Wed., Dec. 1, 2010
House Dems pick their leaders: Rusche, Higgins, Cronin
All four caucuses of the Legislature - both houses and both parties - are meeting behind closed doors tonight to select their leadership for the upcoming session. First to report results is the House minority caucus, in which Minority Leader John Rusche, who was unopposed, was re-elected; Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, was voted assistant minority leader, defeating Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, for the position that opened up when former Assistant Minority Leader James Ruchti of Pocatello decided not to run for re-election; and Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, was chosen as caucus chair, defeating Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise; former Caucus Chair Bill Killen, D-Boise, opted to step aside.
Rusche said his caucus is "anticipating a difficult session," but is pledging to point out the consequences of decisions pushed through by the majority, which outnumbers the minority Democrats in the House 57-13. "That's one of our jobs as minority - loyal opposition," Rusche said. "The other thing is we think it's still vitally important to focus on what we can do to increase jobs. The Republicans have been really in control for quite a while, and I have yet to see very much in the way of real progress in jobs development. ... Protecting jobs and promoting jobs has got to be one of the top concerns of the Legislature."