Gov. Butch Otter has begun his “State of the State” message to a joint session of the Idaho Legislature, and as he began, he noted the snowy weather outside. “I consider it an omen, that if God’ll help us with this and our watershed, He certainly ought to help us here with the rest of our endeavors for the year,” Otter said to applause.
He also paused to “welcome back to the chamber” former Gov. Phil Batt, who’s in the gallery. After a sustained standing ovation for Batt – which he acknowledged by rising once, then, grudgingly, again – Otter said to laughter, “Gov. Batt always used to complain about standing ovations until one time we didn’t stand to give him an ovation, and then he complained about our disrespect.”
Otter started out his speech paying tribute to retiring Idaho State Police Director Col. Jerry Russell and to former state Controller Donna Jones, who stepped down from her elected post this year to focus on recovering from serious injuries in a car accident. “They have my sincere thanks and deep regard for their years of dedicated service to the people of Idaho,” the governor said.