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Huckleberries hears … that Gov. Butch Otter may have stiffed state Rep. Raul Labrador in his lunch speech at the Idaho GOP convention in Idaho Falls today. According to my sources, Otter was supposed to bring Raul Labrador to the stage and endorse him. But he didn’t. He didn’t even mention Raul’s name. Later, state GOP executive director Jonathan Parker was observed being fairly steamed about the snub. In its report, the Associated Press mentioned that Otter had mentioned U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, who are also facing an election challenge, and thanked them for their service to the state. But said nothing of Labrador. You can read that report here. (AP/Post Register Photo, at Republican state convention: Monte LaOrange)
Question: What do you make of Butch Otter’s failure to mention Labrador in a luncheon speech calling for state party unity?
“This is where the magic happens,” Idaho Butch Otter said as he got up on stage during the first day of the Idaho Republican State Convention Thursday in Idaho Falls for an event honoring GOP volunteers. He told the crowd that the goal of the convention, which lasts through Saturday, is to put together a game plan for the November general election. “Here’s where we go forward with the principles of our party, of less government, more personal responsibility, the free enterprise system, and for gosh sakes Washington, stay out of our state,” he said/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.
Question: What kind of “magic” do you expect to happen at the Idaho Republican convention in Idaho Falls?
The “throw the rascals out” mood of the electorate is so strong that any incumbent has to face the November general election with fear and trepidation. Gov. Butch Otter is no exception. As lieutenant governor, Butch Otter presided over the Idaho Senate during 10 of the 12 years I served in Boise. He wielded a quick gavel and knew his Robert’s Rules, but I never considered him a visionary. His record in office has proven me right on that score. If you ask any Idaho resident to name one thing Butch Otter has done for Idaho, chances are they can’t come up with anything. And the Idaho Statesman, generally an Otter supporter, stated it is “fair to describe Otter’s record as lackluster”/former state senator Mary Lou Reed, Inlander. More here.
Question: Can you name one thing that Butch Otter has done for Idaho since he’s been in the governor’s office?
Close to 70 women turned out for Gov. Butch Otter’s “Women’s Day in the Capitol” today, at which 32 female officials of Otter’s administration explained what they and their agencies do, and then the governor and officials took questions from the audience. Questions ranged from education policy to how the state seeks diversity in appointments to boards and commissions, to how the state can help its most vulnerable residents. Addressing education, Otter told the crowd, “We made a commitment, both myself and the Legislature, that as soon as this economy turns around, education is going to get the first money replaced.”
First Lady Lori Otter was asked why it’s important for women to have leadership roles in state government. “You become the mentor for the next generation coming through,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, anything a boy can do, a girl can do better. … You are only limited by the opportunities that you don’t take.” The governor said he wanted to respond to the “girl can do better” comment. “She only had three brothers - I had five sisters,” he said to laughter.
Asked during a break about the representation of women in his administration, Otter seemed surprised and pleased to learn that of his 77 agency heads, 27 are women. Told that the average salary for the women is well below that of the male agency heads, Otter said he’d have to analyze it more, but he said, “I’m telling you this: If Nancy Merrill became the head of the Department of Corrections, she would get Brent Reinke’s salary. … If there’s inequities, then we oughta correct them where we can and as soon as we can.”
The governor told the audience, “We thought of having the Idaho Women’s Day in the Capitol for the same reasons we have ‘Capitol for a Day,’” his traveling event that he’s taken to 40 counties so far. “The reason for that is to get access that folks normally wouldn’t have.”
Otter has 32 female state agency officials lined up for the event, for which KTVB-TV anchor Dee Sarton will serve as MC and at which people can ask questions of the governor and his administration on state government issues or the role of women in policy-making and state government. Here are some stats on women in the Otter Administration, based on state payroll records from the state controller’s office as of Jan. 7, 2010: Of the 77 state agency heads on the state’s payroll on that date, 50 were men and 27 were women. Average pay for the male state agency heads was $109,658; average pay for the female state agency heads was $88,681/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Can Gov. Otter be serious re: a “Women’s Day at the Capitol” when he bypassed two qualified women in fall 2007 to appoint Joel Horton to the now all-male Idaho Supreme Court?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter will host a “Women’s Day in the Capitol” tomorrow, featuring an array of female state officials in an open forum from 4-7 p.m. and guided tours of the state Capitol. “Women’s Day in the Capitol is actually Capitol for a Day for the women,” Otter said. “And the idea, of course, is to have all the women that are involved in my administration present themselves to the ladies that want to come to the state capitol, visit us and find out what their jobs are and what they do, and also if they have particular women’s issues that they want to discuss with the administrative staff, they can.”
