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Otter says carrying out death penalty is toughest decision for governor; offers tour of execution chamber for top guv hopefuls

Gov. Butch Otter says the decision to carry out the death penalty is the toughest decision he’s faced as governor, and he’s already taken Lt. Gov. Brad Little out to the state’s execution chamber to acquaint him with the process and the protocols. He said he’s offered to do the same for both Tommy Ahlquist and Raul Labrador, who are vying against Little for the GOP nomination for governor, and he’d also be happy to take Democratic hopefuls A.J. Balukoff and Paulette Jordan on the same excursion. “Last count I think there’s still 11 people on Death Row,” Otter said.

He said when he ran for governor, that role wasn’t in his thoughts. “I thought about a lot of other things, including the great grand march down the steps, the first dance. I never, ever thought that my signature could save a life. And it was impactful, very impactful. I don’t want ‘em to be surprised. So I offered that, when they all came in and saw me or told me they were running for governor.”

Otter said, “I wished somebody had done that for me. I think I would have understood a lot more about it.”



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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