IDAHO FALLS — Senate Education Committee Chairman Dean Mortimer will not seek reelection after his term ends next year.
After nearly 14 years in office, the Idaho Falls Republican is calling it quits, the Post Register’s Nathan Brown reported Tuesday.
“I think it’s time to let someone else serve,” Brown quoted Mortimer as saying. “I’m not a believer that you should serve forever and ever.”
In addition to chairing Senate Education, Mortimer was a longtime member of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, where for years he helped shape the state’s annual K-12 budgets. During the 2015 session, he served as the Senate floor sponsor of the “career ladder” salary law, aimed at addressing teacher shortages through increased pay.
Mortimer also pushed for the 2017 conversion of Eastern Idaho Technical College into the College of Eastern Idaho — an accomplishment he touted as one of his proudest.
Mortimer said this session he’d like to help decrease health insurance costs for teachers and revamp Idaho’s arcane school funding formula — something lawmakers have been unable to do, despite three years of research and failed bills last session.
“There are some things that I would still like to accomplish,” Mortimer told Brown.
Mortimer said he looks forward to spending more time with his family when his term ends.
Mortimer was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006. He moved to the Senate two years later, and has run uncontested ever since. He represents District 30, a heavily Republican area encompassing the city of Ammon and western Bonneville County.
His departure from the Legislature will create an opening for a new chairman of Senate Education for the 2021 session. Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, serves as the vice chairman of the committee.
All 105 seats in the Legislature expire and will be up for election after the 2020 session. Legislators and candidates traditionally announce their election plans between now and the March 13 filing deadline.
Idaho Education News reporter Clark Corbin contributed to this report.