The Idaho legislative shakeups: Who gained power? Who lost clout?

Legislators gathered Wednesday and Thursday to elect their leaders and carve up committee assignments, Here is a Valley stock report:

• Up: Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell. He built his cache as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. But Transportation figures to take a lower profile, since lawmakers are in no hurry to talk seriously about finding new money for highway repairs.

No matter for McGee, who moves into GOP leadership as caucus chairman. A move becoming a young, upwardly mobile senator.

• Down: Sen. Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian. The week’s boldest gamble backfired. He gave up the caucus chair to seek the Senate’s highest leadership post, president pro tem. Brent Hill of Rexburg got the job. No longer in leadership, Fulcher’s consolation prize is a vice chairman’s spot — albeit on the powerful State Affairs Committee.

• Up: Four new leaders. In addition to McGee, four other Valley lawmakers have spots in leadership: Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, assistant majority leader; Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, assistant minority leader; Rep. Elfreda Higgins, D-Garden City, assistant minority leader; and Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise, minority caucus chair.

Small-world alert. In 2003, Winder ran for Boise mayor. Cronin worked on Dave Bieter’s successful campaign. Probably not significant in the slightest. Just interesting.

• Up: Sen. Mitch Toryanski, R-Boise. Serving his first term, Toryanski landed a plum assignment on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

• Up: Reps. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, and John Vander Woude, R-Nampa. Both landed spots on JFAC. A win also for the Valley, which will hold five of 20 seats on JFAC, up from just three in 2009 and 2010. JFAC won’t be a fun job in 2011, but at least the Valley will be well-represented.

• Down: Rep Cliff Bayer, R-Boise. He lost a challenge to House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star. He also lost a JFAC seat. It could have been worse: this cerebral number-cruncher trades one wonky gig for another, as he joins the crucial House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

• Down: Rep. Robert Schaefer, R-Nampa. He has been elected to a 14th term, so he gets love from his constituents. Not so from House leadership. Schaefer lost his chairmanship of the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee. After 26 years in the Statehouse, he didn’t even land a vice chairmanship.

Lest you think vice chairmanships are tough to get, consider this: Even Rep. Phil Hart, R-Hayden, managed to land one — in between appearances before the House Ethics Committee.

More reading: Here are links to the Senate committee assignments and the House committee assignments. And here are links to some blogging on the leadership moves from the Statesman's Dan Popkey,'s Brad Iverson-Long and the Spokane Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell.

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Cronin - Winder

it might appear insignificant but you darn well know Cronin learned and knows some interesting unpublicized info and traits on Winder --- might be interesting to see if and when that plays out.


I am suprised that no one has mention the "fall from grace" suffered by Senator Werk. He finally got the message that his arrogance, his sarcasm and his nastiness were not going to be tolerated by his own party. He may be angry, but he brought on himself----no one else to blame.

So sorry, Elliot. Couldn't happen to a more deserving person.

1. Nobody 2. ALL.


TSA-the NEW speed dating


So how did Bob Shaefer become radioactive? He must have messed up and passed the intelligence test.

General! The Hulk has been spotted on the base!


He wants his Jesus Thing punch and cookies!

Lord Vader, the rebels are advancing on this station!


Happy Jesus Thing and a Chinese New Year