Idaho Democratic Party chairman Richard Stallings resigns

Former congressman Richard Stallings resigned today from his position as Chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party. Here's the press release from the IDP:

IDP Chairman Resigns

Democratic Party Chairman Richard Stallings and wife look forward to travel, time with family

BOISE, Idaho – After weeks of wrestling with his conscience and his calendar, Idaho Democratic Party Chair Richard Stallings decided today that it would be best for both his family and the organization that he step down from his role with the party.

“For many decades now I’ve been privileged to have the opportunity to be a leader and a worker in the Idaho Democratic Party,” Stallings said. “And I’ve never seen a time where the opportunities for our party are as abundant as they are right now. As we approach 2008, it’s clear that Idaho Democrats are on the cusp of great things. The party’s chair needs to provide full-time attention to the cause.”

“I’ve decided that, for personal and professional reasons, I’m not able to do that. I will resign, effective immediately so the replacement process can begin before the 2008 election cycle starts in earnest,” Stallings said.

The Idaho Democratic Party bylaws state that such a vacancy be filled temporarily by the vice-chair. The vice-chair serves as acting chair until the next meeting of the Idaho Democratic Party Central Committee, at which time nominations are made and a vote is taken. The person elected at that meeting serves as chair for the remainder of the term held by the person who created the vacancy.

Stallings will be replaced temporarily by IDP Vice-Chair Jeanne Buell, of Worley, a longtime party activist. She will serve as the acting chair until the next meeting of the central committee, which was previously scheduled for January 4. At that meeting, nominations will be accepted and a vote will be taken for a new chair of the Idaho Democratic Party.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding vice-chair, Jeanne Buell, as she temporarily takes charge of our excellent staff, and I will of course assist whomever is elected to be a permanent replacement.

”My lovely wife Ranae has stood by my side through my long political career, and I look forward to the two of us taking advantage of the many opportunities before us for travel and relaxation,” Stallings said.

RICHARD STALLINGS BIO

Richard H. Stallings was born October 7, 1940, in Ogden, Utah. He earned degrees from Utah State and Weber State, and worked as a teacher before becoming a history professor at Ricks College – now known as BYU-Idaho – in 1969. He eventually became chair of that department, and served the school until 1984.

In 1982, Stallings challenged Rep. George V. Hansen, a Republican, for Idaho’s second congressional seat. Stallings ran again in 1984, this time defeating Hansen in a close race.

In 1988, Stallings received three delegate votes for president at the Democratic National Convention. Stallings, himself pro-life, received the votes from like-minded conservative Democrats.

In 1992, Stallings unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate. The following year he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. Nuclear Waste Negotiator. In 1998 Stallings ran again for his old seat in the second congressional district, and lost to current Congressman Mike Simpson.

Stallings’ career in public service includes a deep commitment to the city of Pocatello. He served as executive director of the Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Service, and on the Pocatello City Council. He stayed on the council until his retirement earlier this year.

He has also continued his commitment to the teaching profession, having worked for Idaho State University as an adjunct professor of political science. In February 2008 that university will unveil a catalogued collection of Stallings’ papers and effects from his time as a U.S. Congressman.

Stallings was first elected chair of the Idaho Democratic Party in March 2005, and was re-elected in March 2007. His term would have expired in 2009.

His awards and memberships include:

  • NFIB Guardian of Small Business Award, 1986 and 1988.
  • Bread for the World and Idaho Hunger Action Council’s 1987 Child Survival Award for Leadership in Legislation.
  • Idaho State University’s Pi Sigma Alpha - Statesman of the Year, 1987.
  • Ethanol Fuel Association - Distinguished Service Award, 1987.
  • Utah-Idaho Farmers Union Leadership Award, 1988.
  • Friend of Housing Award - The Idaho Housing Agency, 1990.
  • Ricks College Distinguished Award, 1991.
  • Outstanding Citizen of the Year - Rexburg Chamber of Commerce, 1992.
  • Business Person of the Year, Non-Profit, Idaho State Journal, 2000.
  • Merit Citation Award, Utah State University, 2002.
  • NeighborWorks Network Appreciation Award, 2003.
  • Support Person of the Year, Gateway Professional-Technical Academies, 2003.

Stalling recently resigned from his post as Pocatello city councilman. I've known Congressman Stallings since 2003, and hold him in the highest regard. I feel his tenure as IDP chairman has been tremendous, and have appreciated his fighting stance against the radical Republicanism that controls our state. I was hoping he'd stay until after the 2008 elections, but wish him and his wife Renee all the best in their future endeavors.

Now... the question must be asked -- who should be elected to take the reins of the Idaho Democratic Party. I have someone in mind, but since I haven't spoken to them yet, I'll hold off on naming names. Whomever, it should be someone willing to dig in, continue to build up the party, and take on the entrenched Republican overlords at every opportunity.

If you have a suggestions, let's hear it in the comments.