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Eye on Boise: Andrus Center’s new director brings statewide experience

BOISE – David Adler, a longtime political science professor and constitutional scholar at Idaho State University, has been named the new director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University. Since he spent the last two years as director of the University of Idaho’s James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, Adler is completing an arc over all three of the state’s universities.

“With our designation by the State Board of Education as Idaho’s public affairs university, Dr. Adler’s appointment allows us to realize the full extent of our public affairs mission,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “It not only recognizes the contributions Cecil Andrus has made to his state and nation, but it also allows us to carry out our public affairs mandate with the leadership of such a distinguished teacher, author, lecturer and administrator as Dr. Adler.”

The Andrus Center, founded by former four-term Idaho governor and U.S. Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, has focused since 1995 on providing a forum for nonpartisan policy discussions on major issues in Idaho and the West. With Adler’s appointment, the center will expand its programming to include the Constitution, civic engagement and education, political civility and the American presidency.

The UI has temporarily named Marty Peterson, the just-retired special assistant to the president and the university’s former chief lobbyist, as interim head of the McClure Center; a nationwide search is planned for a permanent director.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that Adler will get a big pay boost in the shift, from $105,000 at the UI with an additional $10,000 for teaching at the law school, to $150,000 a year at the Andrus Center.

GOP survey finds dissent

The Idaho Republican Party has asked all GOP candidates for state or legislative office to complete surveys showing where they disagree with the state party platform, or endorse it in full – including such planks as abolishing general election of U.S. senators and returning to the gold standard.

Of the 40 GOP legislative candidates in Districts 1 through 7, 11 didn’t fill out the survey, and another 11 just said they agree with everything in the platform and had no comments.

Of the remaining 18, four opposed abolition of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (direct election of senators), and four opposed abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard.

Others offered various comments, critiques or clarifications on the far-reaching state party platform; the full surveys are posted online at

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, objected to a line in the platform’s preamble about “working to promote peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.” He wrote, “This language points to American Imperialism and could be construed to be enabling language to promote America as the world policeman.”

In the section on education, he wrote, “I do not believe that public education should be an instrument of private enterprise job training.”

Fritz Wiedenhoff, of Rathdrum, one of three GOP candidates challenging Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, wrote, “I disagree with the closed primaries. Idaho is proud of its independent voters, even though the vast majority consistently vote Republican, I for one welcome these votes.”

Kenneth DeVries, of St. Maries, who’s running in a three-way race in District 5B for a chance to challenge Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, in November, wrote, “Income and property taxation should be abolished. Income taxation is a primary plank of the Communist Manifesto and is just a polite word for wealth redistribution. Property taxation destroys private property rights and reduces the status of a property owner to that of a serf.”

Several Southern Idaho candidates said they disagreed with a platform plank stating, “The United States Constitution is the greatest and most inspired document ever devised by Man.” Wrote Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, “What does that mean? Does this preclude other scriptural writings or religious pronouncements?” But none of the North Idaho candidates highlighted that piece of the 18-page party platform.

Among the 11 North Idaho GOP legislative candidates who didn’t turn in the survey were Hart; Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene; Jack Schroeder, who’s challenging Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls; both of DeVries’ rivals in the District 5B race; and Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake.

Anderson told the Associated Press he views the survey as an unnecessary “purity test.” He said, “It’s silly. There’s always going to be things in life you disagree with.”

Reporter Betsy Z. Russell can be reached at or (208) 336-2854.