Guest Opinion: Mike Simpson is a fine friend as well as a fine lawmaker

GUEST OPINION: GOP HOUSE PRIMARY

May 11, 2014 

I am writing to give voters a different perspective of U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho. We all have been bombarded with political ads that give us different political views of the candidates.

What sometimes gets lost is what kind of person the candidate is.

So let me present Mike Simpson, my very special friend, to you.

I became a state representative in 1987. I met Mike then. He came to the Idaho House in 1985. In 1989 Mike became assistant majority leader and I became chair of the House Republican Caucus.

We became close friends from the get-go. In 1992 Mike became speaker of the House and I became majority leader. That partnership has endured to this day.

During my service as majority leader I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Mike was the speaker, with all kinds of duties, but he always made the time to take me for my chemotherapy treatments at Mountain States Tumor Institute when my wife couldn't take me.

We became the closest of friends then. When I told him that I was going to shave my head the coming weekend because so much hair was falling out when I showered (it plugged up the drain), he was empathetic.

I told him I didn't want him to be shocked when he looked down on the floor of the House on Monday morning to see that his majority leader had suddenly gone bald.

He informed me that all of leadership had a meeting off the Capitol campus Friday morning at 8 a.m., and I needed to be there.

So, come Friday, Mike, Tom Loertscher, John Tippetts and I headed to Downtown Boise on foot. We entered a beauty shop, which seemed odd to me.

Mike sat himself in one of the chairs and instructed the beautician to shave his head, and she did. John Tippetts then made the comment: "Well, guys, he fell for it, let's go."

We all had a good laugh and proceeded to have our heads shaved. Through all of the disease and treatments, Mike was there. He always was upbeat. We laughed a lot together then, and still do.

I tell this story so people have the opportunity to know Mike Simpson the man.

Mike has always had the courage of his convictions and is beholden to no special interest. He is a man I respect and hold dearly as my friend.

They don't come any better than Mike.

Newcomb, former majority leader and speaker of the Idaho House, is director of government relations at Boise State University.

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