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Crowded congressional race and Nampa mayor's race

Transgender activist wants to run Nampa

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Langley Gulch meeting on

Over the objections of large power users and environmentalists, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission will go ahead with a hearing on Idaho Power's plans for a new, 330-megawatt gas-fired power plant in Langley Gulch, four miles south of New Plymouth.

The public hearing is set for 7 p.m., on Tuesday, July 14, at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise. Idaho Power wants to build the $427.4 million plant to provide more electricity for its customers, but the groups that asked for a delay said market conditions have changed since the company proposed the project in early March.

GOP primary in 17 months

Three Republicans are now lining up to run against Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick in 2010, in case you've lost count.

First it was Vaughn Ward, a Marine from Twin Falls who sent out an endorsement letter from Sen. John McCain in April. Then Idaho Rep. Ken Roberts of Donnelly, who is majority caucus chairman, announced his race.

And now, IdahoStatesman.com reports that Allan Salzberg, a Boise physicist and physician, plans to run. The 70-year-old Salzberg, according to the

Statesman

, happens to be the father of Debbie Holmes, a Boise real estate agent and active Democrat who made an uphill run last year against Rep. Mike Simpson in the state's other, eastern Congressional District.

Minnick, a Democrat, has continued to get his name out, carving some new post-partisan ground of his own, a political affiliation he might as well take to calling "Idahoan."

"As a congressman, the values I am charged to uphold are the bedrock upon which my state and its people base their daily lives: Hard work. Personal freedom. Paying for what you spend. Insisting upon limited, effective government. A right to privacy. The opportunity to succeed," Minnick wrote in a recent guest opinion.

in the Nampa mayor's race

Since June 13, when she announced her run for mayor of Nampa, Melissa Sue Robinson has been busy writing letters. Robinson, a male to female post-operative transgendered person, has started her campaign, founded an Idaho chapter of her National Association for the Advancement of Transgendered Persons, and written to everyone from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter to President Barack Obama about anti-discrimination laws.

But she has issues beyond LGBT concerns.

Robinson wants taller buildings in downtown Nampa, a new name and mission for ValleyRide (she prefers Capital Area Transportation Authority) and light rail from Caldwell to Boise.

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale will seek another term.

Robinson ran for mayor of Lansing, Mich., in 2003, for Michigan state representative in 2004 and Michigan Senate in 2006. In 2007, Qwest transferred her to Seattle and then to Boise.

"I've found Idaho to be more accepting than I thought it was going to be," Robinson said.

She is just now starting to go to Nampa City Council meetings, but apparently has not called existing gay and lesbian rights groups in the valley, though she is aware of some of them.

Her Idaho chapter of NAATP is pretty close to the name of another LGBT group, Idaho Equality.

"Mine is called Equality Idaho," she said.

--Nathaniel Hoffman

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 4,318 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,455 in combat and 863 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 31,368. In the last week, three U.S. soldiers died.

Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 89 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 92,393 and 100,868.

Source: iraqbodycount.net

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $680,743,503,700

Source: costofwar.com