Fun facts about House Ed members

The House Education Committee met for the first time Wednesday morning and started with introductions, announcements and naming sub-committees for rules review.

Rep. Reed DeMordaunt named Rep. Paul Shepherd and Rep. Linden Bateman to chair sub-committees for rules from the State Department of Education and State Board of Education, respectively. Those chairmen will schedule dates and times for those sub-committee meetings where rules will be reviewed and recommendations made to take to the full committee.

After beginning the meeting with introductions, DeMordaunt told the committee and the approximately 20 people in the audience some of his preferences. For example, he said he is a “tech guy” and would prefer committee members try to leverage the use of technology when using documents, including the agendas, and to minimize making copies. He won’t mandate the use of technology but will encourage it. But that said, he reminded committee members to respect those who testify by not using their computers when others are talking.

De Mordaunt said he wants to meet with every committee member individually so they can share their goals and expectations.

DeMordaunt opened his first committee meeting as chair by saying he’s “very impressed” with the quality of individuals on the committee and introducing himself. He said he grew up in Idaho Falls, remembers his favorite teachers and he’s glad to be back living in Idaho after several years living abroad working in international business. Every member then said a few words about themselves and their families for about 40 minutes.

Here are highlights of what the 15 members said (Rep. Richard Wills was not in attendance):

  •  All have children with Rep. Shepherd having the most with nine. Vice chair Rep. Pete Nielson has eight.
  •  Rep. Lucinda Agidius said her husband spent 10 years on the State Board of Education and she, too, has a great passion for higher education. She said she is most concerned about the duplication of programs in higher education that wastes tax dollars.
  •  All three Democrats on the committee are former teachers.
  •  Rep. Hy Kloc has the shortest Idaho history. He was born in Germany and grew up in New York City, where he taught junior high. He recently retired after 11 years working for Boise State Public Radio.
  •  Rep. Donna Pence is a retired health teacher and coach who now runs a tree farm.
  •  Rep. Ron Medive home-schooled his three children and believes in school choice for his grandchildren.
  •  Rep. Julie VanOrden has spent 10 years on her own school board and served in local and national PTA organizations.
  • Rep. Wendy Horman has spent the last 11 years on the Bonneville School Board and she has five children. She confessed to be a “data hound.”
  •  Rep. Terry Gestrin graduated from McCall-Donnelly High and so did his children. He served 10 years as a Valley County Commissioner.
  •  Rep. DeMordaunt has lived in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Tokyo. He now lives in Eagle and owns his own software firm.
Jennifer Swindell

Jennifer Swindell

Managing editor and CEO Jennifer Swindell founded Idaho Education News in 2013. She has led the online news platform as it has grown in readership and engagement every year, reaching over one million pageviews in 2019. Jennifer has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. She also has served as a public information officer for Idaho schools and as a communication director at Boise State University. She can be reached at [email protected].

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