Democrat Jerry Brady gave Butch Otter a run for his money in the last gubernatorial election by running under the campaign slogan “Idaho is not for sale,” criticizing Otter for first supporting, then rejecting a plan to sell off public lands. But now Otter is governor. Today, speaking to the Idaho Chamber Alliance, Otter had this to say to chamber officials and business people from around the state: “I’m going to be your general sales office here in Boise. … If you hear of a business lead, tell us. … Just call the general sales office for Idaho, and that’s the governor’s number.”
A huge audience of more than 300, including much of the Legislature, had mixed reactions. Lt. Gov. Jim Risch said, “He had the same pitch when he was lieutenant governor, and did it very successfully, and I have no doubt in my mind that he’ll do it very, very successfully as governor.” Added Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, “We’ve always done that. We make a difference when we let prospective companies know that the political process in Idaho is friendly and understanding for business. On the other hand we don’t give away the company store. But we’ve got a great workforce.”
Said Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, “I think if I’d a been him, I would’ve chosen my words a little more carefully there.” But Sayler said he sees value in a governor trying to help sell Idaho’s products and workforce to companies interested in the state. “It has to be helpful,” he said.