Otter has 32 female state agency officials lined up for the event, for which KTVB-TV anchor Dee Sarton will serve as MC and at which people can ask questions of the governor and his administration on state government issues or the role of women in policy-making and state government.
Here are some stats on women in the Otter Administration, based on state payroll records from the state controller’s office as of Jan. 7, 2010: Of the 77 state agency heads on the state’s payroll on that date, 50 were men and 27 were women. Average pay for the male state agency heads was $109,658; average pay for the female state agency heads was $88,681.
Those figures include everything from college presidents (four men, one woman) to state tax commissioners (three men, one woman); and from the Department of Administration chief, Mike Gwartney, whose salary is zero, to Otter’s three top female department heads, the heads of the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Quality and Parks. Of the 20 official state departments that make up the state’s executive branch, five are headed by women. In 2007, Otter made Idaho one of just two states in the nation with no women justices on its Supreme Court, when he appointed Joel Horton to replace retiring Justice Linda Copple-Trout, the court’s only woman justice at the time, passing over two female judges who were finalists for the post.
Said Otter, “Women in our statewide community continue to make Idaho the best place in America to live and it is time they are honored with a special day focusing on their important roles in our government, our communities and our lives.”
While it’s a compromise, the latest version of the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill can still use refinement, some members of Idaho’s congressional delegation say. Rep. Mike Simpson (pictured) and Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho Republicans who back the measure, acknowledged during a hearing Wednesday that it is far from perfect. … The bill would designate 332,775 acres in the Boulder-White Cloud mountain ranges as three wildernesses, separated in part by motorized trails. Advocates for recreation say much of the land is already under federal protection, and they don’t like the curbs the bill would place on other trails. Gov. Butch Otter opposes the bill, saying Idaho doesn’t need more wilderness/Lauren French, McClatchy Newspapers. More here. Also: What’s next for Boulder-White Clouds?/Idaho Conservation League
Question: Does Idaho need more wilderness, including and passage of the Boulder-White Clouds bill?
Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s frequent spats with federal agencies are often misguided. But his latest dustup is spot on. Otter has taken exception to a Salmon-Challis National Forest official’s decision to deny an Idaho Public Television request to send a lone cameraman into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area for educational-filming purposes. Specifially, IPTV wants to film about 15 participants in a Student Conservation Association program meant to train future land managers, according to an Associated Press report. The footage would be featured in an “Outdoor Idaho” program/Doug Bauer, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (SR File Photo: Otter at Spokane Tea Party rally April 15)
Question: Do you think Gov. Butch Otter is right on or off-the-wall re: most of his dust-ups with the federal government?
Ullman doubled down on the no-show issue - questioning whether Otter would serve his term if re-elected. “There’s a strong rumor going around that he is going to be re-elected, take office, and then step down and the lieutenant governor would become the governor, which I think is not being sincere and honorable in your intentions.” It’s a variation on some recurring scuttlebutt. We have asked Otter and his staff about the governor’s health and his commitment to a second term, and they’ve debunked the rumors. What Ullman did, cagily, was to bring the question out from the shadows. On Wednesday, Otter campaign manager Debbie Field denied Ullman’s claim. Meeting with the Statesman editorial board last week, Otter again said this is the best job he has ever had, and he said voters can support him without worrying about his health/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Is the governor’s health a legitimate issue in his bid to win re-election?
Two of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s primary election challengers lashed out at him during a statewide debate Tuesday night, while Otter declined to participate in the matchup that aired live statewide on Idaho Public Television. “I’d like to ask him why he thinks he’s above having his ideas challenged by the public,” said GOP challenger Rex Rammell, a veterinarian from Rexburg. “Isn’t it the responsibility of the top elected official of the state of Idaho to let the people know what your ideas are? … Why didn’t you show up for this?”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
- Kevin Richert’s live-blog of last night’s gubernatorial debate here
- Allred outraises Otter/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
Question: Are you more or less likely to vote for Gov. Butch Otter after he skipped a chance to present the public w/his ideas at the gubernatorial debate broadcast statewide?
