Idaho Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, has been appointed by Gov. Butch Otter to head the state Division of Veterans Services.
Hagedorn, a retired Navy officer, has served almost six years in the state Senate, and previously served six years in the state House. Instead of seeking re-election this year, he ran for lieutenant governor, but lost to former state Rep. Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls in a five-way GOP primary in May; McGeachin faces Democratic nominee Kristin Collum in November.
Idaho’s previous Veterans Division administrator, Col. David Brasuell, announced his retirement Jan. 30; the Marine Corps veteran was appointed in 2006 by then-Gov. Jim Risch.
“Marv brings a wealth of experience, insight and passion to this new role in his public service,” Otter said in a statement Tuesday. “Idaho is fortunate to have his skill set to draw upon for this important and growing mission. Our global military operations are producing a new generation of combat veterans who need and deserve our help re-entering civilian life as productive and engaged citizens. Marv is particularly well prepared to direct Idaho’s efforts toward becoming one of America’s most veteran-friendly states.”
In 2010, Hagedorn co-founded the Wyakin Foundation, which has become a nationally recognized transition program for wounded and disabled veterans. He is a member of American Legion Post 113 and the Disabled American Veterans. Hagedorn and his wife, Patty, have two grown children, John and Kristin, both of whom work in naval intelligence.
“I care deeply about the men and women who have served in our armed forces, as well as their families,” Hagedorn said. “I understand the sacrifice they make and I share their desire to serve our country and our communities.”
Hagedorn’s salary in his new position will be $117,665, the same salary that Brasuell earned. He’ll start July 30, which means he’ll resign his Senate seat. A replacement to complete the remainder of his term, which runs through the end of the year, will be named by the governor from nominees selected by the GOP legislative district committee for Hagedorn’s district.
Idaho’s Division of Veterans Services operates three veterans homes in Boise, Lewiston and Pocatello, along with the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery in Boise. It also advocates on behalf of veterans with employers and state and federal agencies, and helps match Idaho veterans with benefits, education and employment opportunities.
Hagedorn, a North Idaho native, served 20 years on active duty in the Navy after enlisting while he was still in high school. He then launched a 23-year high-tech career in which he worked for two international companies and earned three patents in semiconductor manufacturing.
In 2017, Hagedorn introduced legislation to do away with a 1990 law under which longtime state lawmakers who take high-paying, full-time state jobs late in their careers qualify for full government pensions as if all their years of part-time legislative service had been at the higher rate of pay. A sharply divided Senate State Affairs Committee voted 5-4 against introducing Hagedorn’s bill, though he tried twice.
Now, ironically, he’ll be among the former lawmakers to benefit from the perk.
“Quite honestly, that was the last thing on my mind,” Hagedorn said Tuesday. “I was encouraged by a number of veterans, people who I really respect around the state, to throw my name in the hat. I did, and I went through the process. … It’s a pretty good process of screening and vetting that the executive branch goes through. I’m honored to have been selected, because there were some good candidates.”