Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, says Idaho needs to be taking stock of what it already has as far as technology in its schools, in order to sensibly plan for additions. “A majority of legislators agree that we need our public K-12 schools and all of our schools to keep up with technology,” said Keough, a 9th term senator and vice-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “I think that we need to be prudent in properly planning that buildout, however.” Her comments came after she learned yesterday that the State Department of Education is planning to award a 15-year contract for WiFi service in Idaho’s high schools – but the state doesn’t know how many schools already have it/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Izzit just me — or has Idaho done a poor job of actually taking stock of school tech capabilities now, before plunging ahead with wifi contracts and imposition of failed Luna Laws?
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, says Idaho needs to be taking stock of what it already has as far as technology in its schools, in order to sensibly plan for additions. “A majority of legislators agree that we need our public K-12 schools and all of our schools to keep up with technology,” said Keough, a 9th term senator and vice-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “I think that we need to be prudent in properly planning that buildout, however.” Her comments came after she learned yesterday that the State Department of Education is planning to award a 15-year contract for WiFi service in Idaho’s high schools – but the state doesn’t know how many schools already have it.
“I have advocated in the past two years that we need to be mapping what it is we have and making sure that we have a systematic plan for our buildout,” Keough said, “and I thought we were headed down that path, but it doesn’t sound as though we’re there yet.”
She added, “I’m concerned about going ahead with something that isn’t authorized by the Legislature budget-wise. There’s no money past next year. And it might be disruptive if we do not fund it, and the equipment may get pulled out, and that’s disruptive to the district.”
Sen. Bob Nonini's florid style makes his turn in floor debates must-listen moments for reporters. But when Nonini confessed last week that he regretted spending thousands in last spring's primary to defeat a fellow Republican, all eyes were on the Coeur d'Alene lawmaker. Nonini's mea culpa was directed at the Senate floor sponsor of Gov. Butch Otter's bill on a state-run health insurance exchange, Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier. “I have really grown to respect the senator from (District) 32 and will publicly say embarrassed by my actions last May in something that you're probably all aware of,” Nonini said. “He's quite the gentleman.” Yes, his colleagues are well aware. They're also surprised that the Senate freshman, who served eight years in the House, waited until the waning days of the session to fess up. And they remain puzzled that he didn't tip his hat to the other five Republicans he tried to unseat/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
- Also: What doesn't Nonini understand?/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles
Question: Do you think Nonini's apology on the Senate floor, in the waning days of the Legislature, was sincere?
On my Facebook wall, state Sen. Shawn Keough commented re: Gov. Butch Otter's “Capital for a Day” program, which visited Nordman in the Priest Lake area Wednesday:
The over 200 Idahoans present at Nordman today appreciated that the Governor and several directors of state agencies as well as 2 other Land Board members took the time to spend with them. There was either and agency director or regional director from almost every state agency there. The attendees had questions throughout the entire day - from roughly 8:15 a.m until 2:00 p.m. Boise is @ 500 miles away from Nordman, and from my seat it looked like people there were glad they had a chance to talk to their elected officials and to heads of or regional directors of state agencies face to face. A rare opportunity for us and many that live here. Too rare in my view. Kudos to the Governor for his effort!
Question: Are you a fan of the “Capital for a Day” program?
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, is accustomed to seeing moose, turkey, deer and bears while working at her “day job”: executive director for the Associated Logging Contractors. The association’s office is at Mica Flats, south of Coeur d’Alene. Shawn tells Huckleberries: “It is not unusual to see all types of wildlife wander through – at a distance.” That’s why Shawn and other hired hands were surprised to see a black bear cub on the back porch eating cat food Tuesday. The cat grub was intended for a now-grown litter of kittens that the staff adopted after someone dumped them along Highway 95 a few years ago. The commotion in the office as well as the clicks of cameras and cellphones drove little Yogi back into the woods last week. The cub seems to have moved on, much to the relief of the state senator and her staff, which didn’t want to see a Mama Bear up close, too/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.
Question: Has a wild animal ever entered your home — not counting human types?
