Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A job well done

The end of the Legislature's session this year means the end of District 25 Rep. Wendy Jaquet's service as the elected voice of the people of Blaine, Camas, Lincoln and Gooding counties.

For nine terms and 18 years, she braved snowstorms, wandering wildlife and icy roads to bring her district's perspective to a Legislature that often didn't want to hear it. As a Democrat, Jaquet was part of a House minority that some years numbered so few they could fit into a Smart Car. She was minority leader for 10 years and brought her considerable powers of persuasion to bear on a majority that often perceived her district as a different planet.

Jaquet became expert in playing defense, yet never quit trying to get the majority to see things her way. She protected school funding and staved off attacks on cities' ability to fund improvements and the ability of local movie fans to enjoy a glass of wine. She helped defeat a coal-fired power plant in another district that would have fouled air and water in hers.

She fought for local control in tourism-related matters, including transportation, workforce housing, liquor licenses and taxation. She championed women, kids, seniors and the arts. Again and again, she deftly diverted and distracted the bulls headed for the district's china shop.

Jaquet burned a lot of shoe leather to bring together constituents of every stripe. Her organizing skills are legendary.

When she ran for office after raising a family and serving as executive director of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, she laughingly called herself a "late bloomer." It was voters' lucky day when this savvy woman decided "better late than never."

Job well done, Rep. Jaquet.

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