The race is on for the Idaho Senate's top leadership post. Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, already has notified other senators that he's running for Senate president pro-tem. Fulcher currently is the Senate majority caucus chair, the No. 4 position in the majority leadership; a commercial real estate broker, he's starting his fourth term in the Senate.
Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, chairman of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee and a sixth-term senator, confirmed that he, too, is interested in the post. "I'm planning on running," Hill told Eye on Boise. "Obviously, Bob's done a great job. I think the atmosphere that he has helped create there, the culture, I think is something that we need to have carry on."
Click below for more from Hill on why he's running.
Hill cited his business experience as a qualification for the post. "I have been president and CEO of a multimillion-dollar CPA firm with six offices in two states for 25 years, so I know how to run a successful organization, and I understand the challenges that you have to deal with," he said. He also pointed to his Senate experience, including four years service on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee and four years as a committee chairman. "I understand the roles and responsibilities that state senators face, not from some lofty tower but from down in the trenches with them," he said. "I think I can provide some help and some support."
With a tough session looming for Idaho this year, Hill said what the state needs from its Senate is "trust and leadership." He said, "We need to look at the problems that we're facing economically, as well as just our overall structure, our tax structure and things like that, and we need to tackle things head-on and try to do what we can to improve the environment we have here in the state for jobs and for businesses coming in." That doesn't necessarily mean tax incentives, he said, "It means a lot of things," including "proper education so people moving here feel good about the schools their kids are going to, it means higher education to help provide the workforce for these businesses. ... I think we've got just a lot of potential in the state and I think we've got some good leaders, and if we work together ... I just think we can accomplish more for the people of Idaho."