Judi Danielson Named to Power Planning Councilby Staff and Wire Reports
The Idaho Statesman, May 17, 2001
Senator, colleagues say she's perfect choice for the post
Judi Danielson, a moderate who is the chairwoman of the caucus of the state Senate's Republican supermajority, was named to the Northwest Power Planning Council on Monday, replacing Michael Field. Danielson, 49, of Council, joins former GOP state Rep. Jim Kempton of Albion on the council, which also includes two representatives each from Montana, Oregon and Washington. The panel is charged with balancing electricity production in the region with the needs of fish and wildlife. Danielson has been a popular and moderate member of the Senate Republican team, and her departure leaves a gap in GOP leadership. Midway through her fourth term in the state Senate after serving three terms in the House, she will serve a three-year term on the power council. Danielson, a retired nurse, has been outspoken on a number of issues during her legislative career, including natural resources. She played a key role in the development of Idaho's still untested proposal for state management of federal forest lands. Most recently, Danielson was chairman of the Western Legislative Forestry Task Force and a member of the Public Lands Subcommittee of the Council of State Governments-West. "It's right up my alley," Danielson said of her appointment. "I've really gravitated to the natural resource arena. This is right in line with all the activities I've been doing. That's what's exciting to me." Danielson has already been meeting with Bush administration officials on salmon, water and other resource issues during her trips to Washington. "As the Pacific Northwest continues to address the complex issues of energy and the environment, Judi's experience and her expertise will serve Idaho's interests in the region very well," Kempthorne said in a prepared statement. The Legislative District Committee for Adams, Boise, Gem, Idaho and Valley counties will select a slate of up to three nominees from which Kempthorne will select someone to finish out the final year of Danielson's term. Field stepped down last month from the $85,000-a-year job to become state director of rural development for the U.S. Agriculture Department. Field, a former aid to Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, had served on the council since 1995. His term had expired in January but Kempthorne had yet to appoint a replacement. Danielson said her shift from the Legislature to the Northwest Power Planning Council "is not a grand departure at all -- this is right in line with all the activities I've been doing." The political ramifications of Danielson's appointment rumbled through the Statehouse Monday. "I will miss her," said fellow Sen. Sheila Sorensen, R-Boise, who runs the Senate State Affairs Committee and who some thought might want to step up to replace Danielson in the Senate leadership. "She's the ideal individual to fill that post." Sorensen held Danielson's job once before, and said she wasn't interested in holding it again. Sorensen said she would "love to be in leadership" but only in a higher position. She said she'll be delighted to return to her current post, chairing the State Affairs Committee. Senate Pro Tem Robert Geddes, R-Soda Springs, said Danielson's appointment by Kempthorne surprised him when he heard about it on Monday, but said she'll be a capable Idaho representative on the council. "It was kind of a shock to me," Geddes said. "I just hadn't heard Judi's name at all." Senate Resources and Environment Committee Chairman Laird Noh, R-Kimberly, said Danielson's years of working on natural resource issues suited her for her new job: "She's been predictable and reliable," Noh said. "She will represent her constituents just like she represented them at home."
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