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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

‘Youngest lawmaker’ claim prompts history lesson

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― A news story on Sunday saying a candidate for the Legislature could become Idaho's youngest-ever lawmaker prompted a history lesson. If Nate Murphy of Pocatello is elected in District 29 in November, the 22-year-old would become a young lawmaker, just not the youngest. The Idaho secretary of state erroneously told The Associated Press the titleholder was former Rep. Branden Durst of Boise, just 26 when elected. But there are others who were more youthful. Former Sen. Jim Yost was 24 when elected in 1972. And in 1951, Herman J. McDevitt joined the House at 22. McDevitt, a law student at the time, left his legacy in the mid-1960s by spearheading a lawsuit to force Idaho to adopt legislative districts that gave voters more-equal representation. McDevitt, a Democrat, died in 1988.

Also among the young lawmakers group: North Idaho Rep. Gino White was just 24 when appointed to the House by then-Gov. Cecil Andrus in 1987. And it's possible there were others even younger; Idaho's legislative librarian, Kristin Ford, said the Legislature has no records before the late 1950s of the birth dates of lawmakers.

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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