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Commentaries and editorials

Idaho Member Danielson Takes NWPPC Leadership Post

by Barry Espenson
Columbia Basin Bulletin - January 17, 2003

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council on Thursday elected Idaho member Judi Danielson to serve as chairman of the four-state panel during 2003.

The Council also voted in Washington's Tom Karier as vice chairman. Both were elected unanimously.

Danielson takes the reins from Washington's Larry Cassidy, who had served as chairman of the group for the past three years. Danielson was vice chairman during 2002. Karier was chairman of the Council's Power Committee during 2002.

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne appointed Judi Danielson to the Council in 2001. She served three full terms in the Idaho Senate, most recently as Senate Majority Caucus chairman and vice-chair of the Senate Resources and Environment Committee.

Danielson also served as chairman of the Western Legislative Forestry Task Force and as a member of the Public Lands Subcommittee of the Council of State Governments-West. She also served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1988 to 1994. Danielson attended the University of Idaho and Boise State University.

Karier, appointed by Gov. Gary Locke in 1998, was an associate dean at Eastern Washington University from 1995 to 1998 and professor of economics since 1981. During this time he also served as a research associate for the Jerome Levy Economics Institute in Annandale, New York. Karier earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley with a major field in natural resource economics.

Karier earned bachelor's degrees in both physics and economics from the University of Illinois. His research areas include public policy, taxation, labor, international trade, and industrial organization.

Cassidy last year gained a third year as the panel's chairman over vigorous opposition from Oregon's contingent and its governor. That election required a change in the panel's bylaws, removing any limitations on successive terms of office for the chair or vice chair. The bylaws had said that the chair or vice chair could be elected for one year and "a term may be renewed for an additional year."

The bylaw change was approved by a 6-2 vote with Oregon councilors Eric Bloch and John Brogoitti opposing the proposal. Cassidy was elected, by a 7-1 vote with Bloch opposed.

Then-Gov. John Kitzhaber said the term of office should be limited to one two-year term with a set rotation for one of each state's members to ascend from the vice chair's position to the chairmanship. Bloch, among other issues, insisted that it was his state's time to lead. He had held the vice chair's post the previous two years. Since the Council was formed Oregon has held the chairman's position for three years compared to nine for Washington, six for Montana and now five for Idaho.

The majority the Council's members, in supporting the bylaw change last year, said that they wanted to have the flexibility to elect the chair and vice chair based on experience, skills, leadership abilities and a respect for each of the member states. They said they did not want a chairman forced out that the majority of the members felt that person was best suited to lead.

The Council membership now also includes John Hines and Ed Bartlett of Montana, Gene Derfler and Melinda Eden of Oregon and Jim Kempton of Idaho. Derfler and Eden are the newest members, having been appointed by Kitzhaber late last year. This week's meeting in Vancouver was Eden's first after joining the Council at the beginning of the new year. Derfler joined the panel in November, replacing John Brogoitti. The Pendleton, Ore., rancher was not reappointed when his term expired in January 2002 but served until Derfler was appointed. Bloch resigned effective at year's end and received an appointment by Kitzhaber to serve as a judge in the Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Council members on Thursday praised the leadership, old and new.

Bartlett called Danielson fair, reasonable and unbiased.

"She cares about state boundaries not at all," Bartlett said. "She's earned the respect of this council and, maybe more importantly, the trust of the region.

Danielson in turn thanked Cassidy for his leadership, calling him fair and "intensely involved" in every thing the Council does.

"You've guided us through a lot of turbulent waters," she said.

The Council was authorized in the Northwest Power Act of 1980 and approved by a vote of the legislatures of all four states. The governor of each state appoints two members to serve on the Council.

The Act contains three principal mandates for the Council:

Related Sites:
Northwest Power and Conservation Council:

Barry Espenson
Idaho Member Danielson Takes NWPPC Leadership Post
Columbia Basin Bulletin, January 17, 2003

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