IMMEDIATE RELEASE: LeFavour will not seek another term

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feburary 24, 2012

Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour announced Friday that after eight years serving in the Idaho legislature she will not seek a third term in the Idaho Senate. “It has been such a deep honor to represent the amazing people of Boise’s district 19 where I live. The district has been so good to me and I like to think I’ve been a dedicated voice for those here and for many statewide who otherwise might not have had someone to speak for them.”

In her four terms in the legislature LeFavour was well known for her work on tax policy, prison sentencing reform and improving Idaho’s treatment and support for those facing mental health or substance abuse issues. She also has advocated for adequate services to keep Idahoans with disabilities independent and healthy in their homes and communities.

“It is with the deepest sense of regret and sorrow that I leave the legislature, a place that has taught me so much about politics, policy, process and people. Idaho is a tough place to be in the minority. I took very, very seriously my duty to speak for those who were to be harmed by the policy we passed. That’s not a popular role to play and one simply can’t do it forever. It is especially hard knowing that speaking up for a wrong about to be done was so often not enough to change the outcome. You hope for the best in people and I always have hoped my colleagues would rise to that. Last year was tough and I left the session knowing this would be my last.”

In the legislature, LeFavour served for four years on the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations committee, for six years on the Judiciary & Rules Committees of the House and Senate and for four years on the Senate Education Committee where she led efforts to oppose Tom Luna’s 2011 Education reform bills which make it law that the state would increase public school class sizes by using drastic cuts in funding for teaching positions to pay for new lap tops and mandatory on line courses.

LeFavour was elected by her peers in the House and Senate three times to serve on Legislative Council. For more than four years she served on the Commission on Hispanic Affairs. All eight of her years in the legislature she served on the Joint Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee where for five out of the seven years she had the closest year end revenue estimate of any legislator on the committee.

First elected in 2004, LeFavour was Idaho’s first openly gay elected official and the only openly gay person elected to Idaho’s legislature.

“The four or so months of the legislative session are hard on family. My partner Carol has put up with a lot of stress and has stood by me as I dealt with a lot of loss. She’s so smart and keeps me laughing through the hardest times but you can only ask that of someone for so long.”

LeFavour hopes her district will work to make sure that she is replaced in the legislature by another openly gay member.

“It is so critical that the house and senate have openly gay members. If I weren’t here there are times I’m certain that some in this Capitol would say they didn’t know anyone gay. And then how would they ever know that they cared about what happens to gay people in our state?”

LeFavour says she’s seen progress,  “After all these years, finally this body of 105 people is beginning to see that people do still discriminate and do intentional harm to gay and transgender people in our state. I know for a fact that a majority of my colleagues also finally feel that doing intentional harm to gay people is wrong. In a civil society it is our duty to say this is wrong. If we don’t, we might as well be saying that we condone the harm and don’t care about the lives of good people who lose their jobs, housing or educational opportunities for no other reason than that they are gay.”

“I began this session knowing I would not be returning and had one of the most amazing experiences of my legislative career. In August I began working with a group of people who became known as Add the Words, Idaho. Many, gave their every spare hour over the last five months strategizing and organizing to help the Idaho legislature see that Idahoans believe it is time to include gay and transgender people in our existing human rights act. I love the group of people I’ve gotten to know these past months. I think they’ve changed history on this issue. For the first time in all my years working on this issue I have two votes shy of a majority supporting the bill in both the house and senate with at least three maybes and several I’ve not talked to yet. That alone keeps me hopeful about what may still be possible this year.”

“I leave the legislature knowing I did everything I could last year to try to stop the cuts to education and the radical change in priorities from teachers to technology. I put my whole heart into stopping the cuts to Medicaid and to mental health treatment therapy and to services that keep people with disabilities independent in their homes. This year I will continue to do everything I can to get my politically fearful colleagues to acknowledge that this may be the only year in the next ten years that we have such a clear opportunity to pass legislation to include gay people in Idaho’s human rights act. I hope it weighs heavy on their consciences that in history they have the choice to do that now or to continue to allow good people across the state to live in fear every day.”

Senator LeFavour can be reached for comment at208 724-0468
Texting is an efficient way to reach her as well.

Add the Words 3rd VIDEO: Only Stronger

On February 10 the bill to Add the Words to include gay and transgender people in Idaho’s Human Rights Act was killed without a word of public testimony. For six years the Idaho legislature has refused to allow a single public hearing on the legislation to ban discrimination in employment, housing and education. Tell your Idaho law makers it is finally time to stand up and say discrimination is wrong. http://addthewords.org

Send your message now respectfully asking the Senators to reconsider the bill and Add the Words.

Sen. McKenzie: CMckenzie@senate.idaho.gov (208) 367-9400
Sen. McGee: JMcgee@senate.idaho.gov (208) 455-3950
Sen. Lodge: PALodge@senate.idaho.gov
Sen. Winder: CWinder@senate.idaho.gov (208) 343-2300
Sen. Fulcher: Rfulcher@senate.idaho.gov (208) 332-1340
Sen Davis: BMDavis@senate.idaho.gov (208) 522-8100
Sen. Hill: BHill@senate.idaho.gov (208) 356-3677

Letters to the Editor Idaho Statesman: https://forms.idahostatesman.com/lettertoeditor/

Idaho Press Tribune: You may mail, fax or e-mail your letter to the editor, but letters must include your full name (no initials), home address and daytime and evening telephone numbers for verification. If you have questions regarding your letter, please call (208) 465-8115 or e-mail:
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Add the Words Idaho is an all volunteer organization of people all across Idaho working to demonstrate the level of public support for inclusion of gay and transgender Idahoans in the state’s laws banning discrimination in employment, housing education and public accommodation. Add the Words has gathered over 2000 messages to Idaho legislators written on sticky notes from people in more than 60 Idaho towns. http://addthewords.org

Thanks to Lucy Juarez for video footage, and to Jim Huggins and Stacy Ericson for still photos. Thanks to Lisa Perry and all those organizing or participating in positive silent protests across the state.
Thanks to Dave at Rail Tees on Overland for the Add the Words T-shirt design and printing.

Live in Boise? Find out how you can post your sticky note in the statehouse any time, day or night.

http://addthewords.org