Chelle Gluch is running for the Senate seat in District 12, and as a Democrat, she knows the uphill battle she faces in a very Republican District. However, without everyday citizens who are willing to take a chance and run, there will be no balance in our state legislature. And balance is definitely what we are lacking. Until we get that balance in our system, nothing is going to change.
Chelle’s dream is to see the legislative body be much more representative of the average Idahoan, of which 1/3 make minimum wage or close to it, with no benefits. To her, the Medicare expansion only makes sense to help cover these people who can’t otherwise afford healthcare
Part of the problem with the system, she observed one Tuesday morning when we met in the Flying M coffee shop in Nampa, is that not enough ordinary citizens are willing or able to get involved. She doesn’t say this lightly either. In her district, more than 50% of eligible voters are not even registered.
If anyone represents and understands that average Idahoan, it is Chelle Gluch. She knows where those who are fighting to get out of poverty are coming from. Her husband suffers from a chronic disease, and their family often struggles to pay medical bills. She and her husband run a daycare which they have owned for 24 years. They are also fostering three children at the moment. Besides those three, they have a child of their own, meaning they are caring for four children, ages 8-12 on a full time basis.
Mrs. Gluch also teaches two writing courses as an adjunct professor at Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) along with working hours in the writing lab. In other words, she is one of the busiest people I know. However, often the busiest people are the most passionate. Chelle is just trying to be the change she wants to see in the world.
In her mind, we have lost sight of the common good. It is our responsibility to care for the poor and needy, and if not as a government, than as individuals. This means a lot of different things to those 16.5% of individuals in her district who are below the poverty line. Another 14% are close enough that they can’t make ends meet, and a number of them work two jobs to get by.
Working two jobs has its issues though too. There is often overlap between what the two businesses need, and workers risk getting fired from one or both if they don’t balance them and work out schedules on their own. It’s not a very good solution. So what are the answers?
The first is to get rid of right to work. It is a policy that almost always benefits employers ahead of employees. The other solution is to increase the minimum wage. In addition we have to do something about our failing education system.
This means eliminating the career ladder for teachers. Broadening access to pay raises to more teachers will decrease the attrition rate, which is nearly 20%. We need to raise wages from the bottom up, as teachers leave to go to states who pay more.
There needs to be reform when it comes to how the money is shared with rural districts as well. “Your zip code should not determine your level of success in education,” she says. “Other states spread school funding from property taxes statewide, and Idaho should do the same.”
Chelle knows what she is talking about. She’s struggled herself. When she talks of the country facing a student debt crisis, it’s because she has borrowed money to educate herself as well. She’s faced debt from medical bills. Her children go to local schools. Chelle is an average Idahoan.
Except that anyone who talks to her will see that she is far from ordinary. In fact, she is a fine example of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. She’s an average Idahoan, working way too hard to get by but who has above average goals and ambitions.
Her message? Get out and vote, and let your voice be heard. So many citizens have given up on voting that it is really hard for those who are running to implement what the average Idahoan wants to get elected. Voter turnout matters, especially when it comes to your local races.
You can find Chelle Gluch on Facebook at Chelle Gluch for Senate, learn more at her website www.chellegluch.com. Your support is needed, but not just when it comes to voting. Your financial support helps here get the word out.
“Donations of time and money are always welcome.” Chelle says. “We’re going up against some wealthy people, and it takes a lot for a grass roots campaign to succeed.” Contact Chelle to learn more, find out how you can help her campaign, and donate. Most importantly, get out and vote. There are few things you can do that are more important.
Also published on Medium.