MCCAMMON — Former state Rep. Kelley Packer will soon lead an effort to identify and eliminate potentially unnecessary or duplicative regulations governing several Idaho occupations.
Gov.-elect Brad Little, who will be inaugurated Friday, recently announced that the McCammon Republican will be the state’s next bureau chief of the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.
Packer gave up her legislative seat to challenge Janice McGeachin in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. Packer came up short in that race, but she believes she’ll continue making her mark on the state through her new appointment, by streamlining regulations and making occupational licensing more simple and efficient.
“Gov. Brad Little wants to go through the organization with a fine-toothed comb and to deregulate any unnecessary statutes,” Packer said.
Packer will oversee a bureau that aids 28 licensing boards and one commission. She explained the bureau handles their day-to-day operations — such as making sure open meetings requirements are followed, addressing complaints and lawsuits and taking care of licensing and renewals. The bureau has 40 staff members and is funded by fees from the boards it serves, rather than using taxpayer dollars.
Packer said many boards and commissions decline the bureau’s services and do the work through their own, independent offices.
Packer’s first day on the job will be Jan. 7. She’s reviewed the regulations and will soon meet with a task force created by the governor’s office to prepare a report identifying opportunities to streamline regulations. She also plans to soon meet with Gov. Little and his chief of staff about the process.
Packer said the state will seek to eliminate regulations that are not necessary to the safety and well-being of Idaho citizens. She plans to meet with Alex Adams, the executive director of the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy who helped the organization significantly simplify its code. She hopes Adams will advise her on how to “maintain important pieces and get rid of excess.” She’ll also work closely with the regulated industries.
As a former office manager with Idaho Sports and Spine in Pocatello, Packer said she has the management skills to lead the bureau.
Packer got her start in public service when she created a foundation to address educational funding needs in Marsh Valley, such as new textbooks, bleacher upgrades and soccer field improvements. She also started the McCammon Beautification Committee to improve the appearance of the community.
In 2008, Packer joined the McCammon City Council, where she served for five years. She ran for state Legislature in 2012 and relinquished her City Council seat at the beginning of 2013 to serve in Boise.
While in office, she served on the House State Affairs Committee, the House Judiciary and Rules Committee, the House Transportation and Defense Committee and the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee. Based on her health care knowledge, she was also selected to be vice chairwoman of the House Health and Welfare Committee.
“I’m one who believes in all of us working together toward finding the right solutions for our state,” Packer said.
Initially, Packer will rent a Boise apartment with a roommate, Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls. Her husband will stay in McCammon with their youngest son, who must still complete his senior year at Marsh Valley High School. Packer will make trips back to McCammon on weekends. Eventually, Packer said her husband plans to transfer his U.S. Postal Service job to Boise and join her there.