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Eye On Boise

Otter released from hospital after nearly 2 weeks

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, shown on Jan. 6, 2017 at the Idaho state Capitol. (Otto Kitsinger / AP)
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, shown on Jan. 6, 2017 at the Idaho state Capitol. (Otto Kitsinger / AP)

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By Betsy Z. Russell

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter was released from the hospital today after being admitted on July 14 for his second back surgery in a week, and then remaining hospitalized for treatment for a post-surgery infection.

“He is continuing to recover,” said his press secretary, Jon Hanian. “The new information is now he’s recovering at home, which we are delighted to be able to say.”

Otter has continued to work throughout his hospitalization, but Lt. Gov. Brad Little took over as acting governor whenever the governor was undergoing surgery or other procedures that required general or local anesthesia. Little’s last stint as acting governor was last Wednesday and Thursday.

Otter, 75, first underwent surgery on July 7 to treat a bulging disk in his back; the second surgery followed a week later.

While hospitalized at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Otter stayed in touch with his staff and conducted some official business, including issuing a statement on the Idaho Supreme Court’s grocery tax ruling and appointing a new member to the state Board of Parks and Recreation. He received daily briefings on state matters.

“His status is much improved,” Hanian said. “He’s doing much better.”

However, he said, “The recovery process is going to take a little bit of time. The doctors are being very cautious about everything still, but they felt that he was well enough to be discharged, and he is at home.”

There’s no estimate yet as to when Otter will return to work at the governor’s office. “I can tell you he’s anxious to get back into the office,” Hanian said, “but we know that this isn’t on our timetable or his. He’s in the care of the doctors, and whenever they say he’s ready to come back, I’m sure they will let him know that.”

Otter is in his third term as governor; he doesn’t plan to seek a fourth.

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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