[Vision2020] Senator Jack Noble resigns

Barrett Schroeder Barrett at hideandfur.com
Tue Mar 8 08:48:11 PST 2005

Idaho State Senator Jack Noble (R-Kuna) resigned
Monday evening. Below is the latest article from the 
Idaho Statesman, along with some commentary and
background information they provided.

This issue has been in the headlines in Boise for 
several weeks, starting with the liquor licensing and
misleading comments and leading to the discovery
by the press that Sen. Noble had failed to pay some
taxes and was in default on some loans.

There is a wealth of more detailed information 
available from the Statesman using the "Article 
Search" in the upper left corner, just type "Noble" 
and choose the "Archive" option to get everything:


Sen. Noble steps down
Sudden decision forestalls vote to expel Kuna senator
by Wayne Hoffman, The Idaho Statesman, 3/8/2005

Link (must be on one line to work):

Kuna Republican Sen. Jack Noble abruptly resigned Monday, avoiding a nasty
debate in the Senate over whether he should be expelled from the

Noble's decision at 6 p.m. Monday was a stunning turn of events; during the
afternoon, he handed out to senators his response to the Senate Ethics
Committee findings that he be censured for seeking legislation for his own
gain and then lying about it.

At nearly 5 p.m. Monday, Noble indicated he was prepared to defend himself
before the 35-member Senate. "Maybe it will bring out the colors," Noble
said when asked why he would put the Senate through a divisive vote.

Meanwhile, Buhl Republican Tom Gannon gathered support to expel Noble, and
said he had amassed as many as 25 senators - more than the two-thirds needed
- to expel Noble. Either vote would have been unprecedented in state

Sometime after 5 p.m., Noble met with Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes.
Not long after, he handed in a one-page letter.

"Dear Pro Tem: As of March 7, 2005, at 6:00 p.m., I hereby submit my
resignation as Senator of District 21. Sincerely, Senator Jack Noble."

"I think it was difficult for both of us," said Geddes who predicted it
would have been a "horrible" Senate fight.

"I did not break his arms to make him sign the paper. We discussed a lot of
things, and he actually told me that it was his decision and that it would
be best for him and his family to take this direction."

Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis said lawmakers who are looking for "bloody
solutions" to Noble's political career are "obviously going to be
disappointed. If, however, people are interested in Sen. Noble leaving the
Senate, then they should be pleased with the result."

Republican leaders in his Kuna-area district will recommend to Gov. Dirk
Kempthorne three people to replace Noble. Kempthorne will pick one to
represent District 21, which has about 37,000 residents.

"What he did was in everybody's best interest," said Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a
former political adversary, who, as president of the Senate, would have been
responsible for doling out Noble's punishment. "It was not going to be a
happy moment for anybody."

Last week, the Senate Ethics Committee had determined that Noble had
violated state ethics laws by authoring a bill that could benefit him
directly. The bill would have made it possible for his Melba store,
Jacksmart, to sell liquor even though it is directly across the street from
an elementary school. When asked who was behind the legislation, Noble
offered the Senate State Affairs Committee such evasive answers that the
panel rejected the bill.

Later, with the media bearing down on him for failing to disclose a possible
conflict of interest as required by state law, Noble hurriedly called for an
Ethics Committee to investigate him and clear his name.

But matters quickly worsened for Noble. He told the Ethics Committee he knew
while presenting his legislation that partisan elected officials are barred
from having a license to sell liquor. But two days after that, Noble
admitted that he had learned of the regulation only the previous weekend and
that his testimony, under oath, "could have misled the committee."

Still, the Ethics Committee voted unanimously Friday to recommend that the
full Senate censure Noble and strip him of his vice chairmanship of the
Education Committee, but allow him to remain in office.

Republican Brent Hill of Rexburg was pleased that his committee's work will
never come to a vote of the full Senate.

"I just think it would have been very hard on the Senate as a whole," Hill
said. "I'm glad he spared us a vote on it. I think it was the proper thing
to do."

