Jim Hansen to become Executive Cat Herding Poobah at the Idaho Democratic Party

[Ed.Note 12PM: Post updated below the fold with a message from the Idaho Democratic Party and a short bio about Jim.]

For the last couple years I've known and occasionally worked with Jim Hansen, the current executive director of United Vision for Idaho (as well as previously being a state representative and, in 2006, candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in CD2). Jim is an amazing person and works harder than a sled dog, so I was very happy to read this in his newsletter this morning:

Dear friends throughout Idaho,

Today, I want to let you know of an important change and opportunity in the movement for democracy and social change in Idaho. On April 15, I will accept a new and exciting challenge and therefore will be completing my term as executive director of the partner organizations United Vision for Idaho and United Action for Idaho.

[. . .]

It is also time for me to accept a new role with new challenges in another aspect of the movement and to make a long-term commitment to that new role.

[. . .]

P.S. My new position will be as executive director of one of Idaho's political parties. I'll let you guess which one.

When Richard Stallings resigned as chair of the Idaho Democratic Party a few months ago, and before we knew who was interested in the position, I called Jim and told him I thought he should go for the job. He wasn't interested in doing so at the time, so I'm very glad he's now chosen to take the reins at the IDP.

Between Jim Hansen as the Executive Director and Keith Roark as the Chairman -- as well as all the terrific folk working at the IDP -- we could have a great election year coming up.

12:00 PM Update -- Here's more info from the Idaho Democratic Party:

Jim Hansen selected as IDP Executive Director

Former UVI Chief brings grassroots skills to Democrats

BOISE, Idaho – Idaho State Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark is delighted to announce the appointment of one of Idaho’s best known and most experienced community leaders to serve as the state party’s new Executive Director. Jim Hansen will lead an energetic staff not only into the critical 2008 campaign season, but beyond this year and into an unprecedented period of party rebuilding and unity.

"I am committed to rebuilding the Idaho Democratic Party from the ground up, precinct by precinct, county by county,” Roark said. “The Idaho Democratic Party is standing up for the middle class, working to make government transparent and protecting the Idaho lifestyle against corporate greed. Idaho needs a strong and vibrant Democratic Party and Jim Hansen will provide exactly the kind of executive leadership and direction we need to make our voice heard at this critical time.

“With Jim Hansen as our Executive Director, the Idaho Democratic Party will be in a position to better help Idahoans become more active participants in shaping the future of their communities and their state. The huge public response to Democratic Caucuses two months ago demonstrates that Idahoans are not only ready for change, they are ready to participate in making that change happen.

"Jim served with distinction in the Idaho legislature, helped start and has managed a successful non-profit business for 13 years and has been involved in a host of community services. I am confident that Jim is the right person to help manage the party a growing, energetic, diverse and committed team of Democratic leaders in Idaho.

"It takes a special kind of person to handle the unique set of pressures that arise in a democracy as a party executive director. He must be unflappable, a good listener, a skilled facilitator; he must be smart and strategic. And, when everyone else is tired and frustrated, he must help us keep focused and moving forward.

"It is almost too much to ask of one person, but someone has to do it. Jim Hansen comes from a long line of successful Idaho politicians. I know he is capable, qualified and motivated toward success. I am honored to welcome him to this important position."

Jim will start work as Executive Director on April 15.

* * * * *

Jim Hansen: The Basics

Born Nov. 5, 1959, in Idaho Falls to Orval and June Hansen.

Attended grade school in Idaho Falls, then moved with his family in 1969 to Arlington, Va., after his father was elected to represent Idaho's 2nd District in the U.S. Congress.

Graduated from College of William and Mary in 1982 and the University of Idaho College of Law (1985).

Worked as a ranger-naturalist in Yellowstone National Park, interned for Idaho Attorney General Jim Jones in 1984, was a law clerk for Chief Justice Charles Donaldson on the Idaho Supreme Court from 1985 to 1986.

Practiced law with the firm Givens, McDevitt, Pursley, Webb & Buser from 1986 to 1991, focusing primarily on water and natural resource issues.

Elected to the Idaho Legislature in 1988, representing Southeast Boise. Re-elected in 1990 and 1992. Voluntarily retired in 1994.

Married Joan Cartan-Hansen in Stanley in 1990. Daughter Samantha was born in 1991 and son Harrison in 1995.

Served as Acting Director of the Office of Conflict Management Services at Boise State University from 1992 to 1994.

Founded a small business, the nonprofit organization United Vision for Idaho in 1995 and serves as its executive director. He currently is on sabbatical from that position.

Served as President of the Rotary Club of Boise-Sunrise 2004-2005.

Awarded the prestigious "Leadership for a Changing World Award" by the Ford Foundation in 2005 with his colleagues at United Vision for Idaho.

* * * * *

Jim Hansen: A Short Narrative

The tight-knit Hansen family has lived and worked in Idaho for four generations. Jim, 46, and his wife, Joan Cartan-Hansen, are proud parents of Samantha, 15, and Harrison, 11, both of whom attend public schools.

