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Biography Butch Otter

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Butch Otter Butch Otter
Butch Otter
The 32nd and current Governor of Idaho since January 2007.


Butch Otter Biography

ENG:  Clement Leroy "Butch" Otter (born May 3, 1942, Caldwell, Idaho) is the 32nd and current Governor of Idaho since January 2007 and is a member of the Republican Party. Otter previously represented the state's First Congressional District.

Otter was the longest serving Lieutenant Governor of Idaho, holding office from 1987-2001. He is the first Idahoan since statehood to win elections as both a United States Representative and as governor.

Otter is the third Catholic to serve as governor of Idaho and the first to win election since James H. Hawley in 1910. 


Early life and career

Butch Otter was born into a large family of limited means. His father was a journeyman electrician and the family lived in many rural locations in the Midwest & Western U.S. during his youth, attending 15 different schools. He graduated from St. Teresa's Academy (now Bishop Kelly High School) in Boise in 1962. Otter was 20 when he graduated from high school– a childhood accident involving gasoline badly burned his younger brother and forced Otter to take a year off. Otter worked throughout high school as a janitor, theater ticket taker, and lawn boy. He never got good grades, and, even though Otter wanted to be educated, he didn’t believe he could do anything beyond blue-collar work. "My dad graduated from high school. My expectations weren’t built beyond being a good electrician or carpenter."

Otter briefly attended St. Martin's Abbey in Lacey, Washington, with an aim to becoming a priest. He attended the school primarily because of his father’s opinion that "unless you were going to be a priest, you didn’t need to go beyond high school." Not ready for the austere lifestyle, Otter returned to Idaho and attended Boise Junior College, then earned his B.A. in political science from the College of Idaho in 1967. He was the only member of his family to graduate from college, and made the dean’s list in his last term. He served in the Idaho Army National Guard's 116th Armored Cavalry from 1968-73. He received specialized training at Fort Knox.

Otter's business experience includes 30 years with Simplot International, a leading agribusiness corporation. He started at a low level position and eventually rose to the company's presidency.

Otter's first bid for elective office was in 1972 when he was elected a member of the Idaho State House of Representatives from Canyon County. In 1978, Otter ran for Governor of Idaho, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Allan Larsen. Otter continued to remain active in the Idaho Republican Party, holding several state and county positions.


Gray Wolf Hunt

On January 11, 2007, Otter announced his support for a "gray wolf kill," in which all but 100 of Idaho's recently-recovered population would be eradicated, pending the forthcoming U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removal of the wolves' federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Otter even remarked that he would he would be first in line to purchase a tag to kill one of the animals. This position drew criticism from many Western environmental and animal advocate groups, including Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals who called for a boycott of potatoes from Idaho.

Many Idahoans call for a boycott against Otter and actively campaign against him for his wolf position, among other reasons.



In 1964, Otter married Gay Simplot, daughter of J. R. Simplot. After 28 years of marriage, the couple amicably divorced in 1992. On August 18, 2006, Otter married his longtime girlfriend and former Miss Idaho USA Lori Easley in Meridian.





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