March 15, 2019
Writer: Virginia Henry

Last year Idaho elected a new Governor. Brad Little served as Lieutenant Governor to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter before this most recent election.

“It’s really been incredible,” Little said.

He commented that he’s glad the election is over but that since then he has been busy. When it came to selecting his cabinet, he selected 23 people in 23 days.

Little grew up seeing state legislatures in action. His father was in the legislature for some time. Combined with his own political career he’s seen a lot of sessions. He said this session has been a good one so far. During his interview with BYU-Idaho Radio in February, he said this session is unique because there hadn’t been many bills compared to past sessions.

Little commented that his desk was empty of bills he needed to sign.

The lack of smaller bills this session may be because of the bigger issues that have consumed most of the legislature’s time. Issues like Medicaid expansion and the education formula have been on the agenda every week.

For Little, there are two bills that he is personally advocating for. One is an education initiative. This would increase the emphasis in schools on literacy. The goal would be to have kids reading well by the end of the third grade.

“These dollars that are available, these funds for literacy are literally funds that are available for the superintendent, the principle, the teachers to decide how best to get kids reading,” Little said.

The other bill he is focused on has to do with starting teacher pay.

“I want to send a message to high-school kids, to students of BYU-Idaho, to people all over Idaho that we honor and respect the teaching profession and we want to have competitive salaries here in Idaho,” Little said.

The first bill didn’t make it very far. The second bill is being sent to his desk for a signature.

When asked about what the biggest differences have been since he has become governor, Little said, “People return my phone calls better.”

Looking toward the future, Little said he plans to continue a practice of Governor Otter’s, Capital for a Day program.

“Where we continue to get out of Boise, go all over the state in large and small communities and listen to what’s on people’s minds,” Little said. “It’s a lot of work but that’s the job I signed up for.”

He implores the people of Idaho to reach out to their representatives. He explained that Idaho has a great system in place. He affirmed we are fiscally solvent, we make investments in our children, we help people while not making them dependent upon government and much more.

“I need people to participate for that system to work,” Little concluded.