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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Sens. Malepeai, Bilyeu, Rep. Bilbao all decide not to seek re-election

Senate Minority Leader Edgar Malepeai, D-Pocatello, has announced that he won't run for re-election; so have Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, and Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett.

Malepeai, a five-term lawmaker, said of his "difficult decision," "I have cherished my time in the Idaho Senate serving the people of Bannock County and fighting for all Idahoans who value education, our unique quality of life and the importance of minority representation in Idaho." But he said he was "deeply disappointed" in the passage of last year's "Students Come First" school reform laws, and saddened that the Senate State Affairs Committee this year refused to introduce his legislation to expand the Idaho Human Rights Act to cover job or housing discrimination against gay people. "I wanted very much to allow my fellow Idahoans who experience discrimination simply for being themselves to have a chance to bring their stories into this building so that others might understand the overwhelming need to extend the basic protections too many of us take for granted," Malepeai said. You can read his full announcement here.

Bilyeu, who's completing a third consecutive Senate term after earlier serving a term in the Senate from 1968 to 1970, is a former president of the State Board of Education; prior to her current three terms, her late husband, Chick, held the Senate seat for 24 years. You can read her full announcement here.

Bilbao is a fourth-term lawmaker and vice-chairman of the House Health & Welfare Committee; he is a retired senior quality manager for Boeing. He said in an email that the large size of his new district, District 8, was a factor in his decision to retire from the Legislature; that new legislative district contains four House incumbents, including Bilbao and Reps. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, and Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, who are seeking re-election; and Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, who's running for the Senate.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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