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Eye On Boise

With feelings running high over instant racing, two 80-somethings face off in Statehouse hallway

Here’s how high feelings were running after today’s Senate committee vote to repeal “instant racing” in Idaho: In the marble hallway outside the Lincoln Auditorium, Idaho ranching icon Harry Bettis, in a white cowboy hat, approached the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s lobbyist, Bill Roden, who had given the closing statement in favor of the bill, and loudly called him a “damn liar,” amid other comments. Roden walked away before Capitol security arrived.

“He was trying to get me to punch him, but I’m smarter than that,” Roden, 86, said afterward. He said the two also had a "shouting match" last year.

Bettis, 80, is one of five owners of Les Bois Park. In today’s testimony, the president of the company running the park said if instant racing is repealed, Les Bois Park will close.

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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