Idaho Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said he’s heard only positive reactions from his Senate GOP caucus about his appointment of Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, to chair the Senate Finance Committee, which makes her the co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, which writes the state budget. “Sen. Keough certainly has put in her time there on the Finance Committee,” Hill said today. “She’s got many more years of experience than anyone else. She has turned down chairmanships of other committees” in order to remain vice-chair on the budget-writing panel over the years.
Keough’s co-chair on JFAC is Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, meaning this will also be the first time two women co-chair the key committee.
Hill said he spoke with both Bell and former Finance Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, about the appointment, and both expressed great confidence in Keough’s abilities; Cameron left his longtime post to become the state insurance director.
“We felt very comfortable with her,” Hill said. “She’s got the knowledge, she’s got the experience.” He added, “Fiscally, she’s been very conservative, and so far she’s had strong support from the caucus. I haven’t heard any negative comments at all – they’ve all been very positive.”