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Former Rep. Frank Henderson dies at age 92

Former Idaho state Rep. Frank Henderson died yesterday at the age of 92, after a long life of public service that included serving as a Kootenai County commissioner, mayor of Post Falls, a World War II Army veteran, an international consultant on public administration and economic development in eastern Europe, 10 years in the Idaho Legislature and more. He was a retired marketing executive and newspaper publisher whose wife, Betty Ann, serves on the Post Falls City Council.

In 2012, Henderson was named chairman of the House Business Committee a day after he celebrated in his 90th birthday; a year earlier, he’d given up his coveted seat on the joint budget committee after five years to focus his legislative work more on economic development. He sponsored key legislation that year to help Idaho aircraft parts businesses that has now led to major expansions in employment by some of those firms in the state.

After celebrating his 90th birthday during the Legislature’s December 2012 organizational session, Henderson said, “My parents said they gave me some durable genes, and that’s what it takes.” At the time, people who didn’t know him guessed he was in his 60s; that year, he picked up the nickname “Energizer Bunny” from fellow lawmakers impressed with his prodigious work ethic and stamina; he was the oldest member of the Legislature.

Henderson died late Monday night at Hospice of North Idaho's Hospice House in Coeur d'Alene, with family and close friends at his side. Tom Henderson, Frank’s son who lives in Liberty Lake, said his father’s final comments were about his gratitude for having been able to meet and work with so many great people in Idaho. “He was overwhelmed to the point of almost not understanding why there was always such a nice outpouring of support for him,” Tom Henderson said. “A very humble man, right to the end, but very grateful for his opportunities to serve.”

Former Idaho Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, considered Henderson his mentor; he first met him when Hammond was a school principal at Seltice Elementary in Post Falls, and Henderson was the publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Henderson encouraged Hammond to get involved in public life, starting with a run for the Post Falls City Council.

“He saw more in me than I saw in myself,” Hammond said. “I dearly loved that man. Of course that’s why I consented to run for the City Council; he kept asking me to run and I kept saying no. And then when I finally said yes, it was only because I didn’t think I’d get elected. … He just thought I had something to contribute to the community.” Hammond went on to be mayor of Post Falls, and a senator who chaired the Senate Transportation Committee; he’s now the city administrator for the City of Coeur d’Alene.

Hammond said Henderson was “into all kinds of gadgets, he loved gadgets,” from ham radios to remote-controlled airplanes he built himself to state-of-the-art GPS. “He was never without something to do,” Hammond said.

He recalled having lunch with Henderson, who had cancer, just a month ago; Henderson talked about an effort he was working on with Bob Potter, who also has cancer, on new strategies to entice businesses to North Idaho. “They were both working on strategies to improve North Idaho,” Hammond said. Boise State Public Radio has posted its 2012 interview with Henderson online here; the Idaho Statesman's 2014 profile of Henderson is online here. Coeur d'Alene Press reporters offer their remembrances here.

Henderson is survived by his wife Betty Ann, four of his five children, and six grandchildren. Said his son Tom, "He was a good man."

Rep. Henderson joins former Sens. Hammond, Compton to form new ‘Job Creators PAC’

Idaho Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has joined with two retired senators from his district to form a new PAC that will interview legislative candidates and endorse and support those with the most skill at economic development. Henderson is joining former GOP Sens. Jim Hammond and Dick Compton in the new political action committee, which they’ve dubbed “Job Creators PAC.” The three are filling its coffers with their leftover campaign funds; Henderson, 91, is retiring after his current term in the House.

“Government does not create jobs, we enable jobs,” said Henderson. “We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we think we’ll be able to make a good assessment of the potential effectiveness of candidates.” In addition to the three former lawmakers, a dozen other District 3 residents have signed on to help with the effort. Henderson had more than $16,000 left in his campaign fund as of the last reporting period.

Henderson, Chambers Admit Snafu

When Idaho’s 2014 legislative session began in January, Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, was unable to fulfill his duties due to an injury. In his place, a fill-in representative was seated and fulfilled Henderson’s duties for the first few weeks of the session. Now, however, IdahoReporter.com has learned that the person chosen as Henderson’s substitute was not qualified to be sworn in to Henderson’s seat. John Chambers, who substituted for Henderson during the first few weeks of the session, does not live in Henderson’s legislative district. “It was a mistake, no question about it,” Henderson told Idaho Reporter.com. Chambers agrees with Henderson, saying his appointment while living outside the district “was a mistake, a horrible mistake”/Austin Hill, Idaho Reporter. More here. (Idaho Reporter photo)

Question: Some of you asked yesterday what this snafu means for the votes that John Chambers made while filling in for Rep. Henderson. Does anyone have an answer for that question?

