Old line extractive occupations dominate key Idaho legislative committee

No committee of the Idaho state legislature have more influence over wildife than than the Senate and the House Resource and Conservation Committees. A look at the occupations of those on the committees show they represent an Idaho of days gone by.

This kind of occupational, and so viewpoint unrepresentativeness, is fairly common in legislatures, but many would say the figures below are dramatic. You should also notice the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Here is the rooster of the committees:

Idaho House Resource and Conservation Committee


Chair John A. Stevenson (semi-retired farmer)
Vice Chair Paul E. Shepherd (Partner/Manager, Shepherd Sawmill & Log Homes)
JoAn E. Wood (Partner farm/ranch)
Maxine T. Bell (Retired Farmer/Retired School Librarian)
Lenore Hardy Barrett (mining, investments)
Mike Moyle (Agribusiness)
George E. Eskridge (Real Estate)
Dell Raybould (Farmer/Businessman)
Scott Bedke (Rancher)
Ken Andrus (Cattle and sheep rancher)

Fred Wood (Physician/Medical Director)
Judy Boyle (Rancher/Freelance Writer)
Marv Hagedorn (Retired Naval Officer/CEO, International Trading Firm)
R. J. Harwood (Self-Employed Businesses)


George C. Sayler (Retired teacher)
Liz Chavez (Retired middle school teacher)
Phylis K. King (Commercial photographer)
Donna L. Pence (Retired Teacher/Tree Farmer)

– – – – – – – – –

Idaho Senate Resource and Conservation Committee


Chair Gary J. Schroeder (Business Owner/Outdoor Writer)
Vice Chair Steve Bair (Retired farmer)
Dean L. Cameron (Owner, Insurance & Investment Agency)
Monty J. Pearce (Rancher)
Charles H. Coiner (Farmer)
Jeff C. Siddoway (Rancher)
Bert Brackett (Rancher)


Clint Stennett (Entrepreneur)*
Elliot Werk (not listed)

*Stennett is ill, and has been temporarily replaced by acting-senator Jon Thorson (former mayor Sun Valley)

– – – – –

Folks might be interested in a guest editorial on one of the House Republican’s finest, Rep. Lenore Barrett. “We must stop collaborating with wacko enviros.” Reader’s View (on the omnibus public lands bill). By Lenore Barrett. Idaho Statesman






  1. outsider Avatar

    maybe someone should run against these individuals, if their not representing their disticts they should be easy pickins.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Someone probably should. Given the economy, some would be easy pickens.

    However, even defeat doesn’t stop the pervasive bias of appointment to a legislature’s standing committees.

  3. Bonnie Avatar

    Maybe part of the problem is the preception that these type of people have more experience and interest in conservation and resources, the same type of thinking that got Salazar in. I mean, you would assume that a rancher or miner would know more about resources and conservation than and owner of a grocery store. The problem is that while they may know more about the subject, there is also a huge conflict of interest potential.

  4. jimbob Avatar

    I think Bonnie is correct, that is the average person’s PERCEPTION, but should not be the reality. These people get into politics to grind their own axe, so to speak. We have the same problem in Arizona, except add “Energy” to the list of businesses–both drilling and owning energy companies!

  5. matt bullard Avatar
    matt bullard

    There is a group called Conservation Voters for Idaho that is working to make the Idaho Legislature (as well as other elected offices in the state) a more conservation-friendly place. It is harder work that one could imagine, but it is important work. Check out the web-site to get more information. Any donations would be greatly appreciated and will be used to help hold our elected officials accountable for their record of conservation, or lack thereof.


    Full disclosure – I am on the board.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan