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Idaho Voices

Front Porch: Candidate mom plays hardball

Sun., Dec. 12, 2010

On Nov. 10, I finished work early. My stories were written, the house looked fairly clean, and a fragrant beef stew bubbled in the Crock-Pot. As I skimmed the unrelenting newspaper coverage of the midterm election, photos of the two Idaho gubernatorial candidates, Butch Otter and Keith Allred, caught my eye. For weeks I’d read about these rugged individuals attempting to out-cowboy each other in the race for the governor’s office.

I noticed both candidates were exceptionally well-coiffed. (My political analysis tends to focus on fashion.) And I thought, you know, I’ve got pretty nice hair. And since I didn’t have anything else on my agenda, I decided to run for governor. Of Idaho.

Yes. I know Otter has already been elected, but in four years the whole shebang starts over, and I think that in politics, a head start is a good thing.

Being savvy in the ways of the new media, I announced my candidacy on Facebook and on The Spokesman-Review blog Huckleberries Online. I listed a few of my qualifications:

I’ve ridden a horse.

I’ve moved irrigation pipes.

I can play “Heart and Soul” on the piano.

I love potatoes.

I live VERY close to Idaho and can be there in 35 minutes, depending on traffic.

I received the enthusiastic endorsement of Spokesman-Review blogger and columnist Dave Oliveria. Well, actually he said, “Considering her list of qualifications, she may be onto something.” I think that counts.

Anyway, it’s been a month since I tossed my hat into the ring and no one has called me for an interview. Pretty disappointing. So last night I sat down with budding cub reporter Sam Hval, 11, for a practice interview. I want to be prepared when Jon Stewart calls.

Cub Reporter: What inspired you to run for governor of Idaho?

Cindy Hval: I was bored.

CR: If there was a big storm or tornado in Idaho, would you evacuate the state?

CH: Good question, cub reporter. Yes. I would evacuate Idaho to Montana.

CR: What is the biggest problem Idaho faces and how would you solve it?

CH: Currently, the most troubling issue in Idaho is the construction of offensive snowmen. I would solve this by banning snow from racists’ lawns.

CR: What’s the capital of Idaho?

CH: Boise. But if I’m elected that will have to change. Idaho will stage a nonviolent coup and take over Washington. The two states will merge and Spokane will be its capital.

CR: You could call the new state Wataho.

CH: Um. I’ll take that under advisement.

CR: If you’re elected will you still pick me up after school?

CH: No. You will have your own driver.

The interview was briefly terminated when the cub reporter’s eyes filled with tears.

CH: On second thought, I’m sure I will still pick you up after school.

CR: OK. What do you think of the other candidates?

CH: Currently, there are no other candidates. But if Otter runs again, I think my hair is better than his. Also, he may have won a tight-jeans contest years ago, but after my huge Thanksgiving dinner, I think I can best him in a tight-jeans rematch.

CR: If you’re elected and you get to meet President Obama, what would you say?

CH: Well, there’s no guarantee Obama will still be president when I’m elected, but if he is, I’ll shake his hand and compliment his hair.

CR: He doesn’t have very much hair.

CH: Yes, but he makes the most of what he has.

CR: What will you do with all the money you’d earn as governor of Idaho?

CH: I will pay off the national debt.

The interview was halted as the cub reporter refused to continue unless the candidate promised him a Nintendo DSI, if elected.

CR: What symbols are on the Idaho state flag?

CH: Boy, you play hardball, don’t you, cub reporter? Let’s see, there’s an eagle, a potato and a snowman.

CR: What’s Idaho’s state motto?

CH: Idaho: Tight jeans and good hair.

CR: Um. Not to be rude or anything, but a lot of your answers are just plain weird and it’s my bedtime.

Like any great political grilling, the interview concluded with a kiss and a cuddle between the candidate and the cub reporter.

Upon further reflection, I may not have much of a future in politics, but my son shows great promise for a journalistic career.

Contact Cindy Hval at Her previous columns are available online at


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