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TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2009, 2:26 P.M.

Nonini: ‘I’m not mad at all’

Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he's
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, said he's "not mad at all" at Gov. Butch Otter, and said his forceful debate against gas tax increases in the House on Tuesday morning was just his usual debating style. "I just get pretty passionate," he said. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, asked why he's so mad at the governor, said, "I'm not mad at all." His forceful debate in the House against amendments increasing the amount of a gas tax increase - including calling Gov. Butch Otter's executive order mandating accountability measures at ITD "nothing more than a sales technique" and saying it was "not worth the piece of paper it was printed on" - were simply his  style of debate, he said. "I just get pretty passionate, it's just my nature, I guess," Nonini told Eye on Boise. He repeated his contention that the executive order is a "sales technique" and said governors can issue and cancel executive orders at will. He also said when he drove 400-plus miles up U.S. Highway 95 from Boise up to Coeur d'Alene over the weekend, looking for road problems all along the way, he found few. "I just did not see a lot of potholes, pavement crumbling away, and I specifically looked," he said. "Traffic flowed nice. Frost heaves, chuck holes, crumbling shoulders - I didn't see any of that."

Nonini also said his debate had nothing to do with his disappointment over Otter's announcement today that he's named North Idaho hospital official Don Soltman to the state Board of Education, when Nonini had been pushing for a different candidate, Post Falls high-tech businesswoman Lorna Finman. "I'm disappointed that Lorna Finman didn't get the appointment - I think Lorna had a deeper understanding of higher ed," Nonini said, adding, "I asked her to seek the nomination. ... You take that a little personal, but there were a lot of people interested in it."

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.