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Eye On Boise

Mon., Oct. 24, 2005, 10:36 a.m.

Marilyn Howard is NOT running

Despite reports around the state suggesting otherwise, Marilyn Howard is not running for re-election as state superintendent of schools. Howard, the only Democrat currently holding statewide elected office in Idaho, announced this morning that she’ll retire next year when her current term ends.

The two-term superintendent said she will retire with mixed feelings. “There is so much left to be done,” she said. “And yet it is time I turn this over to someone else.” She noted that at age 66, she reached retirement age a year ago, and said she wants to spend time with her children and grandchildren.

Howard, who spent 40 years in education as a teacher, principal and administrator, stressed that she believes her successor as state superintendent must be someone with strong education experience. “Our schools are not businesses, and they don’t turn out widgets,” she said.

That remark seemed aimed, perhaps, at Tom Luna, the Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Howard in the last election and who, coincidentally, is announcing tomorrow that he’s running again. Luna is a businessman with no background in education, who scrambled to complete a correspondence course to get the minimum required college degree before the last election.

Already in the race is Coeur d’Alene High School Principal Steve Casey, a Republican who announced months ago. State Rep. Steve Smylie, a Republican and a teacher from Boise who is the son of the late former Gov. Bob Smylie, and state Sen. Bert Marley, a Democrat and a teacher from eastern Idaho, also are eyeing the race.

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.