Whispers. Lots of them. Who is running for what, challenging whom, giving up the ghost, moving to the Senate, finding family again, sauntering off into the sun set. Sometimes we legislators save these tidbits of information for the last moment, seconds before 5 PM on the day of the filing deadline, the 21st of March.
"What is he going to run for?" "Is she retiring?" "Will someone file against me?"
It is the eve of election season and the hour of speculation.
I know well that there will be some surprises out there and some which are probably no longer surprises. We will lose some good people, a few to higher office, maybe gain some harder working or younger legislators, maybe lose some friends in both parties, maybe see some who have earned a challenge get challenged. While many of the seasoned ranks serve in here quietly and comfortably for years or even decades, there can come a time when even the kindest or hardest working have to look over their shoulders at the secretary of state's web site come filing time. For those less diligent that day may come sooner. For Republican feather rufflers and outliers sooner yet. There will be primaries we all know. But some of the less than warm and fuzzy of the 105 of us seem to stand the test of elections again and again, often to the dismay of colleagues and the policy we long for.
This year there will be some shifting around within the body, even within Boise districts. The Senate I suspect will gain some Democratic seats. It could be a good year for Democrats there if voters steel themselves and stay engaged through all the swiftboating and low partisan slander that's sure to come. We have to remember that there are humans behind those faces on the TV screen.
In Idaho, if you are a watcher of politics, March 10th is the day to put the secretary of state's web site in your browser book marks... and watch races begin to unfold here from the Tetons to the Owyhees and all the way up the rivers to the deep lakes south of Canada.
Thirty five districts each representing almost 37,000 people. Your state legislature taking shape. Think you can do a better job than some of us? Chances are you can. That's what we wish of democracy. We are a citizen legislature. There is not a lot of glory, but guaranteed a lot of work. Ordinary folks: farmworkers, soccer moms, teachers, small business owners, social workers, artists, farmers, assembly line workers, waitresses and college students. At its best this place should look like Idaho. We can do better at looking like Idaho. I know we can.