Jim Risch

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

When Rick Johnson learned Monday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would designate nearly 300,000 acres in central Idaho as wilderness - he was cautiously optimistic.  

Johnson is the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. He’s among the Idahoans closely watching the progress of a bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

“It’s not the most functional legislative body the world has ever seen these days, so I think a lot of people retain a certain amount of skepticism,” he says.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of a Boise pastor jailed in Iran will testify tomorrow before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Naghmeh Abedini will tell the story of her husband, Saeed, who has been detained in Iran since 2012.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for Iranian officials to immediately release a Boise pastor and two Americans held in Iran and help locate a fourth.

The lawmakers on Monday called on Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is believed to be missing in Iran.

Abedini, a Christian pastor from Idaho, has been in Iranian custody since September 2012 and is serving an eight-year sentence for undermining state security.

At least five prominent female Idaho attorneys who applied for the U.S. District Court bench opening haven't been interviewed by the state's two U.S. senators while four men who applied for the job have.

The Spokesman Review reports in a story on Tuesday that U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, U.S. Magistrate Candy Dale and Boise attorney Terri Pickens Manweiler are among the attorneys who say they completed questionnaires made available by Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

Some sportsmen's groups and conservationists say they're frustrated with votes by both of Idaho's Republican senators on a budget resolution the groups say is a first step to federal land transfer or sale.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted late last month to establish a procedure for selling, exchanging or transferring to the states federal lands.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

During a two-day visit to Idaho, U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James met with Idaho's congressional and state leadership about the future of the A-10 fighter jet.

The aircraft – which has supported combat ground missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere since the 1970s – is the sole mission of the Idaho Air National Guard at Boise's Gowen Field. The Air Force has slated the A-10 to be replaced by the F-35, a more multi-purpose military plane that will cut costs.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch says the U.S. Senate should not have released a report on CIA interrogation practices following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report that became public Tuesday says the CIA tortured prisoners, did not get much valuable information from doing so, and lied to Congress about it.   

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate in January. That could mean more influence for Idaho’s two Republican senators.

When a new party takes control, each of the Senate’s 20 committees and 68 subcommittees get a new leader. Sarah Binder studies Congress at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. She describes it as a big round of musical chairs. Binder says heading a Congressional committee brings power.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 7:50 a.m.

Idaho Republicans have swept the state's top elected offices and seats in Congress. In addition to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter being elected to a rare consecutive three-year term, every down-ticket race also went to Otter's Republican colleagues.

Secretary of State

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the United States must adapt all types of energy production to help minimize the negative impacts of global warming.

Moniz spoke in front of a crowded room in Idaho Falls Wednesday at the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit. Idaho congressmen Jim Risch, Mike Crapo and Mike Simpson also spoke during the conference.

Moniz says the United States isn't shunning coal or oil energy sources, but instead, officials are finding ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

Courtesy of the Bergdahl family

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived at a military hospital in Texas Friday to continue his recovery process. There has been no shortage of strong opinions about the release of the former POW, except among Idaho's Congressional delegation. The two senators and two congressmen from Bergdahl's home state have largely avoided the national fray.

Romney, Simpson, Otter, Risch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is in Idaho this week campaigning on behalf of three longtime politicians.

On Thursday, Romney hosted a $250-per-plate luncheon for two-time Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter. The event was also to benefit eight-time Rep. Mike Simpson, R-ID, and Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID, who is campaigning for his first re-election bid.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A coalition of Congressional Democrats and Republicans gathered in Boise Monday to tout a proposal that would change the way the federal government pays for firefighting operations in the West and beyond.   

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID, Sen. Jim Risch, R-ID, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-OR, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise lawyer Nels Mitchell wants to take Idaho’s U.S. Senate seat away from Republican Jim Risch. Mitchell, a Democrat officially announced his candidacy Tuesday in Boise.

Mitchell grew up in Idaho, but most of his 30-plus year career has been spent in California and New York. That includes a stint at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

He returned to Boise in 2008 and works for the law firm Mauk and Burgoyne, and teaches part-time for his alma mater, the University of Idaho College of Law.

Nels Mitchell
Idaho Democratic Party

A Boise lawyer plans to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Jim Risch.

Nels Mitchell aims to announce his run Tuesday at Boise's historic train depot.

Mitchell grew up in Idaho's capital, but spent much of his professional career as a lawyer in New York and California.

His legal experience includes several years as an associate regional director at the Securities and Exchange Commission in southern California, where he oversaw a staff of about 75 people who investigated and prosecuted securities fraud cases in the Los Angeles area.

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