Republican candidate for Idaho governor, Ron “Pete” Peterson, said he’s confident that Gov. Butch Otter will lose in the May 25 Republican primary, but unlike other aspirants for office, he doesn’t think he’ll be the one to take down the incumbent. He said he expects former elk rancher Rex Rammell of Idaho Falls or Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman to win the race. Peterson said he doesn’t want the state’s top political job, and has already endorsed an independent candidate in the race. Ousting Otter has been the focal point of Peterson’s campaign. His official website is BeatButch.com, where people can order bumper stickers, shirts, or underwear with the “Beat Butch” slogan/Brad Iverson-Long. More info. Question: Will Rex Rammell break double digits, percentagewise, in his primary race against incumbent Butch Otter and others?
Republican candidate for Idaho governor, Ron “Pete” Peterson, said he’s confident that Gov. Butch Otter will lose in the May 25 Republican primary, but unlike other aspirants for office, he doesn’t think he’ll be the one to take down the incumbent. He said he expects former elk rancher Rex Rammell of Idaho Falls or Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman to win the race. Peterson said he doesn’t want the state’s top political job, and has already endorsed an independent candidate in the race. Ousting Otter has been the focal point of Peterson’s campaign. His official website is BeatButch.com, where people can order bumper stickers, shirts, or underwear with the “Beat Butch” slogan/Brad Iverson-Long. More info.
Question: Will Rex Rammell break double digits, percentagewise, in his primary race against incumbent Butch Otter and others?
Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise posts: “Allred released this YouTube video to rebut IACI’s charges, saying the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter were wrong to assume that 2011’s state revenue would be no better than 2010’s, prompting an precedented cut in school funding. ‘2011 isn’t going to be as tough as 2010, not for the economy, but it will be a lot tougher on our kids,’ said Allred, ‘who will go into overcrowded classrooms with fewer resources because Otter called it wrong.’” More here.
- Thursday Poll: 92 of 125 respondents (74%) said Gov. Butch Otter should cowboy up and debate GOPrimary foes Rex Rammell and Sharon Ullman. 29 of 125 respondents (23%) support his decision to dodge the debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters/Idaho Press Club. 4 people were undecided.
- 3rd Tankovich Trial: 49 of 91 respondents (54%) said it wasn’t worth the time and effort by the Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office to try two Tankovich brothers for a third time on hate-crime charges, after a mistrial and a hung jury. 40 of 91 (44%) want to see a third trial. 2 people were undecided.
- Weekend Question (in lefthand rail): Do you look at Facebook and post notes or comment to your friends while you’re at work?
Bent: DFO, I would agree that incumbent candidates should debate in the general elections. But in the case of a primary election, Otter and Crapo are the incumbent candidates for their party, the assumption is the party already understands the incumbent positions clearly. Like it or not, this is the party’s election to decide the candidate they will put up in the general election. It is the job of a primary challenger to turn the party against the incumbent. Why then would the incumbent give any statewide face time, media attention or name recognition to a primary challenger who polls less that 10% of the vote?
Question: Would you like to see Butch Otter debate GOPrimary challengers Rex Rammell, Sharon Ullman, Tamara Wells, etc.?
Gov. Butch Otter today declined to participate in the gubernatorial debate, which will feature GOP challengers Rex Rammell and Sharon Ullman, and will take place on May 18. Otter, in a letter from his campaign manager, Debbie Field, said he objected to criteria limiting the debate to those candidates who are actively campaigning and would prefer that all those listed on the ballot be present, though at an earlier GOP Lincoln Day event attended by candidates, when Otter was asked by Rammell if he’d debate him, Otter responded with a flat “No.” Click below to read Field’s letter/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: How can concerned members of the public get a message to Otter and other heavily favored Repub office holders that refusal to debate opponents publicly is not OK?
In Fiscal Year 2010, Idaho taxpayers have spent an average of nearly $8,200 per month to bring the government to the citizens … literally. Between July 2009 and February 2010, Gov. Butch Otter’s “Capital for a Day” program had a price tag of more than $65,000, and not all state officials believe it’s a good use of money. Capital for a Day is a town-hall style meeting, conducted at a selected small town each month. Last July, Gov. Otter and the state contingent travelled to Mackey to get some face time with citizens there. In August, Ririe was Capital for a Day, followed by Kendrick in September, Dubois in October, Lava Hot Springs in November, Carey in December, Shoshone in January, Hazleton in February, Nezperce in March, and Oakley in April/Jay Howell, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Is the reach-out-and-touch aspect of the Capital for a Day program, worth $8,200 per month to the Idaho taxpayers?
