Election Central

Idaho Democrats reply to Otter: GOP has taken us to the bottom

Idaho Democrats say 20 years of Republican control of the executive and legislative branches has taken Idaho to the bottom of the economic and educational barrel and that election-year politics mustn’t impede change.

“Twenty years of GOP control of Idaho politics has led us to the bottom, fiftieth in wages per capita income, fiftieth in school support and the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers,” Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett said Tuesday in response to GOP Gov. Butch Otter’s State of the State Address Monday. “And we believe that these measurements — education and household economy — are related.

“The first step to climbing out is to face that truth with courage and honesty,” Stennett continued. “We cannot just wait until next year when no one is up for re-election. Idaho families deserve leadership and opportunity now.”

Otter has predicted a short session with limited controversy and GOP lawmakers have followed suit, saying they’re eager to get home and defend themselves in the May 20 Republican primary. Republicans have controlled the Legislature without interruption since 1961 and held the governorship since 1995.

Stennett, D-Ketchum, appeared with House Minority Leader John Rushe, D-Lewiston, in providing the Democratic response.

To read the full prepared remarks read by Stennett and Rusche, who traded off reading the text, click here.


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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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics