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Posts tagged: Raul Labrador

Labrador losing fourth staffer in 5 months, this time his chief of staff

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An industry group that promotes burning brown coal to make energy poached U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's top staffer, marking the latest employee to exit the second-term lawmaker's office. The Lignite Energy Council named Jason Bohrer, Labrador's chief of staff, as president and chief executive officer. The Bismarck, N.D.-based group says Bohrer replaces John Dwyer, who is retiring after 30-plus years. In addition to his role in Labrador's office, Bohrer also worked for Idaho Sen. James Risch. Bohrer is slated to start in July. He's a North Dakota State University graduate. Other recent, high-profile departures from Labrador's office include spokesman Phil Hardy, fired in February after sending an errant Twitter message in the congressman's name. District director Jake Ball quit this month, while campaign manager China Gum left in January.

Click below for a full report from the AP; Labrador's now lost eight staffers in a year.

Labrador continues to surprise Idaho’s political establishment…

Spokesman-Review correspondent Kip Hill writes in Sunday’s paper, “While speaking to Latino voters in Boise about a decade ago, Raul Labrador caught the eye of Idaho’s highest-ranking Democrat in the state House of Representatives. The audience was captivated by Labrador, an immigration lawyer fluent in Spanish, and former state House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet recalls pulling the charismatic speaker aside to explore his interest in running for a seat in the Idaho Legislature. “I talked to Raul and asked, ‘Would you be interested in running for office?’ ” Jaquet explained, learning that Labrador already had given it some thought. But when they began talking partisan allegiances and Jaquet’s interest in recruiting him to run as a Democrat, Labrador began to laugh. “No, no, I’m a conservative Republican,” he told her.

Writes hill, “It wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last, that the political establishment would be surprised by Labrador, now Idaho’s 1st Congressional District representative. In a seven-year political career, the 45-year-old from Eagle has positioned himself as a resoundingly conservative voice among young Republican lawmakers trying to broaden the GOP’s appeal among voters. With immigration reform as a potential vehicle to do just that, Labrador is combining his political wisdom with a familiar leadership role to try to nudge the party back to its populist conservative roots.” You can read the full article here.

Labrador to the Atlantic: Conservatives understand need for immigration reform

The Atlantic has an interesting profile of Idaho 1stDistrict Rep. Raul Labrador this week, headlined, “Does the Fate of Immigration Reform Depend on This Idaho Congressman? Puerto Rican-born, Tea Party-purist, GOP-leadership-defying immigration attorney Raul Labrador has confounded expectations throughout his political career.” In the piece, Labrador talks about immigration reform, saying, “Most hardcore conservatives in the House come from rural agricultural districts, so we understand the need for reform.”

Labrador also tells the Atlantic, “The old guard believes that if we fix the immigration we will all of a sudden get 43 percent of the Hispanic vote. We won't. In fact, I don't think we will get much credit for fixing the immigration problem.” But he does see broader political advantages. “If we fix this problem, [Hispanics and minority voters] will listen to us on other issues.” You can read the full article here.

Labrador renews push to require congressional approval for national monument designations

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador has reintroduced a bill that would require congressional approval any time a president wanted to carve out new national monuments across the country, the Idaho Statesman reports today; click below for a full report from the Statesman and the Associated Press. Presidents have sole authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect land under national monument status, and presidents from both parties have used the law to designate monument status on places such as the Grand Canyon and Idaho's own Craters of the Moon. But Labrador argues Congress should have greater oversight on such decisions.

A sign that Labrador won’t challenge Otter after all?

Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports today that 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador had been scheduled to appear at two eastern Idaho county GOP “Lincoln Day” events last weekend, but instead canceled. That suggests he may be backing off from the idea of challenging Gov. Butch Otter in 2014; Labrador has said he's mulling that but hasn't decided.

“If he was trying to do everything he could to challenge Gov. Butch Otter in the May 2014 primary, he would have been on the stump rather than with his family in Eagle,” Popkey writes; the eastern Idaho GOP events offered a chance for exposure in the 2nd Congressional District, where Labrador isn't as well known as in his own 1st District. “Coupled with Labrador's co-hosting of a fundraiser for Otter's re-election campaign Monday in Washington, D.C., the cancellations signal that he might be shying from the risk of facing a well-funded, well-liked governor who has been in statewide or congressional office continuously since 1987,” Popkey writes; you can read his full report here.
  

Labrador fires spokesman Phil Hardy after racy Super Bowl tweet

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador fired an aide who sent a tweet that appeared on the congressman's account commenting on a sexually provocative television advertisement during the Super Bowl. The Idaho Statesman (http://tinyurl.com/a3nj2sm) reports Labrador spokesman Phil Hardy was jettisoned after the incident in which a tweet was posted on the second-term Republican congressman's account that read “Me likey Broke Girls.” It was a reference to two actresses from the TV show “2 Broke Girls” doing a pole dance in the Super Bowl ad. The tweet was deleted 14 seconds after it was posted, but is viewable through a website that collects deleted tweets from politicians. The same tweet appeared on Hardy's personal account. Labrador's office, which has apologized, didn't return a call seeking comment. Neither did Hardy on Tuesday.

Adler on Labrador: ‘Not a promising path to legislative success’

1s tDistrict Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador was scheduled to meet with House Speaker John Boehner today, but Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reports that both are mum about what was said – or if the meeting even happened as planned. Meanwhile, Boise State University political scientist David Adler, director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, says in a new essay that the feud between Labrador and 2ndDistrict Congressman Mike Simpson over Labrador’s support of an ill-fated attempt to overthrow the speaker shines light on the style and effectiveness of both lawmakers: Simpson’s style is similar to that of the effective deal-making of McClure and Andrus, Adler says, while Labrador’s approach is “more ideological and reflective of an insurgency mentality,” and therefore, “one that is likely to win attention, particularly media attention (which he has received), and designed to win primaries and elections in a safe district, but is not a promising path to legislative success.” You can read Popkey’s full post here, including Adler’s full essay.

Labrador says he’ll decide early this year whether to run for Idaho guv

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador says he's waiting to see what happens in Congress and efforts to reform immigration before deciding whether to run for Idaho governor. Labrador is among several Republicans who have been contemplating a bid to be the state's next chief executive. Labrador told the Idaho Statesman his top priority is getting something done on changing the nation's immigration system and laws. The second-term congressman says he is likely to make a decision early this year whether to run for governor in 2014. Labrador says contrary to what many people may think, he hasn't made up his mind on running for the state's highest office. Meanwhile, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has said he intends to seek a third term, though Otter has not yet made a formal announcement.

Feud between Simpson, Labrador the talk of Idaho political circles today…

The feud that's broken out into the open between Idaho GOP Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador - detailed in a Sunday story in the Idaho Statesman by reporter Dan Popkey - is the top political news of the day in Idaho. Click below for Popkey's full report, via the Associated Press. Simpson told Popkey that Labrador has forever undermined his effectiveness in Congress by plotting to overthrow Speaker John Boehner and publicly refusing to vote for his re-election on Jan. 3; consequences could include Idaho getting punished when Labrador pushes legislation, with the state the ultimate loser. In response, Labrador called Simpson a “bully” and “an old-school legislator that went to Washington, D.C., to compromise,” Popkey reported.

“That's how you get to a $1 trillion deficit, by just tinkering around the edges,” Labrador said. “But I think we live in a new world where we have some very serious fiscal issues in America, and you need to have people who are willing to say 'no' to a lot of things — things that are very popular back home — and that are willing to put their political careers on the line.”

Popkey has an update here today on his blog, entitled, “Just how much do these guys dislike each other?”

Labrador mum on speaker vote abstention

 Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador not only abstained from the vote to re-elect John Boehner as speaker of the U.S. House, he collected a vote himself for the post. Ohio GOP Rep. Justin Amash, who’s at odds with his party leadership and recently was stripped of his committee assignments, sent out this tweet about his decision to vote for Labrador instead of Boehner: “Proud 2 vote 4 @raul_labrador 4 Spkr. Raul would defend liberty & work honestly w/Ds on debt reduction. We must act now 4 sake of next gen.”

Only 12 House Republicans didn’t support Boehner’s re-election bid as speaker; he won with 220 votes, six more than were required. Labrador had no comment about why he abstained. “He’s not saying anything,” spokesman Phil Hardy said. You can read my full Sunday column here.

Labrador calls fiscal cliff bill ‘worse than no deal at all,’ rest of delegation backs it

Three-fourths of Idaho’s congressional delegation has voted in favor of the last-minute compromise bill to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” with just 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador voting no. Labrador said, “This was a difficult vote, but as far as I am concerned the Biden-McConnell deal is worse than no deal at all.” You can read his full statement here.

