Longtime North Idaho lawmaker dies, 'will be missed'

November 28, 2013 

Mary Lou Shepherd.

Former North Idaho Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd has died, Democratic party officials announced Thursday.

Shepherd, 80, represented the Silver Valley in the Idaho House from 2000 to 2010. She died Wednesday, surrounded by family and friends, Idaho Democratic Party Communication Director Dean Ferguson said.

“Mary Lou served Idahoans with distinction and advocated for her constituents in an honest and common sense way, House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said in a news release. “She was a valued member of the Idaho House of Representatives and one of the influential ‘Lunch Bucket Democrats’ who families could count on.

“She was a courteous and kind leader who worked well with colleagues on either side of the aisle,” Rusche continued. “People in the Silver Valley trusted her and knew that she represented them well in the Statehouse. She worked hard to improve Idaho’s transportation system and to keep our highways safe by supporting Idaho State Police. Her greatest achievement, though perhaps also the most understated, was the energy and work that she put into constituent service. She will be missed.”

Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review blogged Thursday that Shepherd, a Prichard resident and retired restaurant/tavern owner, was known for departing from other Democrats in the House “to cast votes she said reflected the views of her district – often polling and keeping track of her constituents’ input via their calls and emails.”

“Mary Lou invented constituent service,” former House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, told Russell. “I remember her as always on the phone with some agency working on a solution for a constituent. She was hard-working, cared deeply about Idaho and her district. … She had a large number of legislators on both sides of the aisle who were very fond of her.”

Information about funeral arrangements or when Shepherd died was not immediately available Thursday.

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