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Brad Little (politician)

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Brad Little (politician)

Brad Little
42nd Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
Assumed office
January 6, 2009
Governor Butch Otter
Preceded by Jim Risch
Member of the Idaho Senate
from the 8th district
In office
May 24, 2001 – December 5, 2002
Preceded by Judy Danielson (R)
Succeeded by R. Skipper "Skip" Brandt (R)
Member of the Idaho Senate
from the 11th district
In office
December 5, 2002 – January 5, 2009
Preceded by Patti Anne Lodge (R)
Succeeded by Melinda Smyser (R)
Personal details
Born (1954-02-15) February 15, 1954
Emmett, Idaho, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Teresa Soulen (m.1978)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Idaho, Moscow
Website Official website
Campaign website

Brad Little (born February 15, 1954) is currently the 42nd Lieutenant Governor of Idaho. A Republican, Little was appointed in January 2009 to the position by Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter to succeed Jim Risch, who resigned to become a United States Senator.

Prior to his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Little served in the Idaho Senate where he served as majority caucus chair and represented Idaho Legislative Districts 8 and 11 (change due to redistricting in 2002).[1]

Personal Life & Career

Brad Little (L) with his son David Little (R) at their family's ranch near Emmett in 2009.

Brad Little was born February 15, 1954 in Emmett, Idaho. Little’s grandfather, Andy Little, immigrated to Idaho from Scotland in 1894, and began to work as a sheepherder on a ranch near Emmett, where he would eventually manage his own ranch. Andy’s Highland Livestock and Land Company would eventually include lands ranging from Emmett to Cascade, Idaho, and his flock of more than 120,000 sheep would earn him the nickname of the “Idaho Sheep King.” [2] Andy’s son, David Little, took over the ranching operation, and would also go on to become an Idaho Republican National Committeeman and Idaho State Senator, R-Emmett for more than 14 years. [3]

Brad Little was raised on his family’s ranch in Emmett and attended Emmett High School. Little graduated in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in agri-business from the University of Idaho, where he was a member of the Idaho Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. Little married Weiser, Idaho native Teresa Soulen in May 1978. They have two sons and daughters-in-law: Adam, Angela, David, and Kelsey, and three grandsons. [4]

Little has spent his career working in his family’s ranching interests while also engaging in Idaho public policy as a business and industry leader. During the 1981 and 1985 legislative sessions, Brad represented his father David Little in the senate on a temporary appointment due to illness, during which time he served on the Finance and Resources Committees. [5] Brad also managed his family’s ranching operation, Little Land and Livestock, for almost thirty years until his son, David, became manager in 2009 when Brad was appointed Lieutenant Governor. [6] He continues to work as the head of Little Enterprises, Inc. (a diversified farming and cattle operation), and is currently a member of the board of directors of Performance Design Inc. – a small Boise-based manufacturing company. [7]

Little has also been involved in a variety of private organizations and companies based in Idaho and the Mountain West. Little is a former chairman of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI), “The Voice of Business in Idaho,” and was a member of its board for 20 years (1981-2001), half of its nearly 40 year history. [8] Little is also the former vice-chairman of the Idaho Community Foundation and the Emmett Public School Foundation, and the former director of the Idaho Wool Growers Association and the University of Idaho Foundation. [9][10][11] He has also served in the past on the board of directors of Home Federal Bank, a small Idaho-based regional bank recently acquired by Bank of the Cascades, High Country News, and the Idaho Foundation for Excellence in Education. [12][13]

State Senator (2001-09)

Little was appointed by Governor Dirk Kempthorne to fill a State Senate vacancy in May 2001, and represented what was at the time District 8, which covered a part of Little’s native Gem County surrounding and north of Emmett, and all of Boise, Valley, and Adams Counties, as well as the southern portion of Idaho County.[14][15] During the 2002 legislative session Little served on the Agricultural Affairs Committee and the Resources and Environment Committee. [16]

Following a change in district boundaries due to redistricting in 2001-02, Brad Little was elected in the fall of 2002 to District 11, which then encompassed all of Gem County and the northern portion of Canyon County, including the communities of Middleton and Parma. [17][18] Little was subsequently re-elected senator from District 11 four times. During the 2003 legislative session, Little was named to the State Affairs, Resources & Environment, and Transportation Committees, all of which he would remain on until his appointment to Lieutenant Governor in 2009.[19] Little was also elected in 2003 by his Republican peers to the party leadership position of Majority Caucus Chair, a position he continued to serve in until 2009. [20] During his time in the Senate, Little also served on the Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee, a committee tasked to “make an overall assessment of Idaho’s economy” and “review … revenue projections” in order to assure that “no appropriation shall be made, nor any expenditure authorized by the legislature, whereby the expenditure of the state during any fiscal year shall exceed the total tax then provided by law."[21]

Lieutenant Governor of Idaho (2009-)

Appointment and Election

Lieutenant Governor Brad Little taking the oath of office at his inauguration in January, 2011.

