[Vision2020] Otter defiant in third inaugural message

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Sat Jan 10 07:29:56 PST 2015

"A lone, bearded protester at the back of the crowd held up a sign saying . . . 


Courtesy of today's (January 10, 2015) Spokesman-Review.


Otter defiant in third inaugural message
BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter struck a defiant tone in his third inaugural address today, declaring, “We stand for what’s right, here in Idaho.”

“Where we draw the line is having others’ views imposed on us as mandates out of misguided political correctness or a lack of respect for our history, traditions and values,” the governor said in one of several apparent references to his ongoing fight against same-sex marriage, which became legal in Idaho on Oct. 15. Otter is currently pressing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Asked by reporters a day earlier if he wasn’t wasting taxpayers’ money to continue the court fight, Otter said he was committed to protecting the Idaho Constitution, which was amended by voters in 2006 to ban gay marriage. He compared it to press freedoms under the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment, saying he wouldn’t give those up without a fight either.

When Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick administered the oath of office to Otter on the chilly state Capitol steps today, the governor added an extra two words, with emphasis, when asked if he’d support the Constitution of the state of Idaho: “I will support and defend the Constitution of the state of Idaho,” he declared.

A crowd of more than 200 gathered for the state’s official inaugural ceremony, at which Otter and the other six statewide elected officials were sworn in; the applause was muted from the gloved and bundled-up crowd. The 25th Army Band played, and Ashlyn Allen, Miss Pre-Teen Idaho, sang the national anthem and “God Bless the USA.”

Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, in his introduction of Otter, praised his character and integrity. “I have beheld a statesman,” he said, “one motivated by principles, not politics, even when he’s facing criticism or ridicule or political threats.”

Otter, going off script, said, “Thank you, Brent – I could have listened to that all day. I must tell you my feelings are a bit tender, but my spirits are high. Especially after that introduction.”

He referred to “a long and arduous campaign.” Otter was re-elected in November with 53.5 percent of the vote, after he survived a primary challenge from then-Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Russ Fulcher, R-Meridian, with 51.4 percent of the vote.

Otter noted that when he last took the oath four years earlier, Idaho was struggling out of a deep recession. Now, he said, it’s “one of the best managed, fastest-growing and most economically promising states in America.”

“That is due in no small part to the fact that here in Idaho, we don’t just talk about our principles and values, we live them,” he said.

“We want more than any national government or collection of outside experts possibly could for Idaho to succeed, for Idaho to prosper, and for Idaho to be a place where hope is inspired, faith is embraced, and charity is a way of life,” Otter told the crowd. “We know who we are. We are proud of who we are. We are not blown off course by the shifting winds of change or someone else’s idea of what’s right for Idaho.”

Otter, 72, said, “For anyone who believes my commitment to liberty has been eroded by age or sullied by expedience … watch closely over the next four years. You will see that the fiery idealism of my youth has only been supplanted by a strong and tempered confidence born of time and experience.”

A lone, bearded protester at the back of the crowd held up a sign saying, “SAVE A WOLF, EDUCATE AN OTTER.”

The crowd included Harley Brown, the fringe candidate who ran against Otter in the primary and who dresses in leather biker gear; Otter shook his hand after the ceremony.

Otter is only the second Idaho governor to win a third consecutive four-year term in office; the first was Robert Smylie in 1962; Idaho’s longest-serving governor, Cecil Andrus, was elected four times, but served as U.S. secretary of the interior between his second and third terms as governor.

Before being elected governor in 2006, Otter served three terms in Congress and 14 years as lieutenant governor.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

"There's room at the top they are telling you still.
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill."

- John Lennon
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