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Ad Watch: Minnick hits Labrador for opposing vets plate bill

Congressman Walt Minnick has launched a new TV ad that repeats his earlier criticisms of GOP rival Raul Labrador, plus adds a new one: That Labrador "dishonored Idaho's veterans by voting against a program honoring those who died serving our nation." Labrador's campaign called the new claim "a misleading smear."

It refers to Labrador's vote in 2009 against legislation creating a new "Gold Star Family" license plate for the families of military members killed in combat. The bill, which made the special plates free for spouses or parents but included fees for other relatives, passed and was signed into law; Labrador was among five House members and four senators to vote against the bill. Gov. Butch Otter, when he signed the bill into law - it was among four new specialty plates approved that year - said, “I’m not going to pick on any one of ‘em, but if there was ever an appropriate specialty license plate, this is it.”

According to House Transportation Committee hearing minutes, two committee members "expressed that while they were committed to not supporting any more specialty plates, they wanted to express their respect and support for veterans." Phil Hardy, spokesman for the Labrador campaign, said Labrador was one of the two; he'd committed to oppose all new specialty license plates.  John Foster, Minnick's campaign spokesman, said, "It was a surprising vote and one that, in our travels around the district, appalled a lot of Idaho veterans we've spoken to. It was a vote frankly against honoring people who served, so we thought it was an important message to relay to voters." You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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