Letters from the West

Political flier suggests Barrett soft on "Canadian wolves"

Republican Rep. Lenore Hardy Barrett of Challis is one of the Idaho Legislature’s most unbending conservatives. The charming widow of a miner has made her name with her sharp tongue, describing, for example, the choice in the Idaho health exchange as “like being locked up in the back yard with a bunch of rabid dogs.

“You get to pick whether or not to be eaten by the pit bull, the Rottweiler or the wolf half-breed.”

Anyone who knows her would not call her soft on anything. But a political flier that went to residents in Valley, Gem and Boise counties, relatively new parts of his legislative district suggests Barrett is soft on wolves.

“Since being introduced in Idaho, Canadian Gray Wolves have decimated the elk population in Central Idaho – and in the last year killed nearly 500 livestock and threatened our way of life. But career politician Lenore Barrett doesn’t seem to worry about that. Lenore voted twice against Legislation that would help us combat our wolf problem.”

It goes on to say Barrett voted twice against legislation to combat the problem. That part is true. Barrett, one of the tightest lawmakers in the Capitol, voted against setting up the Idaho Wolf Control Board to spend taxpayer dollars to kill wolves.

“We have created enough boards in this body to build an ark,” she said at a committee hearing in February.

The flier was sponsored by the Idaho Prosperity Fund, the political action committee of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. Barrett’s Republican opponents are Merrill Beyeler of Leadore and Brent Adamson of Idaho City.

To those of us who have known Barrett for years the only thing she hates more than wolves is raising taxes. She insisted that when Idaho approved its wolf plan in 2001, it include the demand: “that wolf recovery efforts in Idaho be discontinued immediately, and wolves be removed by whatever means necessary.”

But I know that usually most voters know very little about their Idaho Legislature candidates especially when they have such a huge district that stretches from Gem County all the way to Jefferson County in eastern Idaho. For some voters this flier may be all they learn about this race.