Idaho’s governor’s office has reported that Gov. Butch Otter, who cleared his schedule earlier today because he was out ill, was admitted to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise today with flu-like symptoms and dehydration. “He is undergoing tests, and updates on his condition will be sent out as they become available,” Otter’s communications director, Mark Warbis, said in a statement/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter rallies the crowd at the Tea Pary Rally on the steps of the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane this afternoon. See Spokesman-Review gallery photos of today’s event here. (Dan Pelle/SR)
“He was happy as a clam – he was just absolutely stoked,” said Tea Party of Spokane spokesman Kirk Smith re: Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s reaction to his group’s invitation to be the main speaker at its first anniversary celebration Thursday. Otter’s primary election opponents had varying responses. Rex Rammell, who’s been on national TV twice in the last three weeks talking about his support for the militia movement, accused Otter of trying to steal his platform. “Now that he’s up for re-election, he’s Mr. States’ Rights,” Rammell said. Sharon Ullman, an Ada County commissioner, said, “He’s certainly welcome to go do whatever he wants,” adding with a laugh that the speaking gig means Otter won’t be campaigning in Idaho that afternoon/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question (from opinionator Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman): Will Otter’s appearance at the Tea Party of Spokane event Thursday hurt him politically?
“We can opt out as long as we’re as bad as or worse than what [Congress] presented,” Otter said Thursday during a campaign event in Boise. Federal legislation that would allow states to opt out of new health care laws requires that states come up with a plan that is at least as comprehensive as the federal plan. Otter said that a state version of changes to health insurance would be just as bad as the federal plan. “It’s a bank buster. We’re looking at a century of debt before we get out of it.” The governor supports rejecting the new national plan by suing the federal government on constitutional grounds/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here. (Photo: Idaho Reporter)
- Idahoans, interest group want credit card reform/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter
- DHW layoffs don’t surprise Idaho solons/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter
- Otter signs 236 bills so far/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter
- Finally, an up month for Idaho revenue/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
- If you haven’t filed your return yet, think about helping college students/Dan Popkey, Statesman
Question: Surprised by Otter’s rejection of Allred plan?
KerriT/More Main Street reports: “Idaho Governor Butch Otter was in Post Falls Wednesday morning to announce his re-election intentions at LCF Enterprises, Riverbend Commerce Park. He was introduced to the crowd by a talking robot, which was built and remotely operated by high school students.”
OLYMPIA – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter continues to “court” Washington businesses, sending personal letters to their owners that suggest they should move to the Gem State.
That’s fair, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said Thursday, because the Evergreen State makes similar overtures to businesses in other states, including Idaho. She called foul last month when Otter sent out a blanket “love letter” to businesses in the Washington and Oregon that derided the neighboring states for tax increases.
“It is not normal for governors to send a so-called love letter. Governors absolutely do contact businesses in other states,” Gregoire said.
Hitting Washington for tax increases was “a little premature”, she added, because the Legislature hasn’t settled on any yet.
But it’s about to, warned Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla…
Gov. Butch Otter holds his first public bill-signing ceremony of the session Wednesday, for the “Idaho Health Freedom Act.”
BOISE — Idaho Gov. Butch Otter on Wednesday became the first state chief executive to sign a measure requiring his attorney general to sue Congress if it passes health reforms that force residents to buy insurance.
Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states nationwide.
Constitutional law experts say the move is mostly symbolic because federal laws supersede those of the states. But the movement reflects a growing national frustration with President President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. More.
Wow. How many other states will follow suit? How will these “symbolic” laws affect health care reform?
Gov. Butch Otter listens to arguments over cabin-site rents on state endowment lands on Tuesday.
The Idaho Land Board has voted 3-2 in favor of Secretary of State Ben Ysursa’s motion on state-owned cabin site rents, with Ysursa, Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter voting in favor, and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and state Controller Donna Jones voting against.
OLYMPIA – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is suggesting Washington businesses come over to his side of the border if taxes go up like they have in Oregon.
In a “love letter to our neighbors,” Otter argues that Idaho has a better plan than other states for handling the recession: “Predictable tax and regulatory policies are what our employers need in order to maintain their operations through this rough patch.”
Colleague Betsy Russell at Eye on Boise tells of an election-related savings in Idaho that isn’t available in Washington. But even if it was, Washington Republicans would probably be more than happy to put the money in the budget.
As reported here, it seems that Gov. Butch Otter’s office was submitting its 2011, which, like the governor’s budget in Washington, is mostly staff expenses. There’s also $15,000 contingency line item for transition, should Otter not be re-elected and a successor have to take over. (All kinds of campaign slogans come to mind, like “Save 15K with ButchO”)
In Washington, the gubernatorial election is still nearly three years off. But Republicans have been out of the governor’s mansion for so long that if this comes up in 2012, they’ll see it as a worthwhile investment.
BOISE — Idaho tribal leaders want Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to create a cabinet post dedicated to improving tribal relations.
That includes resolving disputes that erupt when non-tribal members are apprehended for reservation crimes, only to be released without arrest because no agreements — or trust — exists with sheriffs in neighboring counties.
Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone Paiute tribal leaders met with Otter, though the Republican governor made no commitments, especially during an economic downturn when he’s cutting state budgets.
Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief Allan on Wednesday, “Tribal economies in Idaho generate at least a half billion dollars annually. It only seems fair for tribes to have place within Governor Otter’s administration.”
Otter aides called last week’s meeting a “listening session.”
Do you think it likely Otter will grant the tribes a place within his administration?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter today announced the appointment of Kootenai County Magistrate Benjamin Simpson to succeed 1st District Judge Charles Hosack, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Simpson, 60, is a Colorado native and U.S. Navy veteran who received his bachelor’s degree from California State University in Chico and his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane. Read More.
Here’s Gov. Butch Otter’s response to the news that Idaho Democrats have launched a candidate recruitment committee aimed mainly at the 2010 governor’s race. “Well, you know, I applaud them,” he said. But, he added, “It would be unfortunate if they had to talk somebody into doing it, because these things are tough enough when you do it and you’ve got fire in your belly.” Said Otter, “I’ll tell you we’ve got a committee that is working on candidate recruitment as well - not for the office of governor, I can assure you - but candidate recruitment where we think we can marshal our resources and make a difference.” Doesn’t that little aside of his there sound like a hint? Sounds like Otter’s running. The six lesser-known candidates who already are out campaigning have filed their preliminary paperwork with the state to become candidates and begin raising campaign money. Otter’s paperwork, first filed in 2004, carries over. “I filed that paperwork and I’m raising money,” he said. More here at Eye on Boise
Question: Should Gov. Butch Otter run for a second term? Why or why not?
Here’s a link to my full story in today’s paper on what’s up in Idaho’s 2010 gubernatorial race, from the half-dozen lesser-known candidates already out stumping to the lack of any campaign launch yet from either incumbent Gov. Butch Otter or a major Democratic challenger. Otter told Eye on Boise, “I’m not gonna lock myself down to a deadline,” but he also pointed out that 105 legislators, three of the four seats in the state’s congressional delegation and all statewide offices also are up in 2010, and to his knowledge, out of all those, only state Controller Donna Jones has so far announced her re-election bid. “There’s six of the seven constitutional officers haven’t announced, Crapo hasn’t announced, Simpson, Minnick, so why the rush for me?” Otter asked. “Frankly, I think the more intense and the shorter these campaigns, the better it is for everybody, certainly the better it is for the constituency, because you kinda condense everything into a shorter period of time. Not to mention the cost to candidates themselves.”
Longtime Idaho political observer Jim Weatherby, a political scientist emeritus at Boise State University, said it’s not unduly late for an incumbent governor to announce his intentions - former Gov. Phil Batt made his announcement the September of the year prior to the election. But it is getting late for a major-party challenger to step forward. “They should be raising money,” Weatherby said. Yesterday, the Idaho Democratic Party launched a candidate recruitment committee, headed by Betty Richardson and aimed at all top races but especially the governor’s race. “Well, you know, I applaud them,” Otter said in response. But, he added, “It would be unfortunate if they had to talk somebody into doing it, because these things are tough enough when you do it and you’ve got fire in your belly.”
Said Otter, “I’ll tell you we’ve got a committee that is working on candidate recruitment as well - not for the office of governor, I can assure you - but candidate recruitment where we think we can marshal our resources and make a difference.” Doesn’t that little aside of his there sound like a hint? Sounds like Otter’s running.
The six lesser-known candidates who already are out campaigning have filed their preliminary paperwork with the state to become candidates and begin raising campaign money. Otter’s paperwork, first filed in 2004, carries over. “I filed that paperwork and I’m raising money,” he said.