Idaho House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, who served on agriculture and natural-resources committees, has resigned to take a job as Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce vice president of government and community relations.
Erpelding, D-Boise, owns Idaho Mountain Guides and is an adjunct professor in the Boise State University College of Innovation and Design.
He represents District 19 that includes north and northwest Boise. He was first elected to the House in 2012 and has served as minority leader since 2017. He served on House Agricultural Affairs, Resources and Conservation, Revenue and Taxation, and Ways and Means committees during the 2019 legislative session.
Erpelding, 44, took a broad approach to his work on Ag Affairs and Resources and Conservation committees.
“I built really strong relationships with my Republican colleagues, and advocates on both sides,” he said in an interview. “I tried to clearly understand the issues and do what’s best. There were times where District 19 was not impacted, but other districts were going to be. I really tried to do my best for the state of Idaho, and I think the ag groups saw that. And we built a strong relationship.”
The legislature’s January-April schedule eventually took a toll on Erpelding’s business, although “I don’t regret a minute of it,” he said. In guiding and outdoor recreation, the same time of year is key for business development and contract signing.
Leaving the legislature “was an incredibly tough decision,” he said. “And it really has been the greatest honor to work with so many different constituents and advocate for Idaho.”
In a Dec. 4 letter to Gov. Brad Little, House Speaker Scott Bedke and colleagues, Erpelding said he is making the move for family and career reasons, and that his legislative service “has been the most significant professional honor of my life.”
At Boise Metro Chamber, Erpelding will succeed Ray Stark, who will remain during a transitional period.
“I am deeply honored to be selected for it,” Erpelding said. The chamber works on myriad issues at city, county and state levels, and is “truly committed to improving our community. I am really excited to be a part of that.”
Bedke, in a statement, congratulated Erpelding on his new position and said he will be missed.
“I know Rep. Erpelding’s experience and abilities, as well as his love for the City of Boise, equip him to serve in this position ably and with dedication,” Bedke said. “While I am personally happy that he has been afforded this new opportunity, I am also sorry he is leaving the House of Representatives. In his position as Minority Leader, he has proven to be an insightful and collaborative legislator. We will miss him, but we wish him every success in his new position.”
When his resignation takes effect, the District 19 Democratic Central Committee has 15 days to name three potential replacements — traditionally by letter to the governor, who in turn has 15 days to make the selection.
“Generally the governor likes to fill these open positions quickly so the people of Idaho are well represented,” said Marissa Morrison, Little’s press secretary. A new representative is likely to be in place before the start of the 2020 legislative session Jan. 6.