Letters from the West

Melba farmer-rancher sworn in as Trump presidential assistant

Layne Bangerter, a Melba farmer, was sworn in Saturday as assistant to President Donald Trump. He is working on issues at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Layne Bangerter, a Melba farmer, was sworn in Saturday as assistant to President Donald Trump. He is working on issues at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The first Idahoan to join the Trump Administration was sworn in Saturday.

Layne Bangerter was sworn in shortly after noon in Washington, D.C., as special assistant to President Donald Trump.

Bangerter, 54, a Melba farmer and rancher who helped Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo craft a bill to protect wilderness and ranching in Owyhee County, has been working on President Trump’s transition. He is working on the Trump program to reform the Environmental Protection Agency, said Bangerter’s friend Phil Hardy, who was at the ceremony.

Bangerter headed the Trump campaign in Idaho that carried the state in a landslide. He served as an adviser to Donald Trump Jr. on western natural resource issues and traveled with Trump Jr. and Vice President Mike Pence during the campaign.

He worked for Crapo for 13 years, helping him pass the Owyhee Public Land Management Act. He worked with ranchers, local officials, conservationists, hunters and anglers, motorized recreation groups, outfitters and others to hammer out the details of the bill that protected 500,000 acres of wilderness, more than 300 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, and allowed ranchers to keep their operations viable.

“Layne has unique on-the-ground experience with how Federal policies affect land, water and people,” Crapo said. “His insight will be extremely valuable to the Trump Administration.”

He also worked with Crapo on forest issues, the delisting of wolves, salmon and water issues. Before joining Crapo’s staff, Bangerter worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services agency as a supervisory wildlife biologist.

Bangerter and his wife Betsy have five daughters and three sons. He has a wildlife management and range degree from Brigham Young University. He serves as a bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Bangerter was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to American parents and grew up in Utah. He has lived in Idaho 28 years.

Rocky Barker: 208-377-6484, @RockyBarker

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