With Mat Erpelding’s step up to House minority leader, Boise Democrat Ilana Rubel takes his former role as assistant leader.
“It was not exactly how I hoped to come into the role, but we are where we are,” said Rubel, referring to the election loss of Erpelding’s predecessor, Rep. John Rusche of Lewiston.
Rubel, 44, a Toronto native, is a Harvard-educated lawyer who came to Boise with her husband, also a lawyer, in 1999. She now works in intellectual property law for technology companies. She’s in her third term representing District 18 (Southeast Boise).
Her new role, she said, will give her a chance to “be part of the conversation at a high level” and “steer things more.”
“Once trains get going on the track they get very difficult to steer or control, and I’m hoping that this role will give me an opportunity to see the train before it starts and maybe have some more input before things get out of control,” she said.
She likes and respects Erpelding, she said.
“I’m glad that he had as much of an opportunity as he did to work under John Rusche and be deeply mentored,” she said. “I think he’s going to be a really terrific leader. He’s a strong and good-hearted person. He’s very well spoken and he articulates our positions very well.”
Democrats, she said, “are ready to do the work of many.
“We represent hundreds of thousands people in the state. They deserve to have a voice,” she said. “I’m hopeful that the majority won’t just arbitrarily shut us down and that they will respect the people that we represent, not just us personally, and let us be heard extensively.”