Idaho Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, announced today that she’ll retire after she completes her sixth term in the House next year, and endorsed Brooke Green of Boise for her seat. Joined by the entire District 18 delegation, which also includes Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise; and Sen. Janie Ward Engelking, D-Boise; King said, “I’m passing the baton to a very qualified person. This’ll make a great team.”
The media advisory for King’s press conference had been a bit cryptic, merely saying it would address “her plans following her current term.” When I arrived and didn’t see any campaign signs, I asked King if that meant she’s not running for governor. “No way on God’s green earth!” she replied.
King said she’s hoping for a good Democratic candidate for governor next year, one with experience and vision, though no major Dem has yet announced. “I think someone else would be more qualified,” she said. “I kind of accidentally got to be a legislator.”
King recalled that she was on a District 18 Democratic committee trying to recruit a candidate, and when no one would step forward, she did. “Somebody needed to do it, and it worked out well,” she said.
King has served 11 years in the House, and will complete her 12th year next year. She serves on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, the commerce committee, and the transportation committee. “We’ve done a lot of good things – we’ve done some disappointing things in the House,” she said. On the good side, she said, “We passed child care licensing, and GARVEE bonds, for safer roads for the state. We’ve done a lot of good things.”
King said after next year, she’s ready for new challenges, from working on possible ballot measures to gardening and photography.
Green, a transportation planner for the Ada County Highway District, is making her first run for office. But she’s also served as the regular substitute for Rubel during the past two legislative sessions, filling in as a House member and casting votes. Green called Rubel, an attorney, outspoken debater and the House assistant minority leader, her mentor. “She’s really embraced the opportunity for me to learn from her,” Green said.
She told King, “Thank you for all the leadership you’ve provided – they are going to be big shoes to fill.” Green said she considers her home district to be in “the most livable community in America,” and wants to continue that by working for education, land conservation, technology and infrastructure improvements.