State Politics

Idaho Gov. Otter released from hospital after nearly 2 weeks

Gov. Butch Otter delivers his annual state of the state address to kick-off the 2017 Idaho Legislature on Jan. 9, 2017 at the Statehouse in Boise.
Gov. Butch Otter delivers his annual state of the state address to kick-off the 2017 Idaho Legislature on Jan. 9, 2017 at the Statehouse in Boise. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter was released from the hospital Thursday after being admitted on July 14 for his second back surgery in a week and then remaining hospitalized for treatment for a post-surgery infection.

Otter, 75, first underwent surgery on July 7 to treat a bulging disk in his back; the second surgery followed a week later.

“He is continuing to recover,” said his press secretary, Jon Hanian. “The new information is now he’s recovering at home, which we are delighted to be able to say.”

Otter has continued to work throughout his hospitalization, but Lt. Gov. Brad Little took over as acting governor whenever the governor was undergoing surgery or other procedures that required general or local anesthesia. Little’s last stint as acting governor was last Wednesday and Thursday.

While hospitalized at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Otter stayed in touch with his staff and received daily briefings. He also conducted some official business, including issuing a statement on the Idaho Supreme Court’s grocery tax ruling and appointing a new member to the state Board of Parks and Recreation.

“His status is much improved,” Hanian said. “He’s doing much better.”

However, Hanian added, “The recovery process is going to take a little bit of time. The doctors are being very cautious about everything still, but they felt that he was well enough to be discharged, and he is at home.”

There’s no estimate yet as to when Otter will return to work at the governor’s office.

“I can tell you he’s anxious to get back into the office,” Hanian said, “but we know that this isn’t on our timetable or his. He’s in the care of the doctors, and whenever they say he’s ready to come back, I’m sure they will let him know that.”

Otter is in his third term as governor; he doesn’t plan to seek a fourth.

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