Broadsword resigns to take Health and Welfare position

Resignation takes effect on Feb. 28

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SANDPOINT - Less than a month after taking her oath of office, Bonner County Commissioner Joyce Broadsword announced Tuesday she is resigning.

The Republican District 1 commissioner is stepping down to take a job as regional director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for northern Idaho.

Broadsword's resignation, which takes effect on Feb. 28, is not without some regret.

Broadsword campaigned on bringing positive changes to the Bonner County Administration Building, including boosting flagging morale in some departments.

"I had concerns about leaving my post on the Commission, but it became clear I could do more to help in northern Idaho by accepting the job as your new Region 1 Director - and that's why I got into public service in the first place," Broadsword said in a written statement announcing her resignation.

Broadsword said in an interview that she did not seek the Health and Welfare position.

"I didn't go looking for this. They came to me," said Broadsword, a former four-term state lawmaker who was vice chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong said in a statement that Broadsword's work in the Legislature made it clear she was committed to improving the lives of Idaho citizens.

"She knows the health and human service issues of Idaho and has a proven record for getting things done. We are very excited about having her on board in this critical leadership position," Armstrong said in the statement.

Broadsword won the GOP nomination for the District 1 seat after defeating former Commissioner Cornel Rasor in last May's primary. She faced independent Steve Johnson in the general election and prevailed.

At Health and Welfare, Broadsword will succeed Ron Beecher, who is retiring.

As regional director for Idaho's 10 northernmost counties, Broadsword will work on special tasks for the department, including working with the regional mental health board and the regional advisory council on substance abuse, in addition to serving as a liaison with Native American tribes in Idaho.

"I'm really looking forward to making things better for our citizens," said Broadsword.

Under Idaho Code, the Bonner County Republican Central Committee will nominate three GOP members from Broadsword's district to complete her term within 15 days. Governor Butch Otter then has 15 days to appoint one of the nominees.

Broadsword's commission district is composed of the Algoma, Careywood, Cocolalla, Dover, Edgemere, Gamlin Lake, Kelso, Sagle, Southside, Washington and Westmond voting precincts.

It's the first time since 2003 a Bonner County elected official has resigned from office. Former Coroner Dale Coffelt was forced to resign after a competing mortuary service opened in Sandpoint, which led to the appointment of current Coroner Kitt Rose.

Former Assessor Jim Boatwright, a Democrat, died in office in 2003 and former Assessor Judie Conlan was appointed to succeed him. Republican Jerry Clemons, the current assessor, went on to defeat Conlan in the 2006 general election.

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