SUN VALLEY, Idaho – The Idaho Cattle Association is backing Lt. Gov. Brad Little in his run for governor in the 2018 election.
Outgoing ICA President Laurie Lickley announced ICA’s formal endorsement during the organization’s annual convention on Tuesday.
Later, she told Capital Press that ICA’s board of directors met last fall to endorse Little after he announced his candidacy.
“The Idaho Cattle Association does not take endorsement of candidates lightly. His commitment to the association and Idaho’s beef industry has been life-long. His family has been members, supporters and board members over the 100 years the Idaho Cattle Association has been in business,” she said.
ICA’s endorsement isn’t too surprising, said Scott Bedke, speaker of the House and an Oakley rancher.
The Little family are charter members of the Idaho Cattle Association, and the association is proud of their accomplishments, he said.
“The Little family has been one of the real foundational families in the livestock industry for a long time,” he said.
They’ve been active in ICA and other organizations and are civic-minded and civic-driven. It’s not surprising that Little is being endorsed by his home organization, he said.
Little, 62, is a native of Emmett, Idaho, and a third-generation rancher. He was appointed by Gov. Dirk Kempthorne to fill a state Senate vacancy in 2001, elected to the state Senate in 2002 and re-elected three times.
He was appointed lieutenant governor in 2009 by Gov. “Butch” Otter to fill the vacancy left by Jim Risch’s election to the U.S. Senate. He was elected to the office the following year and re-elected in 2014.
Gov. Otter, in the middle of his third term, has stated he is not running for re-election, said Jon Hanian, Otter’s press secretary.
Lickley said she’d personally like to see Otter considered for secretary of the Interior Department.
“He has the appreciation and respect from his colleagues in the executive branch across the West. What he could bring from a natural resources perspective is invaluable,” she said.
He has a deep understanding of natural resources issues and how regulations affect cattle producers, she said.
Bedke said he doesn’t think Gov. Otter has any plans of stepping down early from the governorship but he might step up if the Trump administration asks.