Sunday, October 17, 2010

Senator Clint Stennett, 1956-2010

In 2005 when the Idaho legislature was considering a bill that would transition Idaho's colleges and universities from a fee system to a system that allowed for the collection of tuition, I wrote a letter to then minority leader Senator Clint Stennett. In his reply, Senator Stennett said he was honestly disappointed by the lack of correspondence he was receiving from Idaho students. The Idaho State Senate passed this particular piece of legislation 25-8. A few months later I had the opportunity to meet Senator Stennett and I reminded him of my letter and my belief that this legislation could be a slippery slope in terms of education funding. Little did I know, five years later the Idaho Legislature and the Office of the Governor would decrease education funding drastically for the first time in this state's history.

When I read Friday morning at 43rd State Blues about the passing of Senator Clint Stennett (D-Ketchum), my mind immediately went back to the day I met him and that conversation about the funding of education, particularly higher education.

This state needs strong, determined leaders who care deeply about people and Clint was that. It only took one meeting with Clint for me to see how dedicated he was to the people's business. I can think of no other person in Idaho politics, past or present, as decent and caring as Clint Stennett. In politics there are far too many politicians who are in it only for themselves and their own legacy. Clint was never that kind of politician; he was truly in politics for the betterment of his constituents and the entire state. We need more men and women who care immensely for the future of this state, who aren't afraid to wear the "Democrat" label proudly, and who selflessly sacrifice their time each spring to tend to the people's business. This state would be well off with more public servants who embody what Clint Stennett did. This state will miss him dearly.

My thoughts are with Michelle Stennett, Clint's mother, Clint's family (both his immediate family and his legislative family), and the hundreds of Idahoans who crossed paths with this man over the years and were better for it.
Senator Clint Stennett
1956 - 2010

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