Pledging to defend students’ and parents’ interests on the state’s Land Board — and maintaining nonpartisanship in the state’s elections office — state Rep. Holli Woodings jumped into the secretary of state’s race on Friday.
“I’ve always been dedicated to nonpartisanship, bipartisan solutions,” said Woodings, a Boise Democrat elected to the Legislature in 2012.
Woodings joins a crowded race to succeed retiring Republican Ben Ysursa in 2014. Four Republicans are squaring off in the May 20 primary: state Rep. Lawerence Denney; former state Sens. Evan Frasure and Mitch Toryanski; and deputy Ada County clerk Phil McGrane.
The secretary of state carries out several functions — including overseeing the state’s elections division and business registration. The secretary of state’s one policy function, with a direct tie to public education, comes as one of five members of the State Land Board. The board sets policy for state endowment lands that fund several beneficiaries — the largest being K-12 schools.
Woodings said she believes the state has “a lot of latitude” in terms of managing its holdings to maximize returns. “I look forward to diving into that.”
Woodings said she began considering the race after Ysursa announced his plans to retire. She said she wanted to maintain the nonpartisan approach to elections embodied by Ysursa and his predecessor, longtime secretary of state Pete Cenarussa.
A self-described “voting geek,” Woodings told reporters that the first thing she did on her 18th birthday was to register to vote.
Woodings turned 35 on Friday.