Ward-Engelking on State Senate Bid: 'I Thought About It Long and Hard'


When Boise Weekly sat down with Boise Democratic Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking to preview the upcoming 2014 session of the Idaho Legislature, the first-term legislator said she was going to be ready to serve in either the House or Senate.

"I thought about it long and hard," Ward-Engelking told BW. "I love the House and coming in with a group of freshmen earlier this year was a lot of fun."

But Ward-Engelking is on a very short list of names being considered to fill the District 18 Senate seat that has been vacated by Branden Durst. Durst announced in November that he would resign his Senate seat to "focus on his family's needs."

"I know how hard Branden worked to get to the State Senate and how much he loved the job," said Ward-Engelking.

Ward-Engelking is currently a member of the House Education and Resources and Conservation committees. She told BW that if she were to replace Durst, she expected to take over his assignments on the Agriculture, Education and Commerce and Human Resources committees.

In addition to Ward-Engelking, District 18 Democratic leaders have submitted two other names: Lawrence Crowley, president and director of the Energy Strategies Group; and Elizabeth Oppenheimer, executive director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children.

The short list was agreed upon by District 18 Democratic precinct captains and forwarded to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, who is expected to make a decision by Christmas.

If Ward-Engelking is selected, that would trigger another round of decision-making as to how to fill her House seat.

The 2014 Idaho Legislature convenes Monday, Jan. 6, when Otter delivers his State of the State address.