The first legislative leadership caucus election results are in, from the smallest of the four caucuses meeting tonight, the Senate Democrats. They elected Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, as their new minority leader, replacing Sen. Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, who retired from the Senate. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, was elected assistant minority leader, a position formerly held by Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise; and new Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, who moved over from the House, was elected caucus chair, the position Stennett formerly held.
Stennett is in her second term; she was appointed to the Senate in 2010 and first won election in 2011 to the seat formerly held by her husband, the late Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum.
The party's two spots on JFAC, the powerful Joint Finance-Appropriations Commitee, went to second-term Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, and new Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, who moved over from the House this year after serving one term there.
Werk said, "In our caucus, we sit down, as we're doing right now, we talk things over, we figure out where people are best slotted. It's a super-collaborative process. We're small enough that we talk it over, and there are no hard feelings."