When Ada and Canyon county voters chose last week, by a two-thirds supermajority, to raise their own taxes to create the state’s first new community college district since the early 1960s, it turned conventional wisdom on its ear. Even though top Republicans and Democrats, from Gov. Butch Otter to Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, joined an array of business and education leaders to push for the new college in the vote that took place on Idaho’s regular spring primary election date, most thought the two-thirds margin was just too high to hit. “When I was first asked to do this about three months ago, I was either really stupid or really arrogant because I thought that we could do this,” said campaign manager Jason Lehosit. “As the election came closer, I realized how big 67 percent was.” The victory, he said, was “monumental.” Not only that, “It really took everybody to get this done,” he said. “When you need 67 percent of the vote, you need everybody. So Democrats won it, Republicans won it, men won it, women won it, old people won it, young people won it. Businesses in the valley really stepped up to the plate.” Read the full story here about the unprecedented bipartisan effort, which had top Democratic and Republican political strategists working side-by-side.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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