A few observations about the governor’s speech: It was a somber speech, rarely interrupted by applause (only five times in the 45-minute speech). And the venue forced a rather unusual atmosphere at the after-speech scrum, when Otter usually is surrounded by reporters and TV cameras and bombarded with a few quick questions as he leaves. This time, he took some time to collect his thoughts, then came out and held a press conference. The questions were many and pointed. Among them: Whether his agenda puts “potholes ahead of people.” Senate Transportation Chairman John McGee, R-Caldwell, felt compelled to step to the podium and say that he’s for both (filling potholes, and creating jobs for people in the process). Otter also defended his proposal to tap into just 35 percent of Idaho’s rainy-day funds over the next two years, even while cutting schools. No one knows when the recession will end, he said. “I want that buffer.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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