Avista Corp. is spending thousands of dollars trying to unseat two longtime North Idaho legislators, throwing its support behind tea party-backed challengers in next week’s Republican primary. Being targeted is state Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, who supported unsuccessful efforts to establish a consumer advocate to review utility rate requests, and state Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, who advocates greater diversity in Idaho’s energy supply. Avista opposed both proposals. Campaign finance reports filed with the Idaho Secretary of State show Avista has given each incumbent’s challenger $1,000 and has given $15,000 to three political action committees that are funneling money back to the challengers, Danielle Ahrens and Pam Stout. The PACS are also sponsoring independent mailers and advertisements critical of Keough and Eskridge/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Do you think Avista should be in the business of trying to defeat state Sen. Shawn Keough and state Rep. George Eskridge in favor of Tea Party candidates?
Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, is targeting two fellow North Idaho GOP lawmakers for defeat, campaign finance reports filed today reveal. Nonini's PAC, the Idaho Association for Good Government, donated $1,000 each to the campaigns of Danielle Ahrens, tea party adherent and the GOP primary challenger to Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Pam Stout, the GOP primary challenger to Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, who also is head of the Sandpoint Tea Party Patriots. Nonini's PAC also donated $8,000 to the “Free Enterprise PAC,” which then sent out fliers in North Idaho targeting Keough, vice-chairwoman of the Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, as “the No. 1 big spender in Boise” and touting Ahrens as “an actual Republican”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. You can see the campaign finance statement filed by Nonini's PAC here.
- Also: 'GunPAC' taps House leadership $$$ to target gun shop owneer, vets' advocate & House leader/Betsy Russell, SR
Senate Bill 1387, the Idaho ultrasound bill, passed 23-12. Likely result: Passage in the House by a larger margin a few days from now, and signature by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter some days after that. And this likely will be the piece of legislation for which this session is most remembered. Don’t be surprised if a number of legislative campaigns center around it. Of the debates, the strongest may have been that of Senator Shawn Keough (pictured), R-Sandpoint, who is apt to be in the political whirlwind surrounding this – “my primary opponent has made it her number one issue”/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press. More here.
Question: Would you vote against an exceptional incumbent like Shawn Keough, if she voted contrary to your wishes on a pet issue of yours?
The Republican nomination for the regional legislative seats will be hard-won this year. Conservative activists Pam Stout and Danielle Ahrens have announced their intention to pursue the GOP nomination for seats currently held by Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, and Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint. “Neither one of us is a slick Boise politician,” Ahrens said. “We know what it’s like to balance a checkbook.” After her inclusion in a New York Times feature story and an appearance on “Late Night With David Letterman” in 2010, Pam Stout became something of a national Tea Party icon. Her county job heading the Bonner County Property Rights Council further bolstered her conservative credentials. Now Stout aims to take her views to Boise as a District 1 representative/Cameron Rasmussen, Bonner County Bee. More here. (SR file photo: Pam Stout, shown during a tea party rally in 2009, now heads the Bonner County Property Rights Council)
Question: Do you think either Shawn Keough or George Eskridge are a “slick Boise politician”?
… That all three incumbents of the Legislative District 1 will face challengers in the state GOP primaries this spring. Dr. Lorna Finman is sponsoring a reception for two of them from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday in the Grove Hotel Hospitality Room in Boise. The two are Pam Stout, leader of the North Idaho Tea Party movement and the Bonner County Property Rights Council, who will be running against state Rep. George Eskridge, and Danielle Ahrens, who will challenge long-time state Sen. Shawn Keough. Also, Donna Capruso already has circulated an email announcing her intention to run against state Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest River. You can see Finman's flyer for Saturday's event here. (SR file photo: Pam Stout is shown during a tea party rally in 2009)
Question: Are Keough, Eskridge, and Anderson vulnerable from a challenge from the Far Right?
With the ink barely dry on Idaho's redistricting maps, one senator has announced she's leaving following the 2012 session: Joyce Broadsword of Sagle. The four-term Republican was pushed into a district where Broadsword would have faced Republican Sen. Shawn Keough in next May's primary if she'd campaigned again. Broadsword resignation clears the way for Keough to run without opposition from a GOP incumbent. Broadsword had represented voters in District 2, covering Bonner, Kootenai, Benewah and Shoshone counties. With the 2011 redistricting maps that were drawn last Friday, however, Broadsword's home now falls into District 1, reflecting population changes on Idaho's northern panhandle/AP. More here.
