By Zach Hagadone
The Idaho House Democratic Caucus has undergone a makeover following the resignation Dec. 6 of House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise.
Taking his place will be Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, who steps up from her previous position as assistant House Democratic leader. With her position vacant, Rep. John McCrostie, D-Boise, is the new assistant leader.
Rubel ran for the position unopposed while McCrostie prevailed in the election over Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise. Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, rounds out the new leadership as Idaho House Democratic Caucus chair.
In a joint statement, caucus leaders stated: “Our diverse backgrounds from different careers, education and experience make all of us highly qualified to advocate for Idaho values in the Legislature. Although we have some difficult fights ahead of us, we are confident that our team is well equipped to protect the things that Idahoans hold dear: constitutional rights, education, jobs, public lands and integrity in government.
“The Idaho House Democratic leadership is looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the next session. Every session, House Democrats push forward progressive policies that will contribute to Idaho’s success, and we fight legislation that threatens our future prosperity. We expect the 2020 session to be no different.”
Erpelding had represented the deeply progressive North End Boise neighborhood since 2012, including a stint as House assistant minority leader in 2015 and rising to minority leader in 2017. Following his resignation, Erpelding announced he would take a position as vice president of government and community relations for the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Despite the disproportionately Republican-leaning and often fraught partisan divide in the Legislature, House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, had kind words for his former colleague in a statement:
“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.”
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