At a Glance
- Career History: Lieutenant Governor of Idaho (2006 to 2008); Governor of Idaho (2006); Lieutenant Governor of Idaho (2003 to 2006)
- Birthday: May 3, 1943
- Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
- Alma Mater: University of Idaho, B.S. (forestry), 1965; University of Idaho College of Law, J.D, 1968
- Spouse: Vicki
Path to Power
Risch was born in Milwaukee , Wis., in 1943 and grew up in Boise, Idaho. He attended the University of Idaho, receiving a B.S. in Forestry, and then earned a degree at Idaho's law school.
Risch then worked as a prosecutor in Ada County, Idaho's largest. When his boss decided to retire, Risch, then only 27, ran for chief prosecutor."I had to run to keep my job," Risch told the Idaho Statesman.He won his first election, and he's run 31 more times, losing only twice.
In the 111th Congress, Risch plans to focus on the economy, the cost and availability of energy, and making the Bush tax cuts permanent, he told WhoRunsGov.com.
In many ways, Risch's views fall in line with party: He is anti-abortion rights. He supports renewing George W. Bush's tax cuts and would like to see more domestic oil drilling. He wants a slow and stable withdrawal from Iraq - perhaps slower than the new Obama administration has in mind. He has said he would have voted against the $700 billion financial rescue package.
After nearly 40 years in public positions, Risch's roots in Idaho politics run deep.
Former state Senator Kermit Kiebert, a Democrat, remembered entering the Senate with Risch in 1974. "We were the hooligans, the young turks," he told the Idaho Statesman. "Larry Craig, Jim Risch, Stan Kress and me."