Nearly 20 new Idaho state legislators arrived at the Capitol today for the start of two and a half days of orientation and training, from administrative details to the workings of the state budget to ethics and campaign finance. “We’re so excited to have you here,” Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, told the group. He said in working with leaders from other state legislatures, he’s been surprised at how many offer no training to new members. In those states, he said, “Freshmen are to be seen and not heard. That is not the case in the Idaho Legislature. … We want you to be successful as a legislator representing your constituents, and doing the very best job that you can.”
This year’s freshman class of Idaho legislators includes some familiar faces – House Assistant Minority Leader Grant Burgoyne of Boise has moved over to the Senate, where he’s starting his first term, and lawmakers including Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, and Rep. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, who were appointed during the previous term won full terms. But there also are plenty of newcomers. Whether due to upsets in the primary or general elections or retirements that created open seats, the Idaho Legislature now has 18 new faces, five of them Democrats and 13 Republicans. The Legislature convenes its organizational session on Thursday.
“It’s a humbling honor to be part of this great process,” Hill told the new lawmakers. “You’ve got an adventure ahead of you.”