Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announces run for Governor (copy)

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin walks down the front steps of the Idaho Capitol building in Boise with her husband, Jim, prior to taking the podium to announce her run for governor on Wednesday.

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Janice McGeachin’s education indoctrination task force looks like an extension of her gubernatorial campaign, writes Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert in his latest analysis. The Republican lieutenant governor appears to have packed the jury box with like-minded hardliners, Richert reports. Three task force members — all aligned with the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the state’s one-stop shop for right-wing education messaging — are scheduled to make presentations at the group’s first meeting Thursday afternoon. We’ll have to wait and see if this group makes policy, but it seems built to make noise.

And there’s no ignoring the timing. Last week, McGeachin made her gubernatorial run official. Two days later, McGeachin’s task force co-chair, state Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, said she will seek the vacant lieutenant governor’s post.

Yes, it’s election season. Meanwhile, the open (and sometimes covert) backlash against the education system continues, Richert writes.

On Wednesday, McGeachin’s chief of staff Jordan Watters defended the task force makeup.

“Our task force contains a diverse roster of members, including many with extensive experience in education,” he said in an email. “We have met our goal of assembling a comprehensive task force that provides a broad representation of the community.”

But several leading education groups are on the outside looking in. You can read Richert's full analysis online here at idahoednews.org.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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