INTERVIEW: Governor Butch Otter explains support for Prop 1 and 2

Governor Butch Otter and wife Lori Otter express their support for Proposition 2, a measure aiming to expand Medicaid in Idaho | Image Courtesy: Idahoans for Healthcare via YouTube

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Idaho Governor Butch Otter.


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Governor Butch Otter isn’t running for re-election, but he’s still showing up in a fair amount of election ads endorsing two propositions Idahoans will decide on, on Tuesday, November 6.

Proposition 1 is a voter initiative aimed at bringing back historic horse racing after the legislature passed, then rescinded a bill allowing historic horse racing betting machines in the state.

“There was a little loophole in it and it made the legislature mad, and so they repealed it,” Governor Butch Otter told KID NewsRadio. “The loophole was that anybody that had parimutuel betting and parimutuel racing could also have historical horse racing…there was a bar that had been parimutuel betting. They ended up with historical horse racing. It wasn’t on the track where it was intended to be.”

Otter said he is confident about this voter initiative, however, since it patches the previous loophole and restricts just where historic horse racing ends up in the state.

“This is a much better route because they’ll succeed or fail based upon the activity, right at those tracks, and the track has got to have eight racing days a year in order to engage in historical horse racing,” Otter said. “But, this isn’t new to Idaho. These machines aren’t new to Idaho. In fact, if you go to four out of the five reservations in Idaho, tribal reservations in Idaho, you’ll see the exact same machine.”

Passing proposition 2 also ranks high on Otter’s list of priority races and elections, after years of seeing the legislature fail to pass the Medicaid measures he pushed for while in office.

“The legislature for six years, rejected every Idaho solution that I brought forward and that’s what they wanted,” Otter said. “They didn’t want Obamacare in Idaho, they didn’t want, you know, an extension of Obamacare in Idaho. So, I brought forth a solution, I think every year, for four, six years trying to help those folks that are in the gap…As far as I’m concerned, this is the last game in town and that’s why the First Lady and I finally said, ‘Alright, alright, well this is the only way we’re going to help them. If this is going to force the legislature to finally do something, then we’re for it.'”