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Representative Ron Nate reportedly said he thinks Idaho teachers are overpaid, even after actively pushing for higher salaries for teachers. He clarified his statements with BYU-Idaho Radio.

March 15, 2017
Writer: Mackenzie Holbrook

Local lawmaker Ron Nate is clarifying what he said during a "hot mic" moment yesterday.

During a break in the Idaho House of Representatives floor debate Representative Nate from Rexburg, was speaking with another representative without realizing his microphone was still on.

After tracking the state's spending and pushing to increase pay for teachers in Idaho, Nate reportedly said some Idaho teachers are "clearly overpaid."

After being questioned about the quote, Nate quickly corrected himself saying he must have misspoken after having just discussed overspending in the budget.

We spoke with Nate this afternoon about his statement.

"I guess in the middle of that conversation somewhere I said we all know in our districts, there're some teachers -- and I said overpaid -- but I clearly meant underpaid because that was the whole tenor of the conversation," Nate said.

Nate said that, almost immediately after the session, he started receiving backlash from teachers in the state, as well as other representatives in the House, even though he's been fighting to increase teachers' pay throughout the entire session.

"In today's media world, it's hard to un-ring that bell," Nate said. "Once it gets out on Twitter and Facebook, everyone repeats everything, and they start saying that I think all teachers are this and that. But really I've been, all through the session getting up pretty much on a daily basis, saying 'there's overspending in this bill and it would be better spent on teachers,' and I've been consistent that way. I'm consistent in my private and my public conversation, and I have a voting record to back it up."

Video and audio of his comments were unavailable until today. After reviewing them, the context of his conversation backs up what he told us today.

Check out the conversation below.