Wednesday, November 1, 2006

District 25 lawmakers running unopposed

Stennett, Jaquet, Pence look forward to winter legislative session

Express Staff Writer

The contests for District 25 state Legislature seats don't exist this election season. The biggest battle will be among the three local incumbents for informal bragging rights about who nabs the most votes.

Of the Idaho Legislature's 106 House and Senate seats, 41 are hosting unopposed races this fall. Of those, 11 are incumbent Democrats, and 29 are incumbent Republicans. One is a member of the Constitutional party.

Locally, District 25 Sen. Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, and Reps. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, and Donna Pence, D-Gooding, are running unopposed. District 25 includes Blaine, Camas, Lincoln and Gooding counties.

Except for her initial election in 1994, Jaquet has never faced an opponent, save for a write-in. Stennett has procured a handful of opponents in his 16 years, but not many. They are the minority leaders in the House and Senate, respectively, and those are posts both said they hope to retain this winter.

Both lawmakers attributed their success to hard work and careful listening.

"I work really hard at staying in touch with the voters," Jaquet said. "I'm all over the district. I'm responsive to my constituents."

Stennett, who was first elected to the House in 1990 and later to the Senate in 1994, put it this way:

"Although I'm the partisan leader of my caucus, I believe that I represent a broad constituency and do my constituents' service well," he said. "Once I'm elected, I serve everybody. I work for Republicans and Independents. People continue to respect that."

Stennett said he is looking forward to retaining posts on the state affairs, resources and agriculture committees. His focus as a lawmaker over the years has been on water and wildlife issues "and those three assignments will enable me to continue that work."

Pence is completing her first two-year term at the Legislature. She was elected in November 2004 when she beat long-time incumbent Rep. Tim Ridinger, R-Shoshone.

The lawmakers said they were looking forward to the winter session, where they would work on property tax, education, water, wildlife habitat and a myriad of other issues.

"I've been fortunate enough to serve the four Magic Valley counties the last 16 years, and I'm looking forward to doing it again," Stennett said.

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