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Gay Idaho Lawmaker Announces Congressional Bid

Gay Idaho Lawmaker Announces Congressional Bid


An Idaho state senator who has championed LGBT antidiscrimination protections has joined a growing list of openly gay congressional candidates vying for office throughout the country.

Only a few days ago, Nicole LeFavour, the state's only openly gay legislator and a Democrat representing parts of Boise, said she was on her way out of Idaho politics, frustrated in part that Republican colleagues had blocked the LGBT rights legislation, banning discrimination in employment and public accommodations, that she has advocated ("People are just being politically unbelievably spineless," LeFavour told The New York Times in an interview earlier this month after a Senate committee refused to allow the bill's introduction).

But in a late Friday surprise, LeFavour declared her candidacy for the state's second congressional district seat, tweeting, "I'm running for Congress because I love Idaho and we can do better."

The Idaho Reporternotes that she faces two Democratic primary challengers in the race to unseat Rep. Mike Simpson, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee and also chairs the Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment.

LeFavour's news release on her congressional bid:

LeFavour announces candidacy for congress
March 10, 2012

Four-term Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour announced today she will seek election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Idaho's second congressional district which encompasses North East Boise, Mountain Home, Twin Falls, Ketchum, Burley, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.

Said LeFavour in a Friday twitter post, "I'm running for Congress because I love Idaho and we can do better."

Stepping down after eight years serving as one of Idaho's most passionate voices in the legislature, LeFavour said of her move to run for Congress, "This is a hard time in our nation and sadly I feel Congress is not doing all it could to set our economy right. Idaho families want to feel secure about retirement, about their jobs and the opportunities their children will have. I understand that so well. We have a job to do as a nation and we have no time for partisan struggles."

"I don't love political parties but I am a Democrat because Democrats care about working people and families, we believe in communities and that people can pull together to overcome great obstacles. We believe that a strong public education system and a more affordable college education are the foundations of our own American dreams. I'm a Democrat because I feel it's time to recognize that the wealthy do not create jobs, ordinary families create jobs. They create jobs when they can afford their doctor bills and can replace a broken washing machine, buy clothes for their children, eat out at a restaurant, travel, or pay for a college degree."

LeFavour was not a supporter of the Mitt Romney style health care reform adopted in Federal health reform, "No one should go bankrupt over medical bills or fear that the cost having of insurance is out of their reach. We needed to hold insurance companies accountable, not make them more powerful by mandating that everyone buy coverage and offering no other option."

Well known statewide for her work opposing Tom Luna's three bills which cut support for teachers to pay for laptop computers and mandatory on line classes, LeFavour is a former teacher. She grew up in rural Custer County in central Idaho where for seven years she worked in water quality, fire fighting and as a wilderness ranger for the U.S. Forest Service.

"I grew up on a ranch which was once a pretty modest place. We took in guests and raised chickens, milked cows, made butter, bread, bacon and raised a lot of vegetables. My sister waited tables in the restaurant and I worked in the kitchen. I've always worked hard."

"Working for the forest service I saw how the federal government works. It creates a lot of important jobs for rural communities protecting our drinking water from pollution, our forests from devastating fires and making sure Idaho still has amazing places to hunt and fish. At the same time government can feel huge and can grow uncaring if we don't have people representing us who watch out for our communities and our families."

In the legislature LeFavour served for four years on the powerful Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee while Idaho balanced its budget through some of the worst economic times in the nation's history. LeFavour was an advocate for Idaho's schools and reducing prison budgets by increasing funding and access to mental health and substance abuse treatment statewide. "Balancing a budget is about cutting spending and about understanding how cuts will affect jobs, families, the economy and next year's budget. Some cuts don't make economic or human sense because we eliminate thousands of jobs, create greater costs in our prisons or in emergency medical care. Congress needs to recognize this."

LeFavour continued, "We all want our tax dollars to be put to use for the betterment of our country, keeping wages livable, ensuring seniors and people with disabilities stay independent in their homes, making a college degree more meaningful and more affordable, lowering health care costs for small businesses and inspiring American companies to increase their manufacturing and create jobs here in America to make us strong again."

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