Eye On Boise

Leaders ponder legislative turnover...

House Speaker Lawerence Denney said by his last count, "I think there are 23 now, and maybe 24" House members who won't be returning next year, either because they're retiring from the Legislature or running to the Senate. He joked, "Bruce Newcomb always told me that when a representative leaves the House and goes to the Senate, it improves both bodies."

Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, who smiled, said he's expecting lots of change in the Senate, too. Asked by reporter Dan Popkey if the big changes have caused the two leaders to contemplate that they might not keep their posts next year, Denney said to laughter, "That may be a blessing for us." He said, "Quite frankly, I don't think about that. If that's the will of our caucus, then I'm happy with that. And you're right, it is a wild card. If we have 25 or 30 new members, they are the ones who are going to decide who the leadership is. It's one of those things, and we will deal with it when that happens."

Hill said, "We're there to serve the caucus. If the complexion of the caucus changes, that they want different servants to lead them wherever it is that they want to go, hey, that's great."

Both said they'll miss the lawmakers who leave, including the Democrats. "I wouldn't trade our Democrats for any other states' Democrats," Hill said. Denney said, "We are all family, regardless of political party, and we do develop very close relationships with all those people. ... Even if they're defeated in an election where we've recruited their opponent, we're still sad when they go."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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