In January 2009, Governor Otter appointed Brad Little to the office of Lieutenant Governor to fill the vacancy left by former Lt. Governor Jim Risch's election to the U.S. Senate in the 2008 election cycle. Little was sworn in by Otter on January 6, 2009, and confirmed by unanimous consent when the Idaho Senate convened on January 12, 2009. [22][23]

Little was subsequently elected Lieutenant Governor in 2010, defeating two opponents in the primary election, and two opponents from the Democratic and Constitution parties in the general election. [25][26]

Lieutenant Governor of Idaho: 2010 Results[27]
Republican Party Votes Pct Democratic Party Votes Pct Constitution Party Votes Pct
Brad Little 299,979 67.8% Eldon Wallace 120,174 27.2% Paul Venable 22,007 5.0%
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho: 2014 Results[28]
Republican Party Votes Pct Democratic Party Votes Pct Constitution Party Votes Pct
Brad Little 271,268 62.8% Bert Marley 141,917 32.9% David Hartigan 18,705 4.3%

Constitutional Duties

The constitutional duties of the Lieutenant Governor are to “be president of the senate” when it is in session and “vote only when the senate is equally divided.”[29] The Lieutenant Governor is also granted “the powers, duties and emoluments of the office” of the governor when he is out of the state or incapacitated.[30] Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor performs such duties as the governor may deem necessary for the good of the state, including serving as the Governor's chief appointments officer and vetting candidates for boards, commissions and councils. His unofficial duties also include responding to constituents either through personal contact or by participating in meetings or activities pertaining to public issues. [31]

Economic Development

As Lieutenant Governor, Little has focused on economic development across Idaho— working to increase growth in all regions of the state, facilitate the creation of higher incomes, and provide more and better jobs for Idahoans. Little has worked to support and improve Idaho’s business environment by personally reaching out to companies and employers with a presence in Idaho and supporting business-friendly legislation in the Senate. Gynii Gilliam, former Chief Economic Development Officer of the Idaho Department of Commerce, once commented that “Our lieutenant governor [Brad Little] is actively involved in economic development and visits with companies across the state. He works with us on the recruitment and expansion process, and I report to him monthly.” [32]

Lt. Governor Little (Center) touring a production facility operated by aerospace equipment manufacturer Unitech in Hayden, Idaho on November 15, 2012.

Little strives to promote Idaho’s competitive business environment to companies considering a move to or expansion of operations in the state. Little has been involved in a variety of projects, including the opening of the $450 million Chobani yogurt plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, which originally employed 300 people and is the largest of its kind in the world. [33] Despite the large size and complexity of the million-square-foot facility, the plant was constructed by 2,000 workers in just 326 days, in part thanks to minimal regulatory hurdles involved in getting permits to build on and access utilities at the site. [34] Little also “made quite an impression” on energy-bar-producer Clif Bar & Company in 2013 while it was searching for a location to build a new food manufacturing plant. [35] Clif has since announced plans to begin construction in 2015 on a $90 million plant in Twin Falls, which will employ between 250-450 people when operational in early 2016. [36]

Beyond direct investment and employment, these types of large projects also indirectly boost the regional economy, such as the Chobani plant’s effect on the [37] [38] Companies located in other parts of Idaho benefited as well, such as Boise-based wood-products manufacturer Boise Cascade Company, which expanded its workforce in order to meet the supply needs of the Chobani plant. [39] [40]

Little has also sought to attract investment to Idaho in high-tech industries. Little commented at the opening of Cayenne Technologies’ new computer data center in Pocatello, the first commercial center of its kind in Idaho, that “the assets that we have here in Idaho … that obviously attracted Cayenne — affordable power, a good workforce, the [dry] weather — it continues to attract a lot of people. I’m optimistic that we’re in the right place. I think this is kind of an indicator of what’s going to take place all over Idaho.”[41] Little has also supported the Idaho National Laboratory, a research facility in southeastern Idaho which employs nearly 4,000 scientists and workers, through his work in the Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission.[42] Little believes that “the Idaho National Laboratory’s role as the nation's premier nuclear research lab [is] crucial for our long-term economic prosperity and energy security.”[43]

