State superintendent Sherri Ybarra hired a prominent Republican deputy state controller to join her staff.
Dan Goicoechea, one of Ybarra’s earliest supporters and campaign donors, started Monday as Ybarra’s deputy for government affairs. According to a State Department of Education news release, Goicoechea will serve as Ybarra’s point person on the Idaho Land Board, as well as Ybarra’s new primary media contact. Ybarra’s previous press secretary Jeff Church left the SDE on Friday to take a different role at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Goicoechea brings extensive government and data management experience to Ybarra’s office. He most recently served as State Controller Brandon Woolf’s chief deputy state controller, a position he held for almost five years.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Goicoechea served as a board member for IDeal, a state-sponsored college savings program. In 2013, Gov. Butch Otter appointed Goicoechea to the Idaho Technology Authority, where he served as chairman.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and public service to the department, which will greatly benefit me in my service to the schoolchildren and the citizens of Idaho,” Ybarra said in a written statement. “With his extensive background in Idaho state government, natural resource issues and management from both the private and public sector, he will be the point person on issues critical to the Land Board, Department of Lands, and the state’s Public School Endowments.”
When Ybarra was a rookie political candidate in 2014, Goicoechea was one of the first to help her navigate the political campaign, and one of the first to support her financially. Idaho’s most recent campaign finance disclosures show that Goicoechea kicked in another $100 in June of this year, accounting for 11 percent of all money Ybarra raised during the first six months of 2017.
In 2014, Goicoechea explained his support for Ybarra.
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“She’s the only one who is different and female and a real teacher,” he said at the time. “She asked me to contribute and I liked her so I did.”
Goicoechea is also a former sheriff’s deputy, and he will continue to serve as a commissioner on the Idaho Public Safety Communications Commission, the SDE announced.