When Idaho legislators begin their 2017 session next month, their numbers will include 14 new representatives and four new senators. Only one of those 18 serves in the districts that cover the state’s five northernmost counties.
Unlike Washington, in Idaho, new legislators are sworn in three weeks after winning their elections. (Washington lawmakers take the oath in January.) It’s during the time they meet in Boise for their freshman orientation. Just a few days after returning from that, new Representative Paul Amador sat in a coffee shop in Coeur d’Alene and remembered how humbled he felt in taking his oath.
“It was a really special moment though, it really was, and I can only hope that how I serve and represent the people will be a benefit to the state,” he said.
Amador serves legislative District 4, which is in and around Coeur d’Alene. He’s originally from California, where he grew up on a farm. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in Fresno, then master’s and doctoral degrees in educational leadership at the University of Nevada in Reno. His wife Julie also earned a PhD and when she got a job in Coeur d’Alene, he followed. Now both of them work at the University of Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene campus.
“I’ve never considered myself a political person but just somebody who’s cared about the community. But if you talk to my wife, she’ll tell you, ‘I didn’t know when my husband would run but I knew he was going to run someday’,” he said.