Chambers Lives In Wrong District

The candidate Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, endorsed to succeed him in office next year has just discovered that his home is 180 feet outside of the legislative district in question – so he’s not running. “I’m disappointed, I’m embarrassed, I’m devastated by this,” said John Chambers, a semi-retired executive with Ground Force Manufacturing in Post Falls. He actually owns a home in Post Falls right near Henderson’s, but four years ago moved into his current place, which is just over the line into District 2. “Where he lives is 180 feet in the wrong direction,” Henderson said. “If he lived on the other side of the road, he’d be in my district. He doesn’t, so he’s in District 2”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (File photo: Duane Rasmussen)

DFO: I can think of two legislative seats in District 2 that Chambers could run for.

Question: What will this do re: race for Rep. Frank Henderson's House seat?

Rep. Henderson to retire after current term, endorses Chambers for his seat

Five-term Idaho Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, who is 91, announced today that he won’t seek a sixth term in the upcoming elections, and instead will endorse North Idaho businessman John Chambers, 59, a semi-retired executive at Ground Force Manufacturing, to succeed him in office. Chambers filled in as a substitute for Henderson for the first few weeks of this year’s legislative session after Henderson broke his hip during a vacation mishap in Hawaii.

Henderson is a former Kootenai County commissioner and mayor of Post Falls who’s had a long career in public service; he's also a retired marketing executive and newspaper publisher and a World War II Army veteran. Henderson’s wife, Betty Ann, serves on the Post Falls City Council.

In 2012, Henderson was named chairman of the House Business Committee a day after he celebrated in his 90th birthday; a year earlier, he’d given up his coveted seat on the joint budget committee after five years to focus his legislative work more on economic development. He sponsored key legislation that year to help Idaho aircraft parts businesses that has now led to major expansions in employment by some of those firms in the state.

After celebrating his 90th birthday during the Legislature’s December 2012 organizational session, Henderson said, “My parents said they gave me some durable genes, and that’s what it takes.” He is Idaho's oldest state lawmaker.

Sen. Nonini, Rep. Henderson name subs for session’s opening days

When the Idaho Legislature convenes on Monday, it’ll have two unaccustomed faces in its midst: Two North Idaho legislators have designated substitutes to fill in for them for the first week or two of the session due to health concerns. Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, has designated his wife, Cathyanne Nonini, to substitute for him through Jan. 15; and Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has designated North Idaho businessman John Chambers, a semi-retired executive at Ground Force Manufacturing, to fill in for him for up to two weeks.

Nonini has been recuperating from a serious infection. “He’s planning on coming back around the 15th,” said Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill.

Henderson broke his hip during a recent vacation mishap in Hawaii and hoped to be recovered enough to make the session’s first day, but decided he needed a little more time. “It turns out I recovered so fast, one week would’ve been plenty,” he said Thursday. “Right now, I’m doing great.”

Henderson, 91, is a fifth-term state representative, and is also a former Kootenai County commissioner and mayor of Post Falls. Nonini, 59, is a first-term senator who previously served four terms in the House, including a stint as House Education Committee chairman.

Henderson breaks hip on Hawaii vacation, but expects to start legislative session on time

Idaho Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, broke a hip while vacationing in Hawaii this week, but he says he’ll be up and going in time for the start of the legislative session on Jan. 6. “Oh, absolutely – I won’t miss it,” Henderson said from the hospital on the island of Kauai, where he’s awaiting surgery. “What I’ve got is a minor fracture of my right hip. … The surgeon this morning said about five days after the surgery, you’ll be able to walk.”

Henderson, who celebrated his 91st birthday last Friday, said, “I was in a condo I wasn’t familiar with, walking around in the middle of the night. I tripped on a chair leg and fell.” He added, “I should’ve turned the lights on.”

Henderson and his wife, Betty Ann, were vacationing on Kauai for a week and had planned to return Sunday, but now they’ve extended their stay until the middle of next week. “We’re here with friends, and they’ve got a car,” Henderson said. “This is a great place, really picturesque.” So far during the vacation, he said, the friends have enjoyed a cruise halfway around the island on which they saw whales and dolphins, and visits to several state parks; he said he’s particularly appreciated the tropical flowers and jungle greenery. “Yesterday it was 82 degrees,” he said.

Henderson is a fifth-term state representative, and is also a former Kootenai County commissioner and mayor of Post Falls.