Noble still faces tax liens from the state for about $11,000 in back sales
and unemployment insurance taxes, and a possible foreclosure on his assets
for allegedly defaulting on more than $724,000 in loans.

Noble cast vote against Qwest deregulation

Jack Noble graduated from Kuna High School in 1979 and turns 44 on March 30.
He and his wife Tracey own a grocery store in Melba, Jacksmart, and an ag
business called Moo Brew Inc.
He was first elected to the Senate in 2002, but his first contest in 2000
was memorable for the narrow margin in which he lost to then-Senate Majority
Leader Jim Risch. Noble sued Risch and Ada County election officials over
the results of the election, but lost that court fight. During his tenure in
the Legislature, Noble has had a relatively undistinguished career, but in
2004, he cast a pivotal vote that killed Qwest Communication's telephone
deregulation bill for the year.

Risch's son among possible replacements

The Republican leaders from District 21 will pick and rank three people as
candidates to replace Jack Noble. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne will pick one from
the list. Kempthorne normally picks the top candidate, but selecting a
runner-up has happened recently.
In 2003, acting Gov. Jim Risch selected Cliff Bayer to replace Rep. Fred
Tilman, who moved on to the Ada County Commission. Risch made that choice
over the party's first pick, former Rep. Lyman "Gene" Winchester of Kuna.
Winchester had been a strong supporter of Risch's opponent, Jack Noble, in
the 2000 Republican primary for the state Senate. Risch won renomination for
an 11th term in the Senate that spring but only by 51 votes.
Possible candidates include Lt. Gov. Jim Risch's son, Jason, who declined
comment for this story, and Bayer, a second-term state representative. Bayer
could not be reached for comment.

Reaction from Noble's legislative district

Sharon Fisher, Kuna resident and Democratic precinct captain: "I'm torn.
Certainly, in terms of the sort of leadership he would be able to provide in
this district, now it's better. But as a Democrat, we were certainly looking
forward to competing against him in 2006 rather than having the governer
appoint someone and have a de facto incumbent.
"I'm not going to make a judgment about what he should do or not do. That's
not for me to say."

Richard Grass, Kuna resident: "I think he did the right thing. That's

Dave Tilton, who lives in an unincorporated Ada County area in District 21:
"It (censure decision) did give him an opportunity to do the right thing,
which is resign. It allows the state Legislature and also Sen. Noble to move
on, to come to a resolution without having to make this an ongoing issue
until his re-election.
"I do respect him for making the correct decision in my mind. Do I think
better of him? I don't know."

Michelle Tripp, Kuna resident: "I actually supported him in the campaign.
I'm disappointed, knowing him as a person, because I thought he was a
certain kind of guy, and it appears I was incorrect.
"I think it was probably a good choice. I think it would be hard for him to
represent us after being found guilty of being deceptive.
"I'm glad he wasn't expelled, because that would have been too extreme for
what he did. But I think it was right that he resigned."

Charter school wants Noble to resign board

Former Sen. Jack Noble has been asked to give up his seat on the Falcon
Ridge Public Charter School board, said Heather Dyer, board chairman.
A charter school and a public school need to stand for ethics, Dyer said
Monday. "I think as a director and as public officials we are more of a role
model to our children. And whether Jack was right or wrong, it's just too
much controversy for a charter school."
The charter school board will meet at 7 p.m. March 15 at the Kuna Library,
457 N. Locust.
The board will likely discuss Noble's future as a director in executive
session and take an open vote in the public meeting, Dyer said.
The board can remove Noble even if he doesn't resign, she said.
Dyer said she doesn't know whether Noble will attend the meeting.
Noble was a founding member of the charter school's board of directors. His
term runs through June 2006.
Board members sent Noble a letter last week seeking his resignation. Dyer
said he received the letter on Saturday. "Basically we asked him to resign -
to try to allow him to do that," Dyer said. "We don't want to hurt him."
Falcon Ridge was approved by the state's Charter School Commission last fall
to open in August.

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