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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Brandon Woolf

State controller launching campaign for another term

Idaho state Controller Brandon Woolf is launching his election campaign for a full term in the post today, with the state’s last two GOP state controllers – Donna Jones and Keith Johnson – joining all six of Idaho’s current GOP constitutional officers helping head up his campaign. that includes Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, Treasurer Ron Crane, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, and Superintendent of Public instruction Tom Luna.

“It’s one thing for me to tell you I’m trustworthy,” Woolf said in a statement. “However, you can verify this for yourself by looking at the many people who support my candidacy.” More than 90 people crowded into the Capitol rotunda for his campaign launch today, pictured above.

At 41, Woolf is among the youngest to hold the post; he was the chief deputy controller when he was appointed to the top job by otter in 2012, after Jones suffered serious injuries in an auto accident. Woolf, who holds an MBA from Boise State and a political science degree from Utah State, started in the controller’s office as an intern in 1997, and worked his way up through a variety of positions including leading the agency’s division that processes payroll for more than 24,000 state employees. In January, as state controller, he launched, a state transparency website making large amounts of automatically updated state data, including salaries and work force data, freely available to the public.

Woolf was joined by Otter, Jones, Little and more at his Statehouse announcement today.

Woolf already faces an opponent in the May GOP primary: Todd Hatfield, owner of a McCall log home company, who unsuccessfully challenged Jones in 2010, garnering 43.6 percent of the vote to Jones’ 56.4 percent. Hatfield ran on a platform of getting the state lands department to offer smaller timber sales, to give smaller logging companies a shot at the business; this time around, he lists 36 “industry supporters” on his website, all small logging or trucking companies or wood products manufacturers.

Idaho’s primary election is May 20.

Senate unanimously confirms state Controller Brandon Woolf

Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf has been unanimously confirmed by the state Senate; he was appointed to the post after elected Controller Donna Jones stepped down to focus on recovering from injuries suffered in an auto accident. “It’s not often that we have a vacancy in one of the statewide elected offices,” Sen. Curtis McKenzie, R-Nampa, told the Senate. “We had one here in our controller’s office.” He noted that many legislators know Jones, a former lawmaker herself. “We’re saddened by the tragedy that struck her, the accident that she was in which left her unable to continue in that role. One of the important things that came out of that was a need to have continuity within that office.”

Jones requested Gov. Butch Otter to appoint Woolf, her chief deputy, to succeed her; Woolf plans to seek election in his own right after serving out her term.

Before the Senate’s unanimous vote, after extolling Woolf’s qualifications, McKenzie said, “I think he is our only statewide official that is both an Eagle Scout and is also fluent in Dutch.” He added, “I urge your support for the confirmation. I think it’s a good thing for the state of Idaho and also a good thing for the controller’s office.”

Staff’s ‘hard work and smart ideas’ credited for new Idaho transparency site

Here’s a link to my full story at on today’s launch of an Idaho government transparency website, unveiled by Gov. Butch Otter and state Controller Brandon Woolf. “We’ve always provided our public information whenever it’s requested, but this allows the citizens to quickly get to it without having to come through the office,” said Woolf, who at 40 is the youngest statewide official in Idaho. “They get right to the data.” The transparency site was set up within the controller’s existing budget, with no appropriation of state funds; other state have spent millions on such sites.


Woolf credits his staff and their “hard work and smart ideas.” They found new ways to use the Controller’s office’s existing technology for the transparency site, which automatically updates every night. Check it out here.

Woolf, Otter launch new state government transparency site

Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf and Gov. Butch Otter today unveiled a new state transparency website, “Transparent Idaho,” with extensive financial information about state government that’s automatically updated every night. The site features myriad charts and graphs, tons of detail to dig into, and is searchable by cross-tabs including agency, county and more.

Otter called the new website – developed by Woolf’s office from within his existing budget – “a very important big step in transparency in state government.” Said the governor, “People all over the state, anywhere they are, if they have access, they’ll be able to go online and say where are we spending money and what are we spending money on in one of the agencies of the state?”

The governor said by putting so much data “just a click away” the new site should help reduce the need for Idahoans to file public records requests to get financial information about state government; they can just go online and find it at hand.

Woolf said the site was made possible because “we’ve been able to enable the existing technology that we have in our office, namely the Idaho Business Intelligence System, which is our data warehouse.” He said, “This is the citizens’ government and it’s the citizens’ money and this website will help provide so that the citizens can identify and know how that money’s being spent.”

Woolf said the site is somewhat limited at this point, but he sees it as just a first step. Eventually, he’d like to have a searchable electronic version of the state’s checkbook online, so people could search, for example, to see how much an agency paid to a particular company. Getting to that point, however, likely would require an additional investment; Woolf said he may request funds next year. The site can be accessed here.

Woolf names Goicoechea chief deputy state controller

Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf has announced the appointment of Dan Goicoechea as his chief deputy; Goicoechea earlier held the same position under former state Controllers Donna Jones and Keith Johnson. Most recently, he worked as a lobbyist for a mining firm; click below for Woolf's full announcement.

Woolf becomes Idaho’s 21st state controller

Here's a link to my full story at on today's appointment of Brandon Woolf as Idaho's 21st state controller, with the retirement of controller Donna Jones. Idaho's state controller is the state's chief fiscal officer; manages the state's payroll and financial management and reporting and accounting systems; and is a full voting member of the state Land Board, which oversees management of the state's endowment land that is held for the benefit of trust beneficiaries including Idaho's public schools.

It is one of seven elected executive officers specified in the Idaho Constitution; the others are governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction. After administering the oath of office to Woolf as the new state controller, Gov. Butch Otter lined up all the state's constitutional officers for a photo. As they posed, he joked that the menagerie now includes an Otter, a Woolf and a Crane (state Treasurer Ron Crane).

Otter appoints Woolf as state controller; Jones retires to focus on recovery from accident

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter called a press conference this morning to name acting state Controller Brandon Woolf permanently to the position, with the news that state Controller Donna Jones is retiring to focus on recovering from injuries sustained in a May 25 car accident.

Woolf, 40, started in the controller's office 15 years ago as an intern; he's been a bureau chief, division administrator and chief of staff before being named acting controller during Jones' absence. His appointment is subject to approval by the Idaho Senate. “Brandon is an Idaho kid,” Otter said, calling his career in the controller's office “a great success story in and of itself.”

Woolf said Jones has recently learned that her recovery from her injuries likely will take about two years. “Donna is not a quitter, but she wanted to do what was best for the citizens,” Woolf said. Woolf said he does plan to run for the position in 2014 when the current term ends; he said he'll run as a Republican.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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