Jim's values are rooted in his large extended family, where public service is an honored tradition. Jim served in the Idaho Legislature from 1988-1994. His father, Orval Hansen, served with distinction in the Idaho Legislature and U.S. Congress as a representative from the 2nd District (1968-1974). Jim's uncles, John Hansen and Reed Hansen, both of Idaho Falls, are former members of the Idaho Legislature. Other family members have answered the call for public service in local office.

The family is bi-partisan, offering both parties their skills and services. They agree that competition of ideas is what makes our system great and that there are good people in both parties. They also agree that when partisanship becomes bitter and personal, it undermines the public interest.

Jim's first experience with elected office came in 1988, when he was elected to represent Southeast Boise in the Idaho Legislature. He served on the Education, Health and Welfare and Judiciary committees. He was re-elected twice, then imposed his own term limit and voluntarily retired from the Legislature in 1994. Jim's work in the Legislature focused primarily on improving education and reforming the way government operates to make it more accountable.

He continued to serve his community in other ways. Jim served as acting director of the Office of Conflict Management Services at Boise State University from 1992-1994. In 1995 he became the founding director of United Vision for Idaho, a coalition of organizations working to empower participation in democracy. Jim built this small business with the help of many others who shared his vision and helped others start similar not-for-profit businesses. Jim has been a member of Rotary for more than 15 years and has served as president of his club.

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I saw Julie got all excited about this at RSR too. I wondered who it was. Jim Hansen was the first name that came to mind, but then I thought, "Nah, that's wishful thinking."

This is one of those situations where I don't mind being wrong. Jim is the single best person they could have picked. Well done!

Mixed Feelings

As a board member of UAI, I have mixed feelings. It will be hard to replace Jim at UVI/UAI. But it's definitely a net plus for the state of Idaho.

Congratulations, Jim!


This is the most exciting news of the 2008 election season!

Now isn't this interesting.

The nitwit scribbler seems to thnk we're linkworthy after all:


Congrats Jim. I'm very glad the party is continuing good judgment by selecting another director that recognizes that the party has to gain its strength through bottom up organization.

Sorry, but I can't reciprocate.

I followed your linky, and as the page came up thought 'I should make sis's link clickable'. Then I read his post-- jeez, how on earth do I get his freakin' job -- they send him a press release and pics and everything and he can't or won't even bother to regurgitate the damn press release.

For the record, DFO, a good reporter would be on the phone trying to get a few minutes of conversation and some 'bonus' insight. Hell, even a gossip columnist would be digging for more something, more anything.

And his lone commenter so far reads like something off a black-helicopters Art Bell fanboy blog. Deprogramming by trial lawyers, bad spelling, 'checking up' on Roark, and ooh-ahing because a good lawyer means bad times ahead for the wingnut faction. Ugh. Methinks I just got stupider for the reading of that drivel. Thanks, Ollie. The net effect is to news what alum or ipecac is to calories: something painfully less than zero.

You're funny

Oh now, why regurgitate when he links. When I dicovered the link to us I noticed that on the post preceding DFO was touting some other scurrilous claims by the Village Idiot against Planned Parenthood provoking similar virulent commentary on Huckelberries that he does here. But, guess what, the Idiot crawled out of his bubble providing the rare opportunity to engage. Swoop I did. Odd that he had little defense to his villainous tactics. Bink helped with some tag teaming. And in the process DFO and I made nice. I've decided to not hold DFO to high and incresingly rare standards of journalism he occasionally seeks to hide behind and deal with him like the blogger he is. SR still has Betsy for those.

I'm not so sure...

I don't think DFO is too happy we're commenting there now :)

I'm pretty sure Shannon is in a corner crying her eyes out and Bryan Fischer will never show his face on that blog again.


The commenters at Huckleshits must be the most ignorant fucking rednecks I've ever encountered on a supposedly "progressive" blog. I know DFO has a bunch of conservative fucktards commenting there, but holy dead guy on a stick the recent batch of comments about the 10 Commandments have just totally gone overboard.


Yeah, the "ten commandments is the foundation for all law" kinda disuaded me as well. But I sallied forth. No one said this would be easy.

And who said that was a progressive blog? DFO is a former conservative flame thrower.

Jim not only understands

Jim not only understands grassroots organization, he's lived it for his entire adult life. He's as dedicated to small-d democracy as he is to the Big-D party. I can't imagine a better leader for the party at this point in its history.

Randy Stapilus has a very good analysis of the Hansen pick at Ridenbaugh Press. I have the link at RSR. The best news, which I didn't know - having moved to Idaho a year later: In 1988, Jim took out the sitting House majority leader!

If he can help us do that this year, oh my. No other race matters as much.

And even if he can't, he's a great pick - and I suspect he'll keep the job more than a year, too.

More publicity.

Someone on Daily Kos suggested this article about Jim's new position. It is a great write-up.