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Great Seal of the State of Idaho

C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER
GOVERNOR

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2017
17:058

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100

 

 

 

MELINDA SMYSER NAMED TO LEAD IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment today of Melinda Smyser of Parma, southwestern Idaho regional director for U.S. Senator Jim Risch and a former member of the Idaho Senate, as director of the Idaho Department of Labor.

Smyser, a former teacher and school counselor, will begin her new job on October 23. Her appointment is subject to confirmation by the Idaho Senate. Paul Spannknebel, deputy administrator of the Idaho Division of Human Resources, has been serving as interim director at the Department of Labor since Director Ken Edmunds stepped down on August 8.

“I am excited for the opportunity to put my experience to work for Governor Otter and his administration to help all Idahoans enhance their economic opportunities and steer the state toward meetings its job and employment needs for the future. That will include tackling the challenges of Idaho’s changing demographics, aging population and a shortage of qualified workers for today’s increasingly technical jobs,” Smyser said. “Idaho’s economy is growing, so a big part of my job at Labor will be ensuring that Idaho employers have people to hire with the skills needed to keep our businesses and communities thriving.”  

The long-time Canyon County and Idaho Republican Party leader managed Risch’s 2014 U.S. Senate re-election campaign and represented Canyon and Gem counties in the Idaho Senate from 2009 through 2012. Smyser has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in education/counseling from the College of Idaho.

“I’ve known Melinda for many years. She has proven herself time and again as a gifted and energetic leader. I have complete confidence in her ability to effectively lead the Department of Labor through this time of transition and beyond,” Governor Otter said. “Her knowledge of Idaho’s economy and workforce, her strong relationship with the Legislature and her understanding of how State government works will be invaluable assets in fulfilling her new responsibilities.”

The Canyon County native and her husband, attorney and former State senator Skip Smyser, have four grown children.

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