HAYDEN - Former Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney spent a sunny Thursday flying around the state, announcing at different stops that he's running for Idaho secretary of state.
One of his stops was the Coeur d'Alene Airport in Hayden, where roughly 30 people showed up to hear his announcement.
The 65-year-old Denney, a Republican representative from Midvale, said he wants to protect the integrity of elections and streamline the business registration process.
The state's secretary of state serves on the Idaho state board of land commissioners, where he hopes to put a stop to state purchases of commercial property.
"We as a state should not purchase private businesses and compete with business owners," he said. "Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have joined forces on this front, yet the Idaho land board continues to buy commercial properties, which puts the state in a position of competing with our friends, families and neighbors."
Some counties stand to lose tax dollars with such purchases by the state, he said.
The primary election is May 20. Ben Ysursa is the current secretary of state.
Denney, a farmer, is a lifelong Idaho resident who served in the Vietnam War, receiving a Bronze Star.
In the legislature, he served two terms as House majority leader and three terms as speaker.
State Sen. Bob Nonini, a Coeur d'Alene Republican, said he has been frustrated in his interactions with Ysursa, particularly while working on elections legislation.
Nonini likes Denney's experience dealing with land issues, and believes that would benefit him on the land board.
State Sen. Steve Vick, a Dalton Gardens Republican, said, "I always thought he did an exemplary job (as speaker) presenting the House's arguments."
Vick added, "My experience was the same as Bob Nonini's, with (Denney) always being honest with me and straightforward and easy to deal with."
State Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, also attended the announcement to show her support.
"I encouraged him from the very beginning" to run for secretary of state, Sims said.
She likes his honesty and his roots in the state.
As a leader in the Legislature, Denney has worked with the governor, secretary of state and others holding statewide positions.
"I think his experience will be very, very valuable," Sims said. "I've worked with him for four years, and his honesty is never questioned."