State Politics

Gov.-elect Little is hand-picking the team that will run Idaho’s government

Idaho Gov.-elect Brad Little announces job openings in his new administration

Idaho Gov.-elect Brad Little is accepting applications for his staff and cabinet positions via a new website,, that lists open positions and other news about his transition to becoming Idaho's 33rd governor.
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Idaho Gov.-elect Brad Little is accepting applications for his staff and cabinet positions via a new website,, that lists open positions and other news about his transition to becoming Idaho's 33rd governor.

Brad Little has announced a slew of job openings — and he wants to start his tenure as Idaho’s 33rd governor by hand-picking his own staff and Cabinet.

“We want Idahoans to know we are open for business,” Little said during a news conference Tuesday at the Capitol. “We are actively recruiting talent right now. We want the best and the brightest from Idaho. We want a diverse, talented, hard-working crew to work for the people of the state of Idaho.”

The governor is responsible for appointing more than two dozen Cabinet positions, including directors for state police, environmental quality, health and welfare, and water resources, among others.

Additionally, the governor’s office staff comprises more than one dozen positions. Those are all open, too, although Little has already selected his chief of staff, Zach Hauge, who was also his campaign manager.

“Everyone has to reapply,” Little said, meaning there will be no unintentional staff or Cabinet holdovers from Republican Gov. Butch Otter’s administration.

Little, a Republican who has served as lieutenant governor since 2009, said he will consider current and former members of Otter’s staff and Cabinet who are interested in retaining the position they currently hold.

“We need people to look at it through a new clear vision; that doesn’t mean they cannot be an existing candidate,” he said.

Help wanted: Governor’s office

All the available positions and applications are posted to the transition’s new website,

“We have already started collecting applications and resumes. ... I filled out one today to apply for governor,” Little joked. “I am pretty confident I am going to be successful.”

Little continued, “We really do want to have the best people. We want people who have had experience in public policy and government. We want people who have had experience in the community. We want people who have been successful in the philanthropic areas.”

But this doesn’t mean Little plans on hiring a lot of people from out-of-state to help him run the Gem State.

“I would predict that the bulk of them will be Idahoans,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of great people and great talent in Idaho.”

Even Democrats will be considered, Little said.

“Last time I checked, I’m governor of the whole state of Idaho, and even Democrats count.”

Little made clear, though, one thing he does not want is people who fail to disclose conflicts of interest.

“We want full declarations of any kind of a conflict,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty high level for declarations of conflict.”

Little said he does not want want to be caught unaware when members of the media or others ask him “’Did you know that so-and-so did this?’“ he said. “I want to be able to answer that question right up. I want to know what any conflicts are. That will be part of our process not only in the transition but in my entire administration.”

Little said he is moving quickly on filling his staff and Cabinet positions. He wants many of the positions filled before Christmas so he and his new staff and Cabinet can get started preparing his budget and state of the state address, which Little will present on Jan. 7 when the 2019 Idaho Legislature convenes.

Little names transition committee members

Little announced last week that Brian Wonderlich, an attorney and partner at Holland and Hart, is head of his transition committee.

On Tuesday, Little named 15 people he said he personally knows and respects to be members of his unpaid transition committee. They are:

  • Wiley Dobbs, Twin Falls, former superintendent, Twin Falls School District

  • Bill Gilbert, Boise, co-founder and managing director, The Caprock Group, Inc.

  • Cally Grindstaff, Fairfield, retired, Clear Springs Food

  • Tom Harris, Meridian, president, Western States CAT

  • Debbie Hetherington, Boise, retired owner and partner, Premier Insurance

  • Joy Kealey, Boise, vice president, Silver Creek Holding Company; co-owner, Chicago Connection

  • Pete Koehler, Caldwell, retired chief deputy, State Department of Education

  • Tom Lovell, Boise, president, Professional Firefighters of Idaho

  • Edward Miller, Boise, partner, Givens Pursley

  • Vicki Risch, Boise, former first Lady of Idaho

  • Megan Ronk, Meridian, director, Business Innovation & Development, Idaho Power; former director, Idaho Department of Commerce

  • Kevin Settles, Boise, owner, Bardenay

  • Cindy Siddoway, Mud Lake, rancher and Republican National Committeewoman

  • Tom Stoeser, Coeur d’Alene, CEO, Riverbend Commerce Park

  • Ben Ysursa, Boise, former Idaho Secretary of State.

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