 

Attempted Censure Suffers Pratfall

It turns out the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee doesn't have the authority to censure four North Idaho legislators for voting against their wishes. "Sorry I don't have room for discussion on this," said Chairman Neil Oliver. "I find the motion is out of order." The central committee spent about an hour Tuesday night wrangling over whether or not to censure four North Idaho legislators for creating a state health-care exchange, only to be stopped dead in its tracks when Committeeman Luke Sommer, an expert in parliamentary procedure, pointed out that the committee could not censure anyone outside the committee itself. "If we can censure someone outside this body we could censure the president of the United States," he said, adding there is nothing in the committee's bylaws or Robert's Rules of Order that would allow the move. Committeewoman Tina Jacobson (pictured) passionately put forward the resolution to censure Rep. Frank Henderson, Rep. Luke Malek, Sen. John Goedde and Rep. Ed Morse/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you surprised by the outcome?

Local GOP May Censure 4 Solons

Several Republican state legislators representing Kootenai County districts could receive a public reprimand next week from members of their own political party. When the county's Republican central committee meets on Tuesday, its elected precinct committeemen will consider a resolution that would formally censure Rep. Frank Henderson, Rep. Luke Malek (pictured), Rep. Ed Morse and Sen. John Goedde, because they voted, during the last legislative session, in favor of the creation of a state insurance exchange. "I'm confused as to why they would censure those of us who advocated for and voted for state control," Malek, of Coeur d'Alene, said Friday to The Press. "If you didn't, you were advocating for a federal exchange, which would be far more harmful to Idaho." … The Idaho House of Representatives passed the bill to create the exchange in March, by a vote of 41 to 29/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo)

Question: Izzit just me or does this censure attempt, coming months after the end of the 2013 Legislature, seem silly to you, too? What is the end game of those behind this attempt?

State Health Exchange Work Begins

Idaho’s new state-based health insurance exchange board gathered for its first meeting today, and each of its 19 members had already received a somewhat surprising welcome – an anonymous call threatening a lawsuit. “I got a call from a guy who did not want to identify what firm he worked for,” said Stephen Weeg, the board’s interim chairman. “He just wanted to give us all a notice that within three months’ time we would all be sued for being on this board – I think he called everybody on this board, just to let us know that we were already in trouble.” Weeg said his first reaction was, “Wait a minute – we’re just doing what the law requires”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.

Question: Are you ready for the state health exchange?

Sims Miffed Henderson Bill Now Law

Generating more jobs in Idaho might get a little easier now that the Legislature passed House Bill 100, and the governor signed it into law last week. "It is designed to create jobs, and we do need more jobs in Idaho," said Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, who sponsored the legislation. "This helps us be a little more competitive with our neighboring states when we are recruiting jobs." But not everyone agrees that the state should be spending $3 million, which was appropriated to the fund, on job creation. Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, voted against the bill along with Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Post Falls, and Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Post Falls. She said she has little faith in government creating good jobs. "We don't have an extra $3 million in this budget," Sims said. "This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever"/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: Notice the byline on that Coeur d'Alene Press story?

Question: Do you think government has a role to play in job creation?

Rep. Henderson going strong, excited to lead as new committee chair

Idaho state Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, who was appointed chairman of the House Business Committee a day after he celebrated his 90th birthday, is excited about his new role. “The composition of the whole committee includes a number of experienced legislators, so I think if I can give it effective leadership, that it’s going to be a very productive committee,” Henderson said. He said he’ll be bringing proposals to help boost existing Idaho companies, including possible new investment tax credits. “We’ll be looking for new ideas,” Henderson said. You can read my full Sunday column here.

When the House, near the close of its organizational session last week, took note of Henderson's birthday and offered to sing "Happy Birthday" to him, he wasn't there. That's because he was over at the state Department of Commerce, meeting on economic development initiatives.

Becoming a committee chair "was not a burning ambition with me," Henderson said, but he said he wasn't surprised by the appointment; he was in line for the post, as the vice-chair of the panel. "I'm pleased to be there," he said. "It's going to satisfy a legislative ambition," he said, "to help the Idaho economy grow and diversify, from when we were just agriculture, timber and mining."

Lawmaker marks 90th birthday; says parents gave him ‘some durable genes’

Idaho's oldest lawmaker turned 90 today; Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, is spending his birthday participating in the Legislature's organizational session and working on economic development issues. "It's spectacular," Henderson said. "Sixth of December, 1922. My parents said they gave me some durable genes, and that's what it takes."

Asked if there's anything else he'd rather spend his 90th birthday doing, Henderson said he does like to travel. But, he said, "This is an important part of my life." Henderson said he'll travel later. StateImpact Idaho has an radio interview with Henderson on NPR today; you can listen here.

