The group that wants Idaho voters to keep the Students Come First education laws in November started its active campaign Monday. A radio ad began playing on 40 stations across the state. It features Idaho First Lady Lori Otter touting advantages of the laws such as more technology in schools and bonuses for teachers. The Yes for Idaho Education campaign manager Ken Burgess says Otter is an ideal spokesperson. He says she’s well liked, versed in the state’s policies and economics and, perhaps most importantly, she’s a former teacher.
“Well I think it’s an advantage in that she’s obviously a very recognizable voice on these issues, which is a voice that I think we’re going to be able to utilize moving forward in a way that I think has a lot of credibility,” he says.
Otter was a high school and middle school health and PE teacher and an elementary school principal before marrying Governor Butch Otter.
Mike Lanza co-chairs the group that opposes the laws, known as Vote No on Propositions One, Two, and Three. He says Lori Otter does have likeability but he doesn’t think she’ll sway voters.
“We have thousands of teachers suggesting that voters should vote no on this," Lanza says. "And we have one former teacher in support of it.”
Some of those teachers can be found on You-tube listing reasons they oppose the laws. For example they say the emphasis on buying technology will lead to larger class sizes. Even though Lanza’s group kicked off the vote no campaign a few weeks ago it does not have ads on traditional media. Lanza says they won’t rule them out but prefer to focus on grass roots efforts.