2nd District Rep. Mike Simpson joined the majority in supporting the bill. “While I remain a strong proponent of a more comprehensive approach to solving our nation’s long-term fiscal crisis, this bill is a critical piece of legislation that lowers taxes for nearly every taxpayer,” Simpson said. “The unfortunate reality is that under current law every taxpayer was hit today with a tax increase. The bill we passed blocks those tax increases for nearly all Americans.” You can read his full statement here.

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted in favor of the measure; they issued this joint statement: “The compromise that we supported protects 99 percent of all Idahoans from a tax increase and also protects the vast majority of our farm families from a permanent tax increase. This is a victory for working Idahoans, but we must now be very aggressive in finding appropriate spending reductions.”

The bill passed the Senate on an 89-8 vote just after 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, while it passed the House 257-167 around 11 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Click below for a full report from the AP in Washington, D.C.

Labrador switches to Judiciary Committee to work on immigration reform

Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the House – the panel that’s expected to handle immigration reform, on which Labrador is positioning himself to become a player.  Yesterday, Politico dubbed Labrador one of “five Republicans who matter on immigration,” beyond the “big three,” Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. “This freshman with rock-solid conservative credentials is high on the list of likely partners for Democrats on any immigration overhaul,” Politico reported. “Labrador certainly has the expertise; he practiced immigration law for years and started his own practice. And the Puerto Rico native, who moved to the mainland as a teenager with his single mother, brings a compelling personal tale to the debate.”

Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports that to get the Judiciary Committee seat, Labrador had to give up his spot on the Oversight & Government Reform Committee, where he’s been a vocal critic of the “Fast and Furious” gun scandal and has repeatedly called for the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; you can read Popkey’s full post here.

Labrador remains on the House Natural Resources Committee. “I am excited to join the Judiciary Committee,” Labrador said in a statement. “It will allow me to work on realistic reforms to many of the most important issues facing Idaho and our country. … One of my top priorities as a member of the committee will be to fix our broken immigration system. I will fight to find a conservative consensus on immigration reform that secures our borders and modernizes our immigration system.”

House passes STEM jobs bill, but it’s not expected to be taken up in Senate

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: WASHINGTON (AP) ― The House has approved legislation to offer green cards to foreign students with advanced degrees, but only after a partisan fight that portends trouble when Congress attempts a wholesale immigration overhaul next year. In approving what is called the STEM Jobs Act on a 245-139 vote, Republicans who control the House were signaling Hispanic voters who abandoned them in the election that they're serious about fixing the flawed system. The bill passed Friday would provide 55,000 permanent residency visas to foreign students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But it drew fire from Democrats because it would kill a program that helps less-trained people from Africa and elsewhere gain entry to this country.

Click below to read Labrador's news release on the House vote; you can see his floor speech here in favor of the bill, in which he compares himself to Charlie Brown and the Democrats to Lucy, saying they keep pulling away the ball in a game of political football over immigration reform.

Labrador on piece-by-piece immigration reform: ‘If we don’t do it this way, it’s never going to get done’

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has his STEM jobs act up for a vote again in the House today, after it failed in a September House vote; he was interviewed by NPR's Renee Montagne about it this morning. The bill would replace the current diversity visa program, which grants 55,000 immigration visas a year through a lottery, with one targeting those completing post-graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering or math fields. “The diversity visa doesn't make any sense for the United States for the problems that we have today,” Labrador told Montagne. “We need high-skilled workers.”

Labrador said President Obama has come out against his bill “because it is not part of a comprehensive immigration reform plan.” He said, “If we do a comprehensive package, what you're going to have is a bill that every single member of Congress hates a certain aspect of it, and no one is going to vote for it. Let's start with the easiest thing first. … If we don't do it this way, it's never going to get done.”

Montagne asked Labrador about the Dream Act, which would allow young people brought illegally to the country as children a way to stay legally in certain circumstances, and Labrador said, “That should be the next thing we work on.” You can listen to the interview here, and read more here on today's vote from the Washington Post, which reports that the bill is likely to pass the GOP-controlled House, but not be taken up in the Senate.

Labrador tells GOP to reform immigration or give up on ever winning presidency

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador says the Republican Party will never win the presidency again unless it can attract Hispanic votes, and he said that requires action on immigration reform. Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports that Labrador made the comments at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday sponsored by a group he co-chairs, Conversations with Conservatives. “One of the main reasons that we lost is because Romney got 27 percent of the Hispanic vote,” Labrador said. “If we continue to get 27 percent of the vote for the rest of our lives, we will continue to lose every single presidential election that’s out there.” You can read Popkey's full report here.
  

