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Idaho legislature elects new leaders ahead of next session

The Idaho State Flag hanging inside the Statehouse Rotunda.
James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s new legislative leaders are set with an incoming class of lawmakers made up of nearly half new faces.

All 105 legislators took their oaths of office Thursday morning as they gathered at the Idaho Capitol for the biannual organizational session.

New party leaders took their positions, with Lt. Governor-elect Scott Bedke passing the gavel of House Speaker to former majority leader, Mike Moyle (R-Star).

“Look around the room here at your colleagues. These are the people you’re stuck with,” Bedke said, getting a few laughs from the chamber.

“You have a huge responsibility in front of you,” he told Moyle. “Always default to a higher standard.”

Taking his place on the dais, Moyle thanked his predecessor for setting a standard he hopes to live up to.

“I’m very humbled to have your support in being speaker and I know I’m going to make some stumbles along the way and I hope that you can bear with me as we make this trip together because we’re in this together,” Moyle said.

Other House Republican leaders elected Wednesday night include Majority Leader Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett), Assistant Majority Leader Sage Dixon (R-Ponderay) and Caucus Chair Dustin Manwaring (R-Pocatello).

Democrats mostly stuck with last session’s leadership team, including Minority Leader Ilana Rubel (D-Boise), Assistant Minority Leader Lauren Necochea (D-Boise) and Caucus Chair Ned Burns (D-Bellevue), who’s replacing retired Rep. Sally Toone (D-Gooding).

Pro Tem Chuck Winder (R-Boise) retains his top spot in the Senate, along with Majority Leader Kelly Anthon (R-Burley), Assistant Majority Leader Abby Lee (R-Fruitland) and Caucus Chair Mark Harris (R-Soda Springs).

Meanwhile, relative Senate-newcomer Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) will take over as minority leader, James Ruchti (D-Pocatello) will serve as assistant minority leader and Janie Ward-Engelking (D-Boise) will retain her position as caucus chair.

Also up for grabs this week are the coveted roles of committee chairs, which hold wide power to introduce, bottle up or push through legislation.

The official start to the new legislative session kicks off January 9 with Gov. Brad Little’s State of the State Address and budget presentation.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!