-paying jobs, inequitable tax systems, sky-rocketing education costs and debilitating debt especially impact low-income families.

A new report card, “Rigged to Fail: When state policies suppress workers’ ability to make ends meet,” released today by Idaho Community Action Network, gives Idaho an “F” when it comes to passing policies that help workers and their families get ahead.  Here is a copy of the report.

“It takes two minimum wage jobs for a single adult just to put food on the table,” said Aaron White, president of the AFL-CIO.  “More industries are being driven into the minimum wage pay scale. Take for example, health care workers. The folks that take care of our senior family members are struggling to eat and stay healthy themselves.  It’s well overdue that the legislature takes action and raises the wage.”


In addition to low wages in Idaho, this report card also grades family supports including child support payments. According to Representative John Rusche in a statement:


“We have less than 60 days to fix this error and join the rest of the country in these standard support payment rules.  If we do not, we lose $46 million in federal money, have to lay off over 100 child support workers, and endanger the more than $200,000,000 in payments to 155,000 kids now receiving parental support through the system. This is not about international autonomy, sovereignty, or “Sharia law.”  It is not about welfare payments ­– these are private child support payments. It is about the lives and welfare of Idaho families, and continuing to use a system that makes child support enforcement possible.”

“Rigged to Fail” was produced by the national Alliance for a Just Society as part of the Job Gap Economic Prosperity series. The report card grades Idaho on 25 indicators across three categories: Jobs and Wages, Debt and Taxes, and Supports for Working Families, measuring how well we could be doing at supporting working families.

Idaho failed in all three categories.  Particularly troubling:

  • Most women working full time don’t earn enough to make ends meet
  • The state doesn’t limit hospital charges, billing and collections for low-income families
  • The state doesn’t offer a child care tax credit
  • Legislators refuse to cap payday loan interest rates


“Our state needs to create an environment where all workers can succeed,” said Anne Nesse from Raise Idaho.  “When we consider true Idaho values we will have better health outcomes, better educational outcomes, less hunger, less physical stress, less addiction, less crime, less violence to  women and children, and an increased trust in our society.  Idaho needs to raise our minimum wage.”

“Increasing Idaho’s minimum wage is one subject area where we can’t afford to fail – it is the key to moving working families from simply surviving to thriving,”  said Representative Sue Chew. It’s time for our state to invest in all families.”

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With over 2,000 members statewide, Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) educates and advocates on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to eliminate poverty in Idaho. Our members speak with a united voice on issues that directly impact their lives.



The Alliance for a Just Society is a national policy, research and organizing network focused on racial and economic justice. The Alliance has produced pivotal reports for 20 years on state and national health issues.



Statewide Community Organizer Position Open


Job title:Idaho Community Action Network Statewide Organizer

Department: Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN): ICAN was founded in January 1999 through a merger of Idaho Citizens’ Network (a grassroots group voicing concerns of low-income families) and Idaho Hunger Action Council (a group advocating for low-income families and running a statewide food program).

ICAN is a member based non-profit organization. With over 2,000 members state-wide, our purpose is to educate and advocate on issues of social, racial, and economic justice and to eliminate poverty in Idaho. Our members speak with a united voice on issues that directly impact their lives. ICAN encourages members to become effective leaders in their local communities through trainings and education.

Reports to: ICAN Executive Director

Overall responsibility: The Idaho Community Action Network Statewide Organizer builds and mobilizes a statewide network of community members to impact key issue, fights and advance win-win policies that benefit communities of color, low-income people, and their communities. The ICAN Statewide Organizer works with supervisors to develop a coordinated organizing plan, conduct direct canvass-based community outreach, implement a membership and grassroots fundraising plan, develop committed leaders to contribute skills towards the organization, and mobilize ICAN members to educate decision-makers, opinion leaders, the media and the public. This position requires frequent travel to key regions across the state (up to 10 days of travel per month).

Primary responsibilities and duties:
The duties of the ICAN Statewide Organizer focus primarily on outreach/recruitment, leadership development, execution of tactics and events that mobilize ICAN members to engage key audiences in support of critical issues, and media work.

Duties include:
• Work with supervisors to develop a coordinated membership outreach and organizing plan reflecting local, state, and national priorities. Participate in the ongoing development of a national network of coalitions.
• Conduct membership recruitment drives around the state using direct canvass-based outreach to recruit new members to join the organization; recruit and train volunteers to participate in outreach blitzes and other outreach/contact strategies.
• Map local business communities across the state and identify groups and individuals for targeted outreach. Conduct one-on-one meetings with contacts from canvassing and other targeted contacts to identify and develop community leaders, and build their commitment to serving as leaders in ICAN’s work.
• Develop local teams of community leaders/spokespeople for direct engagement with decision-makers, public events, and other media opportunities. Build strong working relationships with these leaders and prep them for opportunities on a case by case basis so leaders are consistently out front as the voice and face of ICAN.
• Organize local and statewide tactics, action steps and events to leverage the voices of community members across Idaho to impact the public debate on key local, state, and national issues.
• Recruit and staff a diverse steering committee of ICAN leaders to guide Welcoming Idaho’s Initiative work.

• Deep commitment to a vision of racial, social, and economic justice and to building power for local communities.
• At least 2 years experience in community/grassroots organizing, political campaigns and/or legislative work.
• Experience and strong canvassing skills.
• Ability to communicate effectively and engage members of the small business community at their level.
• Strong written and verbal skills and ability to listen.
• Ability to produce consistent, quality work in a fast-paced environment.
• Willingness to travel around the state on a regular basis and work flexible hours required. Travel will include up to 10 days/month. The organizer is responsible for finding free community housing when on the road.
• Ability to work independently and strong time management skills.
• Strong facilitation skills.
• Computer skills (word processing, spreadsheet & database, online skills).
• Experience with national campaigns or large municipal/state coalitions a plus.
• A sense of humor.

Additional Qualifications:
• Bi-lingual
• Radio Station Management
• Grant Writing

Evaluation:There will be an evaluation after the first month, then at the three month mark, and again at the six month mark to assess fit for the position.

Compensation:Starting pay for this position is $30,000. Generous benefits package included.

To apply: Email cover letter and resume to Krista Bustamante, Krista@idahocan.org with subject line: ICAN Statewide Organizer. Application Deadline April 21, 2015 at 11:59PM Mountain Time. For more information contact our office at 208-385-9146.

We are looking for committed, enthusiastic people with a sense of humor to join our organizing team! We are committed to equal opportunity, and consider applicants of all races, gender, ages, sexual orientations, national origins, ethnicity, religion, and abilities. We urge people of color, and experienced organizers and activists of all backgrounds to apply.

Breaking Barriers- Improving Access to Health Care in Idaho

Idaho Breaking Barriers

“Breaking Barriers” is a 10-state study analyzing the significant impediments and racial disparities in enrollment in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and access to health care, even after enrollment. The report includes specific recommendations for systemic improvements to assure fair and equitable access to quality health care for all.