The Idaho Statesman published an excellent story today about on how lobbyists function and their role in the legislative process. The story interviewed our very own Roy Eiguren and other notable Idaho lobbyists, with an focus on how lawyers who become lobbyists bring a special set of skills and insights. Lobbyists play a crucial part in the democratic process and this article is a great public education piece.
We’re on a roll here at Eiguren Fisher Ellis Public Policy. A couple of weeks ago, we announced the addition of Kris Ellis, a seasoned business and healthcare lobbyist. Now, we’re pleased to announce that Tony Smith is joining our team as an associate.
Tony has successfully represented an array of clients including national, regional and state businesses and healthcare providers. During his 6 years as a lobbyist, he has built solid relationships with executive officers, legislators and staff as well as various state agency leaders, earning a reputation for honesty, integrity, trust and effectiveness.
Tony worked with the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensing to define schools of cosmetology as post secondary institutions, allowing students to remain eligible for federal student aid. He also worked with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idaho Transportation Department and other groups to ensure that revenue generated by the off-road vehicle sticker program would stay with the Department of Parks and Recreation for infrastructure maintenance and development, as desired by user groups.These are good examples of a public policy adviser working with all sides to craft policies that serve the public interest and the needs of our clients.
Tony is well-known to Partner Roy Eiguren and began his lobbying work in 2009, working as an intern and then lobbyist with Roy.
Tony was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Idaho in 1995. He is a graduate of Boise State University with a degree in Political Science and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration. He and his wife have five children from ages 22 to 4 and he remains active in the community as Director of the Cal Ripken Division for the Kuna Youth Softball and Baseball Association. He has a passion for dirt biking, fishing and camping in Idaho’s beautiful outdoors.
Eiguren Fisher Ellis is proud to have Fluor Corporation as a client. Fluor Corporation is one of the world’s leading publicly traded engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance, and project management companies with a history of more than 100 years. Fluor recently opened an office in Idaho Falls to explore opportunities related to environmental cleanup at the Idaho National Laboratory. Fluor, in conjunction with NuScale Power, will cooperate in new nuclear research.
Sept. 1, 2014
For immediate release:
Eiguren Fisher Ellis Public Policy Group has announced the addition of well-respected legislative and business development professional Kris Ellis as a principal to broaden the Idaho firm’s depth in health care licensure and regulatory issues.
Ellis was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 2000 and served on the Health and Welfare, Business and Revenue and Taxation Committees. She also chaired the Task force On Health and Welfare Saving.
Ellis’ legislative tenure has helped her develop strong credibility and a highly successful working relationship with lawmakers, administrators and other decision-makers on health care and public policy issues.
As a former Partner in the Idaho political consulting firm of Benton, Ellis and Associates, Ellis has provided strategic consultation to a wide variety of associations involved in general business, real estate, property management and health care licensure and regulatory issues.
As the Idaho Assisted Living Association’s Executive Director, Ellis helped the board to bring the association into a positive financial position and to successfully negotiate its merger with the Idaho Health Care Association.
Ellis is a 1985 graduate of Oregon State University BS in Business. See the Eiguren Fisher Ellis Web page for a more detailed bio.
“Kris has an impressive performance record, excellent working relationships with key decision-makers and strong qualifications that will help broader our expertise in health care issues at a time when they are a top priority,” said Founding Partner Roy Eiguren.
Eiguren Fisher Ellis Public Policy Group (www.efepublicpolicy.com) provides clients with access, advice and advocacy on issues impacting governmental entities, with strong expertise in energy development, natural resources health care, telecommunications, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, taxation and education.
Roy Eiguren Appointed to Board of Directors of Gold Torrent Inc.; Joint Venture Developed with Miranda Gold Corp.
This July, Eiguren Fisher Public Policy Partner Roy Eiguren was appointed to the Board of Directors for Gold Torrent Inc. Gold Torrent is an OTC Bulletin Board listed company, established in 2013, led by individuals with extensive experience in public company management, mining and financial sectors. Daniel Kunz, President of Gold Torrent, is a senior mining executive with more than 35 years in mine development and operations including 17 years with Morrison Knudsen Mining and as President and COO Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. with his career emphasis on mine development.
The Gold Torrent/Miranda Gold project is the Willow Creek Project in Alaska. Gold Torrent plans to develop a small scale-underground mine operation and to bring the currently known mineralization into production, funded by the US$10 million contribution. After adequate access has been developed underground, expansion and exploration drilling will be conducted both during construction and during commercial production. This drilling is expected to expand the known mineralization well beyond the current levels.
Recorded gold production from the Willow Creek District was 667,000 ounces at 1.2 oz Au/t (41.1 g Au/t). Miranda and Gold Torrent believe that potential exists to define additional mineralization similar to historic discoveries with systematic mine and district exploration.
