Boise’s Fisher elected ASUI president, aspires to higher office

Former Boise High Student Body President Nate Fisher has been elected president of the Associated Students of the University of Idaho. He begins his one-year term April 30.

He aspires to follow in the tradition of other ASUI presidents who won high office, including Gov. and U.S. Dirk Kempthorne and Congressman and U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. Kempthorne, of course, also served as U.S. Interior secretary under President George W. Bush.

Fisher was a classmate of my son, Nick; they graduated Boise together in 2012. I first met Nate when he and Nick were in elementary school and played Optimist Youth Football. Even then, Nate expressed a charming enthusiasm for a political culture that solves more problems than it causes.

Sarah Vetsmany of Meridian, a graduate Mountain View High School, was Fisher’s running mate and will serve as vice president.FisherVetsmany326k

Fisher’s mother, Jean Fisher, has been an Ada County deputy prosecutor for 25 years who specializes in crimes against children and sexual assault.

Fisher’s father, also Nate, is a lobbyist who spent 11 years in Idaho Office of Species Conservation, under Govs. Kempthorne, Jim Risch and Butch Otter. The elder Nate Fisher also worked as a natural resources adviser to Gov. Phil Batt. In 2012, Fisher became a lobbyist with clients including Amalgamated Sugar, US Ecology, Verizon and the Northwest Grocers Association.

“I think I caught the bug from him,” son Nate said of his politically active dad.

Fisher plans to graduate in 2016 and attend law school or graduate school in public administration and find work in public policy.

“I still aspire to run for and hold an elected office — likely within the state but potentially federally — but understand that this is a pretty lofty goal and could sound rather pretentious or pompous,” he said. “I see myself starting within the state, and attending the UI is putting me in a good position for my future goals.”

Fisher played viola in Boise High’s orchestra for three years, captained the swim team, played on the state runner-up ultimate frisbee team and served on the Mayor’s Council on Children and Youth. He graduated with all “A’s,” excepting a single “B,” and accepted the imperfection with grace. In May 2012, Nate won KTVB’s  weekly Distinguished Student Award. You can watch his preternatural maturity in a clip on the station’s archive.

As ASUI president, Fisher plans to work on reforming scholarship policies and the scourge of 21st century public higher education — delayed graduation due to inaccessibility of required courses.

Fisher also aims to raise the profile of the Idaho Student Association, which advocates for the 79,000 Idaho students in both public and private higher education.

Watch out for this young man, I suspect we’ll be hearing more from him.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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