Odds are heavily against it happening soon. Stars would plausibly all have to align perfectly to create a first ever in Idaho politics–the election of a woman as governor. Looking around the northwest, though, one quickly realizes odds are growing that a qualified female will someday lead even Idaho. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana and Utah are neighboring northwest states that have had female chief executives. In Idaho, each party possesses at least one talented, intelligent, articulate, qualified female who, while they might have to be “drafted,” could plausibly run for and win the nomination of their party to be governor, as soon as 2014. On the Republican side the nominee could be veteran Sandpoint State Senator Shawn Keough. On the Democratic side the nominee could be freshman State Senator Michelle Stennett, from Ketchum/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Chronicles. More here.
Other Idaho columns:
- Mortgage reform essential to recovery/SR
- Gone but not forgotten/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press
- We get a breather, let's put it to good use/Statesman
Question: Would state Sen. Shawn Keough make a good governor?
Item: Bonner County GOP CC debates no confidence vote vs. Keough, Broadsword/Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee
More Info: Keough countered that while it wasn’t her or Broadsword’s intent to put Kootenai County Republican incumbents against each other, tough choices will need to be made. “We are in the reddest of the red states,” she said. “No matter how that map is drawn, there will be Republican incumbents against each other.” She also defended the choice to issue a press release, saying that other legislators have expressed opinions through columns and other media expressions. Keough said the press release was an efficient way to communicate the work she and Broadsword had been doing.
Question: How badly has this new confidence vote politically hurt Sens. Keough and Broadsword?
Saying their actions were detrimental to the party, the Region 1 Republican Central Committee approved a “no confidence” vote last week against Sens. Shawn Keough of Sandpoint (left) and Joyce Broadsword (right) of Sagle. “As elected state officials, your actions have demonstrated that you do not understand, care about, or are acting in a manner that is consistent in the best interests of your constituents,” Region 1 RCC Chairman John Cross said in the letter of censure. “Instead, (you) have used your political positions to further personal agendas and promote the best interests of the opposing political party in direct opposition to the Republican ideals we hold dearly.” The region encompasses the five northern counties - Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone. While it has no legal effect, the vote sends the message that party officials are unhappy with the pair's actions/Caroline Lobsinger, Hagadone News Network. More here.
- You can read the letter sent to Sen. Keough here.
- You can read minutes of Feb. 5, 2011, meeting in which a letter in support of Rep Hart will be sent to House Speaker Lawerence Denney here.
Question: Can you believe that Region 1 Republicans would castigate Sens. Shawn Keough & Joyce Broadsword while sending a letter of support to House Speaker Lawerence Denney for Rep. Phil Hart?
North Idaho Sens. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint (left), and Joyce Broadsword (right), R-Sagle, have submitted a proposed redistricting plan for North Idaho that they say addresses concerns they've heard from their constituents, particularly about the current oddly-shaped District 2; you can see the plan here. Addressing only the North Idaho Panhandle, it does away with the backward-C-shaped District 2 in favor of a more compact District 2 that combines southern Bonner County with northern Kootenai County, including the Athol area. A new District 3 would take in the Post Falls area, and a new District 4 the Coeur d'Alene area. a new District 5 would include all of Benewah and Shoshone counties, the southern portion of Kootenai County including the Coeur d'Alene Reservation, and most of Latah County except for the Moscow area/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: The redistricting plan offered by Sens. Shawn Keough & Joyce Broadsword makes sense. Does it have a chance?
Among the revelations from the hearings so far: North Idaho's District 2 is likely to be completely realigned, and that could mean that District 2 Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, right, ends up in District 1 - along with District 1 Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, left. Even Broadsword told the commission the district has to change. “It isn't about seated legislators. It's about what's best for the citizens who live in those districts, what's easiest for them to be able to get to the polls and participate in the system,” she said at the hearing in Sandpoint. “That's just the reality,” Frasure said. “I think all of us are committed to do the right thing. … She testified against her own legislative district”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Question: Which two incumbent GOP legislators from North Idaho would you like to see forced to run against each other in a primary race? Why?