According to political scientists, when a political party becomes superdominant and its opposition effectively neutralized, deeper divisions will emerge from within the party itself.
That dynamic was on display in this year’s primary elections. The Republican Party, which has long dominated the state, has seen divisions brewing for several years and they were especially pronounced on May 20, 2014. Steve Shaw, political analyst at Northwest Nazarene University, called it “an internal battle for the soul of the Idaho GOP.”
With contested primary races in all statewide positions, and with a large number of strong incumbent opposition races for legislative positions, the pundits were pondering if this would be a viabilit test for the Tea Party in Idaho. According to Chuck Todd, political analyst for NBC, Idaho was one of six states where the Tea Party power was to be determined, in addition to Oregon, Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
In a nutshell? In Idaho, “the Idaho GOP establishment seems to be the big winner,” according to Shaw, as is the establishment in the other five states. From the top down in Idaho, incumbents and mainstream republicans ruled the roost: Governor Butch Otter won handily over single-issue Obamacare foe Russ Fulcher, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little over anti-federal government Jim Chmelik, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden over abolish-the-EPA Chris Troupis, former Idaho Speaker of the House Lawrence Denny over a crowded 4-way race, and Controller Branden Woolf over Todd Hatfield.
The highest profile race was between 2nd District U.S. House Congressman Mike Simpson and his opponent Bryan Smith. The “conservative” cash floodgates were opened to irrigate the campaign of Smith by such groups as Club for Growth, The Madison Project and American Conservation Union. Smith, accusing Simpson of working with Democrats, lost by a wide margin.
Legislative incumbents around the state who fell in the primary included Tea Party conservatives: Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, losing to Merrill Beyeler; Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, falling to challenger Abby Lee; and freshman Rep. Doug Hancey, R-Rexburg, losing to Ron Nate.
As is no surprise in republican-dominated Idaho, most races are decided in the primary; a few general election races will be competitive.
Chatter: If you didn’t see it — and it went viral — two fringe gubernatorial candidates received their 15 minutes of fame at the one and only debate for Governor; read the story and watch the video here. Out-of-state friends believed they were watching a Saturday Night Live skit!
Last month’s conclusion of the Idaho Legislature, at 74 days, was the shortest since 2004. At the very end, there was little debate on one of the biggest budget bills of the session in the House, as the Medicaid budget passed on a 44-26. That measure, SB 1424, was the next-to-last bill of the session for the House.
On behalf of our clients, three pieces of legislation were passed this year, dealing with juvenile justice, scrap metal theft and hazardous waste. In addition to these bills, we were supportive of three other pieces of legislation and opposed to a rule proposed by the Idaho Tax Commission. Our efforts now will be to enact the legislation, focus on the primary elections, and to develop unincorporated associations to benefit our clients.
One of the more controversial bills this year was a bill allowing people to carry guns on college campuses. It passed over the opposition of leaders in higher education and law enforcement. In case you haven’t read it yet, here is a link to Boise State biology professor Greg Hampikian’s pungent satire in Thursday’s New York Times exploring the impacts of the Guns on Campus bill, which was signed by the Governor and will become law July 1st. All universities in Idaho opposed the bill and State Board of Education Member Rod Lewis told the committee the bill would mean open carrying of guns at Boise State football games, sending fans away in fear. “It is an open carry bill. It is dangerous and will, if passed, do harm to our colleges and universities,” Lewis said. Hampikian’s editorial asks, “When may I shoot a student?”Hampikian said he “thought it would be a good idea” to begin carrying his own firearm, “since many of my students are likely to be armed.”
On the same day as the end of the session, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney stumped for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, Sen. Jim Risch and Congressman Mike Simpson in Boise, saying he was endorsing the three because they are good conservatives and because they were early endorsers of his presidential campaign. Romney said GOP-dominated Idaho is a good example of how conservative principles can lead to economic prosperity.
Speculation was that there would more primary candidates filing before the March 21 deadline, but the results weren’t overwhelming. Just a year ago last week, Republicans who voted for Gov. Butch Otter’s state-run exchange were warned they’d pay the price in 2014 for defying an angry electorate. But the proportion of those who voted for HB 248 who have primary challengers is identical to that of those who voted no. Fifteen of the 42 Republicans who cast “yes” votes have primary opponents, or 36 percent. Thirteen of the 36 who voted “no” have challengers – also 36 percent. “This is the ultimate reality check,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, whose unseating of former Speaker Lawrence Denney cleared the way for passage of HB 248. “I understand Republican Party leadership had been trying to make this a bigger deal than it is – it is a big deal, I don’t mean to downplay it – but it looks like a wash to me.”