Who are the 100 people most likely to determine the direction of Idaho’s politics, public affairs, and education in the coming year?
Longtime Idaho journalist Randy Stapilus may have the answers to that question in his new 2015 book that provides a list of the 100 most influential Idahoans.
Released by Ridenbaugh Press, the new book, “100 Influential Idahoans 2015,” has 200 pages that include discussions of the people who wield influence in the Gem State and discussions of their effectiveness.
Topping the list is Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, of Oakley, whose impact in the legislative sphere and beyond has been large on a statewide scope since he won the office by ousting his predecessor, Lawerence Denney, in 2012.
Second Congressional District U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador is ranked number two with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in third place.
First Congressional District U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson is fourth, and the chief executive officer and founder of Melaleuca in Idaho Falls, Frank VanderSloot, is fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in order are U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, the CEO of St. Luke's Health System in Boise Dr. David Pate, President of Boise State University Bob Kustra, Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch.
Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas was ranked 58. Pocatello attorney and newly elected state Rep. Mark Nye was ranked 86.
Founder and president of Premier Technology, Inc., in Blackfoot, Doug Sayer, was ranked 92. Pocatellan and Idaho Health Exchange Board Chairman Stephen Weeg was 94.
Two Idaho journalists made the top 100, Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review at 72 and Idaho Freedom Foundation Director Wayne Hoffman at 50.
Stapilus said the list is not an “honor roll” as such, but rather an assessment of actual impact and effectiveness — leaving aside the question of how positive the impact may have been.
The top 50 names on the list in descending order are: Bedke, Labrador, Gov. Otter, Rep. Simpson, Vandersloot, Sen. Crapo, Pate, Kustra, Ahlquist, Sen. Risch, Sherri Ybarra, David Bieter, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, J. Craig Rowe, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Judge Roger Burdick, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, Rick Johnson, Darrel Anderson, Tim Murphy, Mark Durcan, Sally Jeffcoat and Rodney Reider, Dean Cameron, Clive Strong, Mike Moyle, Jeff Malmen, Brent Hill, David Hensley, Bob Henry, Skim Smyser, Chief James Allen, David Papiez, John Revier, Marc Brinkmeyer, Daniel Fink, Phil Reberger, William Whitacre, Russ Fulcher, Maxine Bell, Eric Wildman, John Kotek, Kevin Kempf, Randy Smith, Steve Yates, Brian Kane, Bart Davis, Park Price, Dan Chadwick and Wayne Hoffman.
The bottom 50 names on the list in descending order are: Gary Spackman, Peter Christensen, Tammy de Weerd, Mary Andrews, Michelle Stennett, Jani Revier, Ron Crane, Arthur Vailas, Alex LeBeau, Mary Farnsworth, Linwood Laughy and Karen Hendrickson, Greg Morris, Joe Scott, Jim Hammond, Roy Eiguren, Norm Semanko, John Hoehne, John Rusche, Cecil Andrus, John V. Evans, Jr., Sandra Mitchell, Betsy Russell, Churck Staben, Rebecca Boone, Grant Burgoyne, Bill Roden, Betty Richardson, Karen Vauk, Jack Buell, David Frazier, Phil Batt, Dan Buckley, Leeann Callear, Jon Alexander, Barbara Kemp, Mark Nye, ALma Hasse, Penny Cyr, Duane Hagadone, Jim Weatherby, Lou Esposito, Doug Sayer, Mary Souza, Stephen Weeg, Roger Christensen, Ryan Kerby, Bob Fick, Steve Crane, John Grossebacher and Lynn Luker.
Stapilus is a former Idaho newspaper reporter and editor, and edits several publications at Ridenbaugh Press. He also is author of “Paradox Politics” (1988 and 2009), co-author of “Governing Idaho” (2005) with James Weatherby, the “Idaho 100” with Martin Peterson, and the “Idaho Political Field Guide” (2014) with Marty Trillhaase.