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint (re: Luna seeks a few good techies): I believe this is the task force that is set out in SB 1184 with a membership list in the bill which is now law. What is interesting, if I understand this post correctly, is that applications & nominations are being accepted which is a different approach than asking each of the groups delinated in that list to pick the people that will represent them. For example, wouldn’t the School Board Association decide amongst themselves who will sit on the Task Force? Does this announcement mean that if you are a member of the School Board Association you can submit your application directly to the Supt. who will choose the person to sit on the Task Force? Again, if this is the Task Force set out in the bill, it also has a prescribed list of duties too. See page 21 beginning on line 8.
Steve Vick, the ultraconservative freshman state senator from District 3 was one of four Idaho senators statewide who scored a perfect 100% on Adam Graham's annual conservative scorecard. Vick voted as Adam deemed appropriate on 16 different issues during the Idaho Legislature. John Goedde of Coeur d'Alene and Jim Hammond of Post Falls agreed agreed with Adam 14 of 16 times to score 88% in the annual ratings for North Idaho senators. Bringing up the rear were Shawn Keough of Sandpoint, 63%, and Joyce Broadsword of Sagle, 40%. You can see all the rankings here.
Question: Are you surprised by any of the conservative rankings of the 5 North Idaho senators?
Item: GOP Schism Plays Out on Internet in Northern Idaho/John Miller, Associated Press
More Info: This “smells of a witch hunt,” wrote Larry Spencer, a Kootenai County Republican who supports Hart, according to text of the discussion group provided by Spencer. Sen. Shawn Keough, a Sandpoint GOP member, wrote to support Anderson’s bid “to investigate Rep. Hart’s theft of logs from state lands” and his “use of legislative immunity during the legislative session to avoid legal filings and hearings.” The online Yahoo meeting may last until Monday, as 31 precinct members in Idaho’s 1st Legislative District fight over whether to pen a letter supporting Hart or Anderson in the ethics proceedings.
Question: Will District 1 support Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest River, of Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol?
- Monday Poll: A plurality of 49 of 115 respondents (42.6%) said that Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, the Senate Education Committee chairman, is the most powerful North Idaho state senator. 37 of 115 respondents (32.2%) felt the honors should go to Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, JFAC vice chairman. Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, finished third w/15 of 115 votes (13%) Senator-elect Steve Vick, R-Hayden, got 11 votes (9.6%), and Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, got 3 votes (2.6%)
- Today’s Poll: Which incumbent state representative in North Idaho is most powerful?
Just got a call from Jeff Ward of the state Republican Party who wants to remind Hucks Nation that the GOP bus tour with top elected Republican officials will be making several stops in Kootenai County today, touching down in Spirit Lake City Park. Other stops include Golden Spike Estates in Rathdrum, the American Legion Hall in Athol, Super 1 in Hayden, Idaho Veneer in Post Falls, Kootenai County Republican Headquarters and North Idaho Victory Center in Coeur d’Alene. I joked with him that they need to be careful not to be mistaken for the Westboro Baptist Church crew today because Coeur d’Alene area residents are pretty jumpy when it comes to strangers from other states today — and everyone knows that most elected officials in this state live and work in the Kingdom of Ada. Press release here.
- Photo: State Sen. Shawn Keough tweeted the photo above. She said she’s on the bus. But I don’t know where the photo was taken. I just sent her a message to discover the bus’s whereabout.
As the governor’s transportation funding task force opened its meeting this morning, one member, Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, took the opportunity to formally disclose a possible conflict of interest. She both made a statement and submitted a written notice, noting, “My private sector employer is the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho. My employer may be impacted by the work of this committee. I want to formally and publicly disclose this potential conflict of interest and uphold the state Senate rules and my oath of office”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
- Task force worries about impact of truckers/Eye On Boise
- Idaho claiming subsidy under law it’s challenging/Eye On Boise
- E. coli found in water at Idaho prison/Eye On Boise
- Agency says Otter will ask Obama for OK on wolf hunts/Idaho Reporter
Question: Should more political figures in local and state offices declare conflicts of interest?