Trade Missions

Little has also taken part in and led several trade missions to out-of-state regions. Little led a Friendship Mission to Basque Country in Spain in 2010, during which he met President of the Basque Government Patxi López. During this meeting, Little and López agreed to establish a Basque Economic Development Office in Boise, Idaho, which “would provide resources and services for Idaho and Basque companies to ease collaboration on research, sales and collaborative programs.”[44] Little later signed the Euskadi-Idaho Friendship Agreement, which affirms the friendship and cultural affinity between Basque Country and Idaho, which is the residence of a large Basque community. [45]

Little was also a member of a 2011 Idaho trade delegation which traveled to Mexico and Brazil.[46] Little commented after the trade mission that “we found tremendous interest and opportunities in both countries for Idaho products and services … This trip strengthened key trade relationships and established new customers for Idaho businesses.” The Idaho Department of Commerce estimated that the mission resulted in sales of more than $30 million.[47]


In the 2014 legislative session, Little sponsored Senate Bill 1354, or the “Patent-troll” bill which protected companies from “bad faith assertions of patent infringement,” in which a patent holder frequently harasses businesses for purportedly infringing on a patent in order to collect an extortionate licensing fee. [48] These “bad faith assertions” are typically aimed at small hi-tech companies or start-ups which are particularly vulnerable to “the threat of expensive and protracted litigation” and thus “may feel that [they have] no choice but to settle and to pay a licensing fee, even if the claim is meritless.” [49] The bill prevents such “abusive patent litigation” while protecting “good-faith” litigation in order to protect the many companies in Idaho’s IT sector, which employs nearly 50,000 Idahoans. Little later commented in a press release that “Innovation is a critical component of growth. Ensuring state law helps protect individuals and businesses from frivolous patent lawsuits is important to Idaho’s economic future.” [50]


  1. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor,
  2. ^ Shadduck, Louise (1990). Andy Little: Idaho Sheep King. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, Ltd.  
  3. ^ Spokane Daily Chronicle, March 8, 1978,,2081613
  4. ^ Brad Little for Idaho,
  5. ^ The Spokesman-Review, February 6, 1986,,3595640
  6. ^ Brad Little for Idaho,
  7. ^ Brad Little for Idaho,
  8. ^ Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry,
  9. ^ Idaho Community Foundation,
  10. ^ Emmett Public School Foundation,
  11. ^ Brad Little for Idaho,
  12. ^ Bloomberg News,
  13. ^ High Country News,
  14. ^ 2002 Idaho State Senate Journal,
  15. ^ Idaho Redistricting Commission,
  16. ^ 2002 Idaho State Senate Journal,
  17. ^ 2003 Idaho State Senate Journal,
  18. ^ Idaho Redistricting Commission,
  19. ^ 2003 Idaho State Senate Journal,
  20. ^ Brad Little for Idaho,
  21. ^ Idaho Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee,
  22. ^ KBOI 2,
  23. ^ 2009 Idaho State Senate Journal,
  24. ^ Idaho State Journal,
  25. ^ Secretary of State's Office,
  26. ^ Spokesman Review,
  27. ^ Election Division, Office of the Idaho Secretary of State,
  28. ^ Election Division, Office of the Idaho Secretary of State,
  29. ^ Idaho State Constitution, Article IV, Sect 13,
  30. ^ Idaho State Constitution, Article IV, Sect 12,
  31. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor,
  32. ^ Business Xpansion Journal,
  33. ^ The New York Times,
  34. ^ Business Xpansion Journal,
  35. ^ The Idaho Statesman,
  36. ^ Magic Valley News,
  37. ^ Magic Valley News,
  38. ^ Lisa Buddecke, Jan Rogers, "The Chobani Effect,"
  39. ^ Business Xpansion Journal,
  40. ^ Mail Tribune,
  41. ^ Blackfoot Journal,
  42. ^ Idaho National Laboratory,
  43. ^ Idaho Department of Commerce,
  44. ^ The Idaho Reporter,
  45. ^ Cenarrusa Foundation for Basque Culture,
  46. ^ Oregon Public Broadcasting,
  47. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor,,%20Idaho%20ag%20leaders%20believe%20trade%20mission%20a%20success.pdf
  48. ^ Idaho State Senate,
  49. ^ Brad Little, Amy Lombardo, “’Patent Troll’ bill will protect Idaho businesses,”
  50. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor,

External links

  • Official site
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Risch
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
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