POCATELLO—Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, other state lawmakers, Journal columnists and Idaho political historian Randy Stapilus will be part of a forum Wednesday, June 5, at Idaho State University that will speculate on the future direction of politics in the Gem State.

Jointly sponsored by the Idaho State Journal and Idaho State University, the forum is titled "Idaho Politics: Past, Present and Future" and will feature a panel discussion as well as panelists taking written questions from the audience.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the ISU Student Union's Wood River Room. Admission is free and the public is invited.

Panel members will include Stapilus, Davis of Idaho Falls, state Sen. Jim Guthrie of McCammon, state Rep. Tom Loertscher of Iona, state Rep. Elaine Smith of Pocatello, former state Rep. James Ruchti of Pocatello and Journal columnist Neal Larson. Also on the panel will be Journal columnist Chris Carlson, the former press secretary to four-term Idaho Gov. Cecil D. Andrus.

“We are particularly pleased to welcome back to Pocatello two former Journal reporters, Stapilus and Carlson, who went on from covering politics in southeastern Idaho to fashion careers in other spheres of politics,” said Journal editor Ian H. Fennell, who will moderate the forum along with Journal columnist Dan Cravens.

Each panelist will be given up to 5 minutes to speak about Idaho politics and what the future looks like, said Fennell.

"Will Idaho politics become even more partisan in the future? Will Butch Otter run for a third term? What are the challenges facing the Democratic and Republican parties? How have Idaho politics changed in the past 20 to 30 years? These questions and others will come up at the forum and be thoroughly discussed," Fennell said.

Carlson and Stapilus will be in Pocatello as part of a week-long, statewide tour of receptions and book signings for their recently published books. Stapilus who authored "Paradox Politics," the first definitive study of Idaho’s distinctive political culture, has written six other books dealing with Idaho history and politics. He will discuss his latest, "The Idaho 100," a book on the most transformative political figures in Idaho history.

Carlson, who served as Andrus' press secretary for nine years, will be touting his new book, "Medimont Reflections," a collection of 13 essays on notable Idahoans and major issues he was involved with during his 40-year career. Carlson earlier authored a biography of Cecil Andrus and his years with him, entitled "Cecil Andrus: Idaho’s Greatest Governor."

Carlson and Stapilus will sell and sign their books following Wednesday's forum.