As the governor’s transportation funding task force opened its meeting this morning, one member, Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, took the opportunity to formally disclose a possible conflict of interest. She both made a statement and submitted a written notice, noting, “My private sector employer is the Associated Logging Contractors of Idaho. My employer may be impacted by the work of this committee. I want to formally and publicly disclose this potential conflict of interest and uphold the state Senate rules and my oath of office.”
Lt. Gov. Brad Little, the task force chairman, responded, “We appreciate that, senator - we appreciate all transparency in the governmental process, and that will be duly noted.” Asked about the conflict disclosure during a break in the task force meeting, Keough said, “I’ve always been up-front about mine and mine are on the record.”
Item: Montana moves grizzly from Whitefish Mountain Range to Cabinets near Troy/Jim Mann, Daily Inter Lake
Idaho Sen. Shawn Keough (via Facebook): This is pretty close to us considering the range of grizzly bears. I guess we should be happy this particular bear doesn’t have any bad history of interaction with humans - yet. Spar Lake is featured on several different recreational web sites as a great place to go. Hope they add a note about grizzly bears in the area. And I hope it stays near Spar Lake.
Question: Do you want western Bonner County to become grizzly habitat by default, through the actions of the Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks?
Three North Idaho lawmakers who joined Gov. Butch Otter for a press conference today on state revenues also expressed concerns about the GOP platform loyalty oath, as did the governor. Sen. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle, said, “I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of Idaho and the Constitution of the United States. My loyalty is to the people that elected me, and I have no desire to sign anything for anyone.” Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said she wasn’t at the convention and hasn’t had a chance to study the new platform. “It’s still not cl’ear to me just exactly what’s in there,” she said/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here
Question: Do you want to know how your three district representatives stand on the Idaho Republicans’ loyalty oath?
The 5 North Idaho incumbent state senators have raised tens of thousands of dollars in their bids to capture the GOP nomination and win re-election:
- Shawn Keough/District 1 has raised $30,121 total, spent $5242, and has $24,879, in her primary race with Steve Tanner, who reports raising or spending anything. Keough report.
- Joyce Broadsword/District 2 has raised $25,620 (report here) in her 3-way race w/Dennis Englehardt, who has raised $11,367 (report here) and James Stivers, who has raised $3,766 (report here)
- Mike Jorgenson/District 3 has loaned himself most of the $25,661 he has for his campaign (report here) with Steve Vick, who has raised a total of $7,596 (report here).
- John Goedde/District 4 has $12,098 (report here) in his 3-way race w/Independent Jeremy Boggess, who has raised $376 (report here), and Constitutionalist Raymond I. Writz, who has raised $210 (report here).
- Jim Hammond/District 5 has raised $43,945 total (report here) in his 3-way GOPrimary race against John Green, who has raised $1,500 (report here), and Jack Schroeder, who has raised anything but has spent $2,958 (report here).
(Steve) Tanner, of Boundary County, is running for the District 1 legislative seat of Republican incumbent Sen. Shawn Keough (pictured) in this month’s primaries. He was among local and state candidates who met the public at Sandpoint High School Thursday during a forum in the school auditorium. Tanner, who works in the logging and construction industry, said if elected he would do away with the prison system, installing instead a system of capital punishment. “We need to hold people accountable for their actions,” Tanner said. “There is no reason for jails except to hold people until trial.” The public school system is broken, he said, overfunded and misguided. “We need to cut the budget by 80 percent,” he said. “Our education system is an incubator for socialism”/Ralph Bartholdt, Bonner County Bee. More here.
Question: Do you see any problems w/Steve Tanner’s utopia?
Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, noted that the Legislature has “been very generous when we’ve had the money to be proactive on milfoil, and with the leadership of Rep. Anderson and others, made some great strides.” But now, she said, “Obviously, in our economic downturn we’re at a crisis point, and we have quagga mussels looming 100 miles from our border, so there’s a grave concern.” She asked state Ag Director Celia Gould if she’s “identified other funding sources that could help us with this threat?” Gould responded, “We just haven’t found that money tree for quagga mussels”/Betsy Russell, SR Eye On Boise. More here.