Sharon Block State Representative Sharon Block Photograph Sharon Cares Sharon Listens Sharon Works for You
Welcome About Me The Issues My Beliefs Volunteer Contacts

Sharon’s Experience Counts:

• INCUMBENT Idaho House of Representatives, District 24, House Seat B
• Seeking FIFTH TERM as State Representative
• Member House Health and Welfare Committee, 7 years
• CHAIRMAN House Health and Welfare Committee, 4 years
• Member Education Committee, 7 years
• Member Business Committee, 5 years
• CO-CHAIRMAN Mental Health Subcommittee of Health Care Task Force, 2 yrs.

Sharon is a Third Generation Idahoan:

• Granddaughter of an Idaho homesteader
• Born and raised on family farm and ranch in Idaho
• Mother grew up in Kimberly on early Twin Falls Tract
• Graduate of University of Idaho
• Elementary School Teacher, K, 1st, 3rd, 4th grades, 15 years
• Property Management Business owner, 29 years

Sharon’s Family:

• Married to D.W.(Bill) Block for 41 years
• Two children: Brian Block and Rachelle Block

Rep. Block’s Additional Legislative, Task Force and Board Experience:

• Health Care Task Force (2004-Present)
• Co-Chairman, Subcommittee on Mental Health of the Health Care Task Force (2007-Present)
• Interagency Committee on Substance Abuse (2006-Present)
• Mental Health Planning Council (2008-Present)
• Idaho State Board of Health and Welfare (2005-Present)
• Idaho Governor’s Health Care Summit (2007)
• Chairman, Medicaid Efficiencies and Reform Task Force ((2005-2006)
• Interim Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse (2006)
• Governor’s Nursing Shortage Task Force (2006)
• Children’s Special Health Program Summit (2005)
• Idaho Governor’s Physical Activity and Nutrition Summit (2005)
• Guardianship and Conservatorship Interim Committee (2004)
• Medical Care Advisory Committee (2005-Present)

Sharon Block Lawerence Denney and Pam Juker
Representative Sharon Block (center) is working with Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney (left) and Clerk of the House Pamm Juker (right)

Rep. Block’s Experience on National Legislative Committees:

• National Conference of State Legislatures
Member Health and Human Services Committee (2003-2007)
Member Health Chairs Project (2005-2007)
Member Substance Abuse and Child Welfare Focus Group (2007-Present)
Member Electronic Health Records Group (2004)
• Council of State Governments
Member Health Committee (2003-Present)
Council of State Governments Western Legislative Academy (2003)
• Member Reforming States Group, Medicaid/Medicare Reform (2005-2006)

Sharon Works on Local Committees:

• Regional Advisory Committee on Substance Abuse
• Southern Idaho Partners Against Drugs
• Health Net Twin Falls Coalition
• Attend many committee meeting about all Legislative issues.

Medicaid Reform Legislation, Committee Chaired by Rep. Block:

• Medicaid Personal Health Accounts, Co-Payments
• Medicaid for Workers with Disabilities
• Medicaid Asset Reviews
• Medicaid Simplification Act, Redesign Program
• Medicaid Caregiver Respite Support Services
• Medicaid/Medicare Integrate Prescription Benefits
• Medicaid Cost Sharing Premium
• Medicaid Seniors Long Term Care Options Counseling
• Medicaid Applicants, Enroll in Medicare
• Medicaid Payment, Recovery from Estate
• Medicaid Benchmark Plans

Additional Legislation Sponsored or Co-Sponsored by Rep. Block:

• Franchise Agreement Act
• Farm Machinery Dealer Act
• Professional Technical Regional Charter Schools
• Community College Tuition Amounts
• Coal Fired Power Plant Construction Moratorium
• Nursing Workforce Shortage Advisory Council
• Medicaid Fraud
• Disabled History Month Recognized
• Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Free Scholarship
• Birth Defects, Alcohol Notices
• Juveniles, Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment
• Mental Health and Substance Abuse Development Grants
• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment
• Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
• Mental Health and Substance Abuse Assessment Tools
• Idaho Psychiatric Residency
• Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
• Managed Care Reform
• Mental Illness Hospitalization

Sharon works for you at the State Capitol
Sharon works for you at the State Capitol

By Chuck Malloy

When seeing Sharon Block at a store in Twin Falls or at church on Sunday, the term “political leader” is not what comes to mind.

Her warm smile and friendly nature gives her more of an appearance of everybody’s favorite neighbor. Or, perhaps, a favorite aunt.

But for three months every year, when the Idaho Legislature is in session, State Rep. Sharon Block is wheeling and dealing with the most powerful figures in Idaho politics. And she’s very much in her element.

Before the 2005 legislative session, she was appointed chairman of the powerful House Health and Welfare Committee, which tackles some of the most important – and complicated – issues in the Legislature.

“Sharon Block is one of the best chairmen in the Legislature,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke. “She believes, as all Republicans do, that government should lend a helping hand to those who truly need it. But she also encourages individual responsibility and insists upon accountability. The committee is in good hands under her leadership, and we need her back in 2009.”

Since Block became chairman, her committee has proposed 17 pieces of legislation dealing with mental health and substance abuse. The feeling with her and many of her colleagues is that prevention and treatment is far less costly than incarceration and building new prisons. Prevention and treatment, when possible, also is the right thing to do for individuals and Idaho families.

“About 76 percent of the prison population is there because of drug or alcohol-related crime,” she said. “Not everybody can be rehabilitated, but there are many who can return to society as productive citizens. I’d rather have that than more prisons.”

Block has had many other major accomplishments as committee chairman. In 2005, with the Medicaid system on the brink of being unsustainable, Block organized a Medicaid Reform Work Force consisting of Legislators, the Department of Health and Welfare and various health care professionals. They then partnered with the Governor and the Senate, and in 2006, the Legislature approved eleven pieces of legislation aimed at reforming and simplifying the system. The end result was better delivery of services to the clients, efficiency within the system, and less cost to the Idaho State Budget.

“This to me is government at its best.” She said. “We are there to help Idahoans who are truly in need, but we also are demanding accountability in the system. Throughout the process, we are encouraging individual responsibility. If people take responsibility for themselves, then there is less need for health and welfare.”

While Block is best known for her work on the Health and Welfare Committee, she is not confined to those issues. Throughout her seven years in the Legislature, Block has been a consistent advocate for Idaho schools and higher education – especially the College of Southern Idaho. Block, a former school teacher, also serves on the House Education Committee.

“Education is one of the most important reasons for serving in the Legislature,” she said. “And for the Magic Valley, the College of Southern Idaho has opened doors for so many people.”

Sharon has been able to work effectively with her fellow Legislators to boost nursing education and other important programs at CSI.

Block’s work is far from finished. She wants to continue to work with members of her committee to make the Health and Welfare Department more effective and efficient. She also wants to continue addressing the needs of Idaho schools, higher education and the business and agriculture community.

“It has been an honor for me to serve as the State Representative from District 24,” said the soft-spoken Block. “I’m just an ordinary person who has tried to make my community and this state a better place to live.”

That is what a citizen Legislature is all about.

Chuck Malloy is a communications consultant from Boise and longtime political reporter and commentator.

Sharon represents your views
Sharon represents your views