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Politics & Government

New Idaho GOP Chairman


A hardware store owner from Mountain Home is already getting to work in his new role as chairman of the Idaho Republican Party.  Barry Peterson was elected Saturday during the GOP convention in Twin Falls.  He takes over for Norm Semanko, who’s stepping down.

Peterson stopped by Idaho Republican Party headquarters in Boise Monday, to get his feet wet in his new job as chairman.  He’s already helping formulate strategies to help Republican candidates in the November election.  He’s also thinking about the three referendums on the ballot that will consider the future of the education reform package known as Students Come First. 

Peterson likes horses, and taking part in competitive horse events.  That’s how he sees the fight over Students Come First. “On this education thing, it’s clear the horse we’re riding does not bring our students, our young people, to the educational level that other nations around the world do.”

Peterson says the old education system just wasn’t a winner in his mind.  But he thinks Students Come First is the champion horse in this race.  “We’re quite eager to see an improvement or try something that we hope will put our students in a situation where they might do much better and compete in the worldwide educational success.” 

Peterson will help organize the Republican fight to keep the laws on the books.  The Idaho Education Association teachers union wants to repeal the plan.   

When he’s not strategizing about the November election, Peterson must find time to choose a new GOP Executive Director.   He says it’s the most important position in the state Party.  He says he's considering a few names right now, but hasn't shared those names publicly. 

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