Everyone is aware the May primary elections are just around the corner. The commercials and mailers are in full force telling you who to vote for or against. One of the mailers caught my attention the other day because it attacked my friend and colleague Mike Simpson regarding his support for agriculture. With all the fake news and misinformation in this day and age, this accusation is by far the craziest claim I have heard. There is no elected official in Idaho who has done more for agriculture than Mike Simpson.
I could go on and on about what Mike has done for grain, sugarbeets, potatoes, dairy, and more. However, today I want to remind Idahoans about one of the most critical moments in Idaho agriculture history that still benefits farmers and ranchers to this day. I am talking about Mike Simpson single handedly delisting wolves in Idaho, which is the epitome of taking control from the federal government and returning it to the state.
The year was 2011 and I was in my second term as Governor. I had worked tirelessly alongside Mike when I was in Congress to get wolves delisted from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) because we knew the science supported specific recovery goals. Now as Governor, I knew the State of Idaho was ready to manage wolf populations. Democrats in Congress disagreed and believed they should be under federal control.
That is when Mike Simpson sprung into action and used his legislative skill and position on the House Appropriations Committee, to insert a rider which removed wolves from ESA in Idaho and Montana and specified that judges could not insert themselves into this decision-making process, period. Mike’s rider was signed into law despite pushback from Democrats and Idaho took control from the federal government managing wolf populations.
Fast forward eleven years and trial attorneys are still suing to have the federal government control wolf populations. Unfortunately, one of those challenges was recently successful and wolf populations are controlled by Biden’s USFWS in 48 states. Thanks to Mike Simpson, Idaho is one of the two states where wolves are not controlled by the feds. This enables Idaho to continue to follow the science and provides some peace of mind to Idaho ranchers and farmers who deal with wolves in their backyard.
This is the Mike Simpson I know. He has always had agriculture’s back and he always will. Idaho needs him and I encourage you cast your vote for him on May 17th.
Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter