Mail: May 10, 2017 

on Vaccinations

As a mom who loves her two girls, I'd do just about anything to protect them. Our precious daughters, ages 16 and 11, are the center of the universe for my husband and me. To watch them laugh and play, you would never know these amazing kids have cystic fibrosis and bravely face daily breathing treatments and all the challenges that come with this harrowing disease.

Years ago, our girls contracted another, drug-resistant illness that makes their lungs susceptible to bacteria and further compromises their immune systems. This means that virtually any exposure to diseases like the flu, measles, mumps, pneumonia, meningitis type b or others can turn bacteria in their delicate lungs into the equivalent of rubber cement. That can cause an instantly life-threatening situation resulting in a lengthy hospitalization.

It's a scary reality. But what scares us even more is that other parents knowingly seek exemptions to allow their kids to opt out of taking vaccines for diseases that can quickly put my daughters' lives at risk. Choosing not to vaccinate is a parent's right. I understand the CDC ranks Idaho among states with the most exemptions, but it's also important for these parents to realize their actions are putting more than their own children in danger.

Not vaccinating your child can expose my daughters and others like them to dangerous diseases, even if they've been vaccinated. During a disease outbreak at school, unvaccinated students should be removed to protect the health of others. The schools also need to have student immunization information on hand to act quickly. Parents who choose not to vaccinate also need to respect the decision of those who have. It seems some schools go to great lengths to provide even greater precautions for much less. An example would be clearing menus of food containing peanuts to accommodate those with peanut allergies.

We are hopeful that vaccination, which is a proven method of disease prevention, can be discussed positively in the future so that all sides are represented fairly.

Regarding our specific situation, we recently spoke with one of our daughter's classes about her immune system challenges. These sweet children responded by wiping down their tables and chairs and washing their hands more often. The result? Levels of infections and sickness dropped dramatically. Keeping diseases at bay will always be a constant battle for my girls, but it is nice to know we live in a world where people do care. Please vaccinate to protect your kids and mine.

—Teea Hillyard, Ammon

Represent

The House vote to end the Affordable Care Act ignored the 75 percent to 80 percent of the population that wanted to strengthen the ACA, not replace it with the less humane and unaffordable Republican AHA. To this example of Congress ignoring the will of the majority can be added Congress not passing gun control legislation in spite of 90 percent of Americans wishing otherwise, and Hillary Clinton being the president having received 48.2 percent of the popular vote compared to Trump's 46.1 percent. These are only the most recent examples of thwarting the will of the majority and has resulted in an interest in replacing the electoral college vote by the popular vote via amending the Constitution. However, there is a simpler and potentially faster approach and that is for Congress to obey Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which states that the membership of the House should accurately reflect the growth and distribution of the population based on each census.

This reapportionment took place until 1912, at which time there were 435 members of the House. Ten years later, when reapportionment was to occur, the Republican Party refused to comply with the Constitution. Although the population grew, dispersed and concentrated during the next 10 years, the Republican Party passed the Reapportionment Act of 1929, which officially capped the number of members of the House at 435. The result is that the majority of Americans do not have the Constitutionally mandated number of members in Congress to fairly represent them.

Both Wyoming and Montana have one representative in the House; however, Montana's single vote represents about 1 million residents while Wyoming's represents 589,713. If one does the math and extrapolates, the results are apparent. Wyoming's single vote is two times more influential than Montana's. "Bad!"

Since 1912, the population of the U.S. has increased by 233 million. Accordingly, if the members of the House were reapportioned in compliance with Article 1 of the Constitution so that "every citizen of one state have the same rights with the citizen another." In this case, the right to equal representation in the House would have led to legislation that reduced the lives lost to gun violence; families, regardless of income, would have equal access to affordable health care, and Trump would not be president of the United States.

—Gordon Brown, Driggs

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