"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

A step to the right …

The new leader of the Idaho Senate, Republican Brent Hill of Rexburg, has developed a generally broad respect among Idaho legislature-watchers. He seems, based on his statements and initiatives, to be relatively non-ideological and willing to work with unexpected allies. That’s a broader picture than you might have expected from this year’s round of leadership races, with the Senate top job open for choice.

The speculation here is that Hill’s win, over Meridian Senator Russ Fulcher, has a lot to do with the internal personal dynamics of the Senate. Leadership races typically do; those factors play in more than rigidly-defined philosophical stances generally do.

Before leaving that latter motivation behind, though, do bear in mind the assistant majority leader contest, in which long-time incumbent Joe Stegner of Lewiston was ousted in what was framed as a clear challenge from the right, from Senator Chuck Winder of Eagle. Dig under the surface of that one, and you’d probably find matters of ideology playing a notably large role.

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