Schroeder To Take On Henderson

The dance card is filling for the Legislative District 3, with Jack Schroeder of Post Falls, tossing his hat into the GOPrimary HD3B race against incumbent Republican Frank Henderson of Post Falls. Earlier today, Ron Mendive of Coeur d'Alene joined Red Meckel of Rathdrum and Jeff Tyler of Coeur d'Alene in the HD3A GOPrimary race. There are no Democrats in either race. State Rep. Bob Nonini, R-CdA, is currently running unopposed for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls.

3 CColleges Oppose Henderson Bill

Update: House committee kills bill to change community college boards/Betsy Russell, EOB

HB 411, a proposal from Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, to expand the boards of all three of Idaho's community colleges from five to seven members and impose specific residency requirements on the two new members is drawing strong opposition this morning from all three of the colleges, North Idaho College, the College of Southern Idaho and the College of Western Idaho. … NIC trustee and former State Board of Education President Judy Meyer (pictured) told the lawmakers on behalf of the NIC board, “We are unanimously opposed to HB 411. We believe there is no need for this legislation.” Regional representation has never been an issue the three times she's run for the NIC board, Meyer said. “Five members is a good working number. … There's no need to grow government in these lean times”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support this bill?

At 89, Rep. Henderson Going Strong

Idaho Rep. Frank Henderson, who at 89 is the oldest member of the Idaho Legislature, is pushing legislation this year he says will directly create dozens of jobs statewide; on Wednesday, his bill unanimously passed the House. Henderson meant it a year ago when he decided to give up his coveted seat on the Legislature’s budget committee to focus more on economic development. “I want to find ways to help our existing industries – help them expand into the domestic markets, help them expand into new markets, so they can retain their present workforce and hopefully expand it, so we can get more money into the local economies,” he said then/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Are you as amazed as I am that state Rep. Frank Henderson is still going strong at 89, pushing economic development in the Idaho Legislature?

Legislature’s ‘Energizer bunny’ pushes economic development

Rep. Frank Henderson meant it a year ago when he decided to give up his coveted seat on the Legislature's budget committee to focus more on economic development. The Post Falls Republican sponsored legislation that passed the House unanimously yesterday that he says will directly create dozens of jobs statewide; and he's  partnered with two other lawmakers from his Post Falls-area district to develop a snazzy 10-page full-color magazine, funded out of their own pockets, that they've mailed off to 300 targeted out-of-state businesses, trying to interest the firms in moving to North Idaho.

Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, calls Henderson "the Energizer bunny," and said he's not surprised that some guess Henderson's in his 60s. "He's got the energy of a 60-year-old, that's for sure," Nonini said. Henderson actually is Idaho's oldest lawmaker at 89; he'll turn 90 in December. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.

New College Trustee Bill Introduced

The House State Affairs Committee has introduced a new version of Rep. Frank Henderson's bill to require community college trustees to run by district, rather than at large. Henderson said the new version corrects an error, plus makes a series of mostly minor changes requested by the College of Western Idaho. One more substantive change: Deleting a new requirement for community college trustees to file campaign finance reports. Henderson noted that legislation already has been introduced in the Senate to make that requirement, and it's moving forward separately. Henderson wants to make sure outlying areas of counties, not just population centers, are represented on community college boards/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Should trustee candidates for community college boards be required to file campaign finance reports?

Twin Falls Paper ♥ Henderson Idea

When College of Southern Idaho Trustee LeRoy Craig was defeated for reelection last fall, Jerome County — one of two counties in the community college district — lost its only representative on the board. But legislation, co-sponsored by state Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Three Creek; Rep. Bert Stevensen, R-Rupert; Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, and two other House Republicans (including Frank Henderson), would change that. The bill, introduced on Thursday in the House State Affairs Committee, would require community college trustee elections to be held by subdistrict, rather than at-large as they are now. … It’s a good idea/Twin Falls Times-News Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Can this legislation be called the "Nilson-Ketchum Revenge Bill"?

Henderson Pushes CC Subdistrict Bill

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, proposed legislation today to require community college trustee elections to be done by district, rather than at-large - which would change the way elections now work for all three of Idaho's community colleges, North Idaho College, the College of Western Idaho and the College of Southern Idaho. “I can tell you frankly the trustees … at NIC do not favor this, but the issue is equitable representation,” Henderson said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Do you want to see the Board of Trustees from North Idaho College be elected from individual subdistricts or continue to run at large from the entire district?

