The Senate has voted to confirm two nominations that earlier caused dissent when they were in committee – former House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, to the Idaho Water Resources Board and former Rep. Janet Moyle as a state tax commissioner.
The Rusche nomination sailed through with no dissent, but the Moyle nomination drew a handful of “no’s” in the Senate’s voice vote, though no one spoke out against the appointment.
Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, told the Senate, “I’ve been here for quite a while and I don’t think that any candidate that we’ve ever had in front of that committee has been vetted as well.” He said senators’ concerns focused on a possible conflict as Moyle is married to House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, who is active in proposing and sponsoring tax legislation.
“That was vetted very well, and that was the major concern,” Siddoway said. “And Mrs. Moyle did, I think, a stellar job of standing up and defending herself. And I think that those of us that had an opportunity to talk to her were pretty well satisfied that there’s going to be a degree of separation here that’s going to ensure that she does her job, regardless of any prior or future relationships, whether it’s with this whole legislative body or whether there are those personal relationships. That she is going to do her job. And I walked away from those conversations very satisfied that she’s going to do it.”
Siddoway noted that Janet Moyle’s professional career has been in the county property tax assessment field. “She knows that stuff inside and out,” he said. “Senators, she truly is a qualified nominee for this and I urge your approval for this appointment.”
Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, pitched the Rusche appointment to the Senate, and noted the retired pediatrician’s extensive involvement in water issues over the years, including his 42 years of involvement with the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District, which worked out a collaborative settlement that involved the Nez Perce Tribe and the BLM and enhanced water availability in the area. In addition to his medical degree, Rusche holds a degree in chemical engineering, magna cum laude, from Notre Dame.
When Rusche’s appointment was in committee, Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, asked to put it on hold out of what he said was concern over Rusche’s social media posts; he later withdrew any objections and said he’d discussed the matter with Rusche and was satisfied.
Stennett said she was “very pleased” at the Senate’s unanimous support for Rusche’s appointment.