“Chills” is the word that comes to mind when asked about my first day at the Legislature. Until I officially started my quest for a seat in the legislature, I was under the impression that the term of office began in January, with the first session. However, the term actually begins on December 1st with the oath of office being conducted on the first Thursday of December. At about 9:15 AM on December 6th, what is believed to be a record class of 30 new Representatives took the Oath of Office, along with 40 returning Representatives. The “Rookies” had just completed three days of New Legislator Orientation and participated in our first Caucus the evening before. It is during the caucuses that each party selects its leadership team, and the Majority Party selects their choice for Speaker of the House. This year the Speaker’s Chair returns to the Magic Valley with the selection of Representative Scott Bedke from Cassia County (Oakley). He follows a long line of Magic Valley Speakers, including Ralph Olmstead, Tom Stivers and Bruce Newcomb.
Following the oath of office, the next order of business is the selection of seat locations. This is done in Seniority Order, except of course for the traditional seats of leadership. Our class of 30 had a few legislators, with prior experience, who were awarded priority over those entering for the first time. Of the remaining 27, our very own Clark Kaufman was the first name drawn, while I sat and watched everyone narrow my choices to only six remaining seats, which made my choice much easier. These are exciting times for me and I look forward to serving District 24 and Idaho. I have been assigned to the Education, Business and Local Government Committees. With a great deal to learn, I look forward to January 7, 2013 when the real work begins. Thank you again for allowing me to Represent District 24 and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. That, of course, assumes that December 21, 2012 is only a Mayan Hoax.
Originally published in the Twin Falls Republican Women newsletter, December 2012.