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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: Keith Roark

Roark to let Hansen go, Dems say they’ll ‘try some new things’

Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark has decided not to reappoint party Executive Director Jim Hansen when Hansen’s term ends Dec. 31, though Roark insists he doesn’t blame Hansen for the GOP sweep in the Nov. 2 election. “There is a need for some new direction, some new approaches,” Roark said. “Obviously with the Democratic Party in the situation that it’s in, looking forward, we’re going to have to try some new things that have not been tried before.”


Hansen, a former three-term Democratic state lawmaker from Boise and the son of former Idaho Congressman Orval Hansen, headed United Vision for Idaho for 13 years before he took the party post in 2008; there, he was recognized with a prestigious $100,000 leadership award from the Ford Foundation in 2005. When Hansen became the party’s executive director in 2008, Roark, in a press release, called him “one of Idaho’s best known and most experienced community leaders.”


Roark, who has served as party chairman for three years, said he’s not sure himself if he’ll seek another term in February. “I think our biggest failure has been the failure to develop and articulate a message that clearly reflects what we stand for, and consequently we have found ourselves in a position where we are defined by the Republicans, rather than by members of the Democratic Party, and that’s a significant shortcoming on our part,” Roark said. “We’ve had a very difficult time creating an identity and a message for Idaho Democrats that is separate and distinct from the national Democratic Party. That’s a challenge.”


Roark added, “Jim has worked extremely hard,” and said no individual could have fixed the problem. “We’ve got to look forward, and that means some new names, some new faces and some new personalities with different ideas than those that we pursued for the last three years,” Roark said; click below to read his full message to the party’s central committee about the move.

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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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