Big issues hang in the balance as Idaho weighs whether to send one of its longest-serving politicians, Sen. Jim Risch, back to Washington, D.C., to represent the state for a third six-year term. Democratic challenger Paulette Jordan, who ran for governor in 2018, wants to expand, rather than repeal, the Affordable Care Act, while also reforming the nation’s health system; to “protect Idaho’s natural resources,” including coping with the impacts of climate change on Idaho agriculture and landscapes; and to “combat corporate greed” in how the nation addresses everything from fiscal policy to environmental protection.
In some ways, she’s the opposite of Risch: Relatively young, at age 40; Native American; female; and progressive. Risch, 77, a trial lawyer and longtime state senator before he served as lieutenant governor, governor and then U.S. senator, would be 83 at the end of a third Senate term. He says the most important thing he wants to do in a third term is “deliver a predictable and a rock-solid conservative vote” every time his name is called in the Senate.
“Voting is the No. 1 thing that you do,” he told the Idaho Press. Risch also is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position in which he can influence everything from trade agreements to arms sales. You can read my full story on the race online here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Friday’s print edition of the Idaho Press.
Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.
By: Betsy Z Russell