Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stennett temporarily fills Senate seat

Official appointment needed to replace former senator

Express Staff Writer

Gov. Butch Otter has chosen Michelle Stennett, Democratic state Senate candidate for the seat of her late husband, Clint Stennett, to temporarily fill the vacancy left by his death.

Clint Stennett, who died Oct. 14 from brain cancer, had not sat in the Legislature since 2008. Former Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson and Michelle Stennett filled in for him during the 2009 and 2010 sessions.

However, neither substitute was officially appointed to the seat. Though the Legislature is not currently in session, Idaho code requires the seat of a deceased legislator to be filled, even in an election year.

Michelle Stennett will hold the seat until Dec. 2, when the newly elected senator will be sworn in. The 2011 session will begin Jan. 10.

"There are always things that come up, and we've had special sessions before," District 25 state Rep. Wendy Jaquet said. "Basically, it's what the code says you have to do."

Michelle Stennett was one of three people nominated by a committee composed of the Democratic Party precinct captains of the four counties included in District 25. Stennett's name along with that of Ketchum resident Betty Murphy, a former chair of the Blaine County Democrats, and Wendell resident Julie Lynch were submitted to Otter on Monday morning.

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