Christie: Bullet Points Aren’t Discussion

Christie Wood (re: Frank: I did too contact NIC): Frank (Henderson) and I have a different defintion of what is a discussion. I made my post on Wed. during the day responding to the on-line story. John told the Board that night at the board meeting that he had been provided with some bullet points he would share with us. I am not sure who he got them from, but bullet points are not my idea of a conversation. It is a good starting point though. The media in southern Idaho had already done a story on his ideas before our board was aware of his proposal. I would have preferred Frank mentioned his ideas to us at the legislative reception we hosted for our local legislators in November. That was the perfect opportunity to tell us his thoughts and obtain feedback. Nevertheless we will study his proposal and provide him with our thoughts and input. I will be in Boise later this week and hope to run into him to discuss this further. (See: Henderson's bill would create trustee districts)

Question: Should Rep. Frank Henderson move ahead with his proposal to split college districts into subdistricts without a long conversation with the North Idaho College Board of Trustees?

Frank: I Did Too Contact NIC

Rep. Frank Henderson sent the following e-mail to Hucks Online re: a recent comment by Trustee Christie Wood here that he hadn't sought NIC input for a proposal to split community college districts into subdistricts: "Christie Wood's comment that I haven't contacted NIC reveals a breakdown in NIC internal communications.  I don't know the exact date but about two weeks ago after talking with NIC's paid lobbiest in the capitol on the subject, I sent John Martin an email message containing all the criteria under consideration for establishing Trustee Districts.  My message also told John the information could be shared with NIC trustees and others who would be interested.  I sent the same information to the College of Western Idaho and to the College of Southern Idaho. Since that time I have had frequent inputs from both the other colleges — but I haven't received anything from NIC/" More below.

Question: Should community college districts be split into subdistricts to ensure that rural areas have a chance to be represented by someone who lives nearby?

Christie: Frank Acting Without Input

NIC Trustee Christie Wood re: "Henderson wants to split community college districts"): This is not the first time Frank has attempted to create districts for CC trustees but it is the http://media.spokesman.com/photos/2011/01/19/woodweb_r60x60.jpgsecond time he has done it without discussing any of his ideas with the trustees in his district. He might have talked casually to one trustee about this, but he has made no formal presentation to the Board or asked for our ideas or input. I like the idea of trustees representing all of Kootenai County (as well as the other 4 northern counties that have students enrolled) rather than focus on the desires of the one district they would represent. All of us are available to answer concerns from citizens and receive comments.

Question: Why do you think Rep. Frank Henderson failed to get input from the North Idaho College Board of Trustees before moving ahead with this idea?

Henderson Gives Up JFAC Seat

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has decided to give up his coveted seat on the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee after five years to focus on economic development legislation in the coming session. “My background is economic development, it is business management,” said Henderson, a fourth-term lawmaker. In JFAC this year, with revenue so short, Henderson said, the task will be “to do more of what we did in the last two years - keep crunching it smaller and smaller. We so badly need new revenue. I want to find ways to help our existing industries/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Who do you consider to be the best legislator from District 5 — Sen. Jim Hammond, Rep. Frank Henderson, or Rep. Bob Nonini?

Henderson to leave JFAC to focus on economic development legislation

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has decided to give up his coveted seat on the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee after five years to focus on economic development legislation in the coming session. “My background is economic development, it is business management,” said Henderson, a fourth-term lawmaker. In JFAC this year, with revenue so short, Henderson said, the task will be “to do more of what we did in the last two years - keep crunching it smaller and smaller. We so badly need new revenue. I want to find ways to help our existing industries - help them expand into the domestic markets, help them expand into new markets, so they can retain their present workforce and hopefully expand it, so we can get more money into the local economies.”

Henderson isn’t thinking tax incentives. “I can’t think of any tax incentives that are needed,” he said. “But I think there are ways the resources of the Commerce Department can be used more intensely.” He offered an example: A firm moved to Post Falls that manufactures a special type of ultraviolet light that’s used in industry to dry paint very quickly, in order to speed production processes. He stopped in to ask them about the market for their product. The answer: “They have a huge market in the Far East, but they don’t have a good way to access it.” Henderson put the firm in touch with the international division at the state Commerce Department. “And within five weeks, they were shipping product to Taiwan,” he said. If Commerce were out contacting Idaho businesses, it could get those same results across the state, Henderson said. “I just think they can be more aggressive.”

Henderson said he’d like to stay on the House Business Committee, and would like to move from the local government committee to the transportation committee, since he’s handled the transportation budget on JFAC for the past five years. He’d also like to be on the House State Affairs Committee. But, he said, “I don’t care where they put me - I’m still going to do economic development.”