Otter enlists nonpartisan guy, for Luna
Idaho State Journal Editorial Board
February 6, 2012
Idaho State Journal
John Foster, who has done political work for high-ranking Idaho Democrats in the past, now has been enlisted by Republican Gov. Butch Otter to help schools chief Tom Luna win public support in November's referendum on education laws that passed the Legislature last year.
That rankles Democrats, but Foster says the public school reforms are a bipartisan issue and he will not be paid while he serves as an adviser to the governor's office leading up to the vote which could overturn the Luna laws. "It's important to me personally," Foster says.
He is a past executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party and was campaign manager for former Democratic U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick.
But he has lobbied for developers of wind energy, oil and gas. He also testified on behalf of union workers fighting legislation during the 2011 session. He appears to be a hired hand, a mercenary available to sway lawmakers and the public.
Otter describes the Luna reforms as "well-thought out, vigorously debated and hard-won. We're right on the precipice of true reform of our educational system. The old system was not doing the job. And we want the best people to help us explain that to the electorate. I believe John is one of those people."
OK. We'll assume Foster isn't bucking for a post-election job heading up one of the state agencies, that he's truly convinced the Luna plan is necessary.
In case you've forgotten, people on the other side say the plan will undermine teachers, increase class sizes and shift taxpayer money to for-profit, out-of-state companies that will be paid to provide online curriculum and laptops to students.
You probably won't see much of Foster during the summer - lobbyists do their best work out of the spotlight.
But he should hope Luna's reforms pass in November's referendum, because he won't be getting much work from Democrats in the future.
Originally posted at http://thejhub.com/?p=2067103102
The editorial posted here is provided by permission of its original publisher and does not necessarily reflect the views of Idaho Public Television.
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