Lawmakers log steps to win money for schools


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Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, and Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, logging steps near the Statehouse.

Lawmakers stepped out of the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon to walk with kids and raise money for schools.

The lawmaker with the most steps at the end of the month will win a $3,000 donation to a school in their district.

Rep. Steve Harris, R-Meridian, is in the lead, averaging 23,593 steps a day — 520,466 steps overall. Rep. Mat Erpelding, a Boise Democrat, won last year’s contest and currently in second.

“It’s nice to be ahead of all the Democrats right now,” Harris said. “I want to blow him out of the water and make that question over.”

Only 18 of 57 participants are reaching at least the daily recommended 10,000 steps per day. The top competitors behind Harris are Erpelding (341,789 steps) and Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello (328,190 steps).

“For one week I put in 30,000 steps a day. I was sure Erpelding was going to be the leader again,” Harris said.

The High Five Children’s Health Collaborative is encouraging legislators to learn about the health of Idaho students by challenging them to improve their own habits during the legislative session. Through Steps for Schools, 57 legislators are wearing FitBits to track their activity during the month of February. The three winners who reach the most steps will earn $3,000, $2,000 or $1,000 for a school. The money can be used for fitness equipment or other opportunities to promote health.

“The lawmakers that are participating are role models for the school districts to help promote healthy behavior and activity for kids,” said Mike Reynoldson, from Blue Cross of Idaho.

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Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, is walking around Downtown Boise during her lunch break.

Steps for Schools is educating legislators about the current status of children’s health and existing programs that are working to fight childhood obesity. The program provides details about which cities are offering healthy options for kids in their communities.

“I’ve been walking around Downtown Boise to get my steps,” said Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly. “Kids always need more exercise and play is important.”

Winning legislators and schools will be announced in March. To track your local legislator, click here.


Andrew Reed

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