Labrador promises ‘bold actions and strong leadership’ in 2nd term

Idaho 1st District Congressman Raul Labrador has released a statement thanking supporters for his “resounding victory” in yesterday's election. “After the results of the national election, I know we are all wondering what to expect for America’s future,” he writes. “Well, you and I both know that the big problems we face will require bold actions and strong leadership. You can count on me to provide that leadership and to continue to fight for you and fight your family.”

Farris says he’ll run against Labrador again in 2014

1st Congressional District Democratic candidate Jimmy Farris, who polled 30.8 percent to GOP Rep. Raul Labrador's 63 percent in the final, unofficial results, has released this statement:

“I want to thank the many people who put their faith in me and honored me with their vote. Their support was invaluable and I look forward to adding to their numbers in the next campaign. Running a campaign is not an easy task, but this was just the beginning. We learned a great deal and made major inroads this time around, and we are ready to continue building on what we started. Next time we have to work harder and smarter – it’s going to be a challenge, but we will not turn back now.

“We still need to end the gridlock and division that has crippled Congress. We brought a lot of issues to the forefront in this campaign, and when Congressman Labrador returns to Washington, we will be watching to make sure he is doing his job. “I am committed to devoting myself to public service and to giving the First District the representation it deserves. Our next journey starts today. We are headed full steam ahead towards a victory in 2014.”

Labrador holds big lead in bid for 2nd term; Simpson has 68%

Freshman GOP Congressman Raul Labrador appears headed toward a second term, with a big lead over Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris and two other candidates. With 34 percent of the vote in the 1st Congressional District counted, Labrador had 64 percent to Farris' 31 percent. Libertarian Rob Oates had 3 percent, and “Pro-Life,” formerly known as Marvin Richardson, had 2 percent.

Labrador, a former state lawmaker and attorney, has made a name for himself in his first term as a tea party favorite and hard-line conservative. “Washington has not changed me,” he declared during his campaign.

Farris, a former NFL football player and Lewiston native who was making his first run for office, said, “I'm pleased with the campaign we ran. I feel like I was able to … give people a choice.”

Farris said he's likely to run for office again in two years.

Meanwhile, in the 2nd Congressional District race, with 47 percent of the vote counted, GOP Rep. Mike Simpson had 68 percent to Democratic challenger Nicole LeFavour's 32 percent.

Labrador: Raise Social Security retirement age to 70

Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on last night's lively debate between Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador and his Democratic challenger, Jimmy Farris. During the face-off, Labrador backed raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, cutting a third of the staff at the Pentagon and banning all abortions other than those to save the life of the mother. Farris differed sharply on the retirement age and abortion, but found common ground with Labrador on trimming military spending. “I think there are a number of places that we would agree and admit that we can find savings,” Farris said. “If Pentagon staff is one of them, I'd certainly like to look at it.”

Labrador said people are living much longer now than they were when Social Security and Medicare were started, and people like himself, at age 44, have to recognize “that I'm going to have a different program than exists today.” Farris disagreed, saying a better way to ensure the solvency of Social Security would be to raise the cap on earnings subject to the Social Security tax.

On abortion, Labrador said he opposes making exceptions for victims of rape or incest. “I think life begins at conception, so I believe it's important that we protect life,” he said. Farris said, “This is an issue where we strongly disagree. I do support a woman's right to choose what happens to her body. … I don't think it's the government's place to be making decisions for women about their health care.” You can watch the full debate online at idahoptv.org.
  

Labrador, Farris face off in lively debate

1st District GOP Congressman Raul Labrador and Democratic challenger Jimmy Farris faced off in a lively debate tonight on Idaho Public Television. Among the highlights: Labrador called for raising the retirement age for Social Security to 70 and cutting a third of the staff at the Pentagon; and said he backs banning all abortions except to save the life of the mother. Farris opposed raising the retirement age and instead called for raising the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security; and agreed with Labrador that cuts in defense spending could reduce waste. Labrador said, “The first decision I made in Congress was to actually listen to Walt Minnick,” his Democratic predecessor, who urged him to hire his constituent services chief. “She has been the best decision I made as a congressman,” Labrador said.

I'll have a full report tomorrow. For more on the Idaho Debates, click here.

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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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