Melinda Smyser

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Melinda Smyser
Member of the Idaho Senate
from District 11
In office
January 16, 2009 – December 1, 2012
Preceded by Brad Little
Succeeded by Patti Anne Lodge
Personal details
Born (1958-10-29) October 29, 1958 (age 59)[1]
Caldwell, Idaho
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) C.A. "Skip" Smyser
Residence Parma, Idaho
Alma mater University of Idaho
College of Idaho
Profession Caldwell School District-Safe and Drug Free School Coordinator/Counselor

Melinda S. Smyser (born October 29, 1958) was a Republican Idaho State Senator, who represented District 11 from 2009 to 2012.

Early life, education, and personal life[edit]

Melinda Smyser was born in Caldwell, raised in Middleton, and graduated from Middleton High School.

She received a Bachelor of Science with a double major in C/T/Design and Education and Extension from the University of Idaho. She also received a master's degree in Education/Counseling from the College of Idaho.[1]

Smyser is married to C.A. "Skip" Smyser and is a mother of four.


Caldwell School District P.R. Coordinator (1998–2000)

Caldwell Alternative High School Counselor (1989–1997)

Parma School District Counselor (1984–1989)

Wilder School District Teacher (1982–1984)

She has worked for Jim Risch, has his southwest regional director, from 2012 to 2017.[3][4]

Idaho Department of Labor Director Since October 23, 2017 [4]

Political career[edit]

  • Republican Precinct Person 20 + years
  • Republican District 11 Chair (2000–2010)
  • Lifetime Member of the NRA
  • Founded The Canyon County Week-Day Republican Women's Club (1998) (2-Term President)
  • Idaho Federation of Republican Women (President (2007–2009))
  • Served as both the 1st and 2nd Vice President of the Idaho Federation of Republican Women
  • Chaired The Idaho Federation of Republican Women Convention in Nampa (2004)
  • Served as Idaho Federation of Republican Women Board District Director and Program Chair
  • State Republican Convention Co-Chair for 2006 and 2008 Platform Committee
  • Served as Chair for many Political Candidates in the 2010 MidTerm Elections
  • Served as Constitution Chair for Canyon County Schools for Idaho Federation of Republican Women
  • She was an Idaho elector for the United States presidential election, 2008 for John McCain [5]
  • Canyon County Republican Party Chair[6]
  • She managed Jim Risch's reelection campaign in 2014.[6]
  • She was one of Idaho's four GOP presidential electors in the 2016 United States Presidential Election till December 15, 2016 where she was informed that she is constitutionally barred as a federal employee from serving as an electors.[7] (She at the time worked for Senator Jim Risch) She was replaced by her husband C.A. "Skip" Smyser.[7] When she was an elector she received public pressure to abandon Donald Trump, with some phone calls amounting to harassment.[8]

Senate appointment and career[edit]

In 2009, Smyser was appointed to represent Idaho's 11th Legislative District which encompasses both Gem and Canyon Counties after Brad Little was appointed Lieutenant Governor.

In 2010 she was elected with 10,386 votes (73.3%) against Democrat Shannon L. Forrester and independent Kirsten Faith Richardson.[9]

On March 5, 2012, Smyser announced that she would not be seeking re-election;since redistricting would have forced a primary contest with fellow Republican Senator Patti Anne Lodge in the newly redrawn District 11, stating "I have every intention to stay involved and I will announce my future plans soon."[10]

2018 Idaho lieutenant governor race[edit]

Smyser is seen has a potential candidate in Idaho elections, 2018 for lieutenant governor.[11]

Speculation ended September 29, 2017 with Butch Otter announcing that she will replace Ken Emmunds has Director of Idaho's Department of Labor,[4] saying she will not run for elected office since she received the appointment.[12]


Smyser served on the following Committees:[2]

  • Senate Agricultural Affairs (Vice-Chair)
  • Senate Commerce and Human Resources (Member)
  • Senate Health and Welfare (Member)

Professional associations[edit]

Smyser is currently associated with the following organizations:[2]

  • Mentoring Network Inc. (1999–present)
  • Canyon County Local Emergency Planning Committee (2007–2010)
  • State Safe and Drug Free Schools Region 3 (Co-Chair) (2007–present)
  • State Dept. of Education: Safe and Drug-free Schools
  • Local and State School Boards Associations (Vice-Chair of Parma School Board) (1998–2008)
  • State Juvenile Justice Commission Member (2002)
  • Governor's State Safe School Task Force Committee (1999–2000)
  • School Counselor Association State President
  • American Counseling Association - Member and Delegate to the National Leadership Development Conference (1990–1994)
  • Idaho School Counselor's Association
  • Idaho Counseling Association - Public Policy and Legislative Committee Chairperson (1994–1996)

Civic activities[edit]

Smyser currently participates in the following civic activities:[2]

  • Education Technology Committee (2011–present)
  • P.E.O. Parma Chapter
  • Sunday School Teacher (Sterry Memorial Presbyterian Church)
  • Chaired the Parent Involvement Team for Parma High School
  • Coached Sports in Parma and started the Mini Soccer Program
  • YMCA Building Campaign Volunteer in Caldwell
  • Mentoring Network Board Member and Volunteer

Honors and recognition[edit]

Smyser has received the following awards and recognition:[2]

  • FFA Honorary Degree Award (2011)
  • Ag Alstars (2008–2010)
  • Canyon County Republican Of The Year (2008)
  • Tribute To Republican Women (2000)
  • Outstanding Republican Women (1999)
  • Canyon County Hall Of Fame "Outstanding Republican" (1999)
  • Outstanding Precinct Committee Person (1998)[13]
  • Outstanding Regional, County Or Legislative District Chairman (2010)[13]
  • Counselor Of Year State Of Idaho


  1. ^ a b "Senate Membership". Idaho Legislature. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Senator Melinda S. Smyser's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
  3. ^ "Risch names Melinda Smyser his new regional director". Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  4. ^ a b c "Otter names Melinda Smyser to head Idaho Department of Labor". Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  5. ^ "U. S. Electoral College 2008 Certificate". Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  6. ^ a b Pokey, Dan. "Smyser leaves Senate staff to manage Risch re-election campaign".[dead link]
  7. ^ a b "2 Idaho Electoral College electors to be replaced; federal workers barred from serving | Idaho Statesman". Retrieved 2017-04-15.
  8. ^ Dentzer, Bill (2016-11-15). "Electoral College: Are Idaho's 4 electors being pressured to dump Trump, or harassed?". The Idaho Statesman.
  9. ^ Ysursa, Ben. "November 2, 2010 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  10. ^ "Sen. Melinda Smyser of Parma will not seek re-election". The Idaho Press-Tribune. March 5, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2012.
  11. ^ Agidius, Cindy. "Her View: 2018 races already shaping up in Idaho". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  12. ^ Kruesi, Kimberlee (2017-09-29). "Update: According to Otter's office, Smyser told the governor she wouldn't run for elected office while accepting the appointment #idpol …". @kkruesi. Retrieved 2017-10-03. External link in |title= (help)
  13. ^ a b "Hall of Fame | Idaho GOPIdaho GOP". 2014-05-17. Archived from the original on 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2017-04-15.