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C.L. “Butch” Otter has been a fixture of Idaho politics since 1973 when he was elected to his first term in the state House of Representatives.Otter was elected to his third-consecutive term as governor on Nov. 4, 2014. He was elected to his second term as Idaho governor on Nov. 2, 2010. Otter first became Idaho's governor on Nov. 7, 2006.Gov. Otter was at the helm during the peak of the Great Recession and it was his administration that oversaw the cutting of the state budget, record unemployment, and a boom in the number of people using government assistance.Otter spoke with StateImpact Idaho back in 2012 about that recession and its lasting impact on Idaho's workforce.Governor Otter: Every Generation Deals with Joblessness and We Live Through ItA Brief BiographyOtter, a Republican, is the longest serving lieutenant governor of Idaho, his tenure spanned from 1987-2000. In 2000 he was then elected to the United States Congress and served until 2006.According to the Washington Post, Otter voted with his party most of the time, 86 percent, but has been known to have an independent streak on some issues.“He was among three Republicans in the House to vote against the USA Patriot Act in 2001 and he later sponsored a bill to repeal parts of it. But independent streaks are sometimes tolerated in a state that would rather not be told what to do by the federal government.” - William Yardley, New York TimesOtter was born on May 3, 1942 in Caldwell, Idaho. He attended St. Teresa’s Academy in Boise and graduated from Boise Junior College (now Boise State University) with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1967.After college, Otter joined the Idaho National Guard and served in the 116th Armored Calvary until 1973.Butch Otter is married to his second wife, Lori. He has four children and several grandchildren.

Democrats Get Specific On Lawmaker’s Alleged Conflict Of Interest

Idaho State Senator Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth)
Idaho State Legislature
Idaho State Senator Monty Pearce (R-New Plymouth)

The ethics investigation of Idaho Sen. Monty Pearce (R- New Plymouth) entered its third day Wednesday.  He's accused of not disclosing his oil and gas leases before voting on nearly two dozen bills dealing with that industry.  Democrats drilled down on one bill Tuesday that Pearce voted on.   

That legislation favors state control of oil and natural gas development.  Charles Peterson is Pearce’s lawyer.  He says many people could benefit from that bill.  “Is he a member of a class of folks that is so broad, that, in essence, he gains nothing in particular that other members of the class don’t gain," Peterson says.  "I think that candidly is the situation today.”

If so, that means Pearce would fall into an exception when it comes to conflict of interest rules.  That argument resonated with ethics panel member Sen. Jim Hammond (R-Coeur d’Alene).  “I am not seeing any evidence that this individual senator enjoyed any greater benefit than anybody else in that class.  I don’t see any reason why we need to pursue this further,” says Hammond.

Pearce has had oil and gas leases since the 1980s.  He also signed one in November with Snake River Oil and Gas.  And that means, according to Sen. Diane Bilyeu (D-Pocatello), the panel needs to hold another meeting.  “There are some questions that have not been answered at least to my satisfaction.”

Chairman Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls) agreed. The ethics panel meets again Wednesday morning.

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