|Member of the Idaho Senate
from District 19
December 1, 2008 – December 1, 2012
|Preceded by||Mike Burkett|
|Succeeded by||Cherie Buckner-Webb|
|Member of the Idaho House of Representatives
from District 19 Seat B
December 1, 2004 – December 1, 2008
|Preceded by||Ken Robison|
|Succeeded by||Brian Cronin|
February 8, 1964 |
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley
University of Montana-Missoula
San Francisco State University
|Profession||Public school teacher|
Nicole LeFavour (born February 8, 1964) is an American politician and educator from Idaho, served as an Idaho State Senator from 2008 to 2012. LeFavour previously served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2004 until 2008.
- 1 Early life, education, and early career
- 2 Idaho House of Representatives (2004-2008)
- 3 Idaho Senate (2008-2012)
- 4 2012 congressional election
- 5 Continuing advocacy
- 6 Awards
- 7 Personal life
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early life, education, and early career
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Nicole LeFavour was born in Colorado to Pat and Bruce LeFavour. She grew up in Central Idaho in Custer County, near the Frank Church Wilderness where she later worked. LeFavour received her bachelor's degree in cognitive science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's of Fine Arts in writing from the University of Montana-Missoula. She moved to Boise in 1990.
LeFavour taught at the University of Montana from 1989-1990. In 1991, taught at the Boise River School. She worked for the Snake River Alliance from 1992-1994. In 1996, LeFavour taught at the Fort Boise School. She was a news reporter for the Boise Weekly from 1997-1998. She was a board member for the Ada County Human Rights Task Force from 1999-2002. She was also a board member of the Choices in Community Giving from 2000-2002 and the Western States Center from 2002-2005. She worked for the Idaho Center on Budget & Tax Policy from 2000-2004.
LeFavour owned a small business, LeFavour Graphic Design, from 2000 to 2005, and has taught writing at The Cabin Literary Center for more than a decade and at the Writers at Harriman program for the past four years. In 2004, she was a lobbyist for the Idaho Community Action Network. In 2007, LeFavour was a delegate for the European Human Rights Mission.
Idaho House of Representatives (2004-2008)
In 2004, incumbent Democrat State Representative Ken Robison of Idaho's 19B House District decided to retire. LeFavour decided to run in the 19th district, which was placed in parts of the city of Boise. She won the three-way Democratic primary with 2,163 votes (54.55%). She won the general election with 13,350 votes (67.2%). In 2006, she ran unopposed and won re-election to a second term with 14,217 votes.
She has heavily criticized many of the state's budgets which have in her view cut taxes and spending too much, thus eliminating thousands of jobs. In 2007, she was named "Idaho Business Review Women of the Year".
She fought to reduce prison population by improving the state's substance abuse and mental health programs. In 2008, LeFavour was named "Legislator of the Year" by the Idaho State Planning Council on Mental Health.
- Environment, Energy and Technology
- Judiciary, Rules and Administration
- Revenue and Taxation
Idaho Senate (2008-2012)
LeFavour announced in March 2008 she would retire from the Idaho House to run for the 19th Senate District, seeking the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic State Senator F. Michael Burkett. In the general election, LeFavour defeated Chuck Meissner with 15,163 votes (71.3%). In 2010, LeFavour was re-elected to a second term with 10,246 votes (68.8%).
LeFavour was extremely active in Idaho's Add The Words campaign, which ultimately did not make it out of committee. She proposed amending Idaho's Human Rights Act to cover discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
She was twice elected to the Legislative Council by her peers. LeFavour was an advocate for increased spending in Idaho schools and access to mental health/substance abuse treatment programs.
Her past committee assignments were:
- Judiciary and Rules
- Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee.
2012 congressional election
In February 2012, LeFavour announced that she would not be seeking re-election to the state legislature, but announced her candidacy for the United States Congress in Idaho's 2nd District the following month. She challenged seven-term Republican U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson, whom she debated twice and criticized as being only superficially moderate, citing his vote against discrimination protections for women in the workplace. Had she been elected, she would have been the second openly lesbian member of the U.S. Congress, but polled 34.8% of the vote. This was in and of itself the strongest showing of any Democratic candidate against Mike Simpson as an incumbent: Craig Williams got 25.9% of the vote in 2000, Edward Kinghorn 29.0% in 2002, Lin Witworth 29.3% in 2004, Jim D. Hansen 34.43% in 2006, Deborah Holmes 31% in 2008, and Mike Crawford 24.4% in 2010. She noted after the election on her campaign's Facebook page that she had received the most votes in eastern Idaho of any Democrat who had run against Simpson as an incumbent, and that "...last but not least, we've put to rest the question of whether Idahoans will actually vote for a gay person." 
After her service as a public representative, LeFavour has remained active in LGBT affairs. She was one of 44 activists arrested on February 3, 2014 at the Statehouse on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, having blocked the Idaho Senate's entrances for more than two hours in a silent protest two months in the planning  on behalf of the Add The Words campaign, an act of civil disobedience which she had organized. Three of those arrested were juveniles, and LeFavour herself was, unexpectedly, the last person to be arrested after the Idaho Senate voted to suspend its rule which allows former members to be on the Senate floor.
By the end of February, following other protests, 122 arrests had been conducted (with some protestors being arrested for than once, and all of whom are being represented pro bono), and negotiations between LGBT-rights advocates and religiously conservative legislators had tentatively begun. By early March, LeFavour had been arrested four times in five weeks, and in mid-March, was discovered in an act of political theater during a direct action protest after having literally hid in a closet in the Idaho Senate lounge for hours. Ultimately LeFavour was arrested seven times, and at a court hearing in late July 2014 was in a plea deal sentenced to seventy hours of community service and fined $70 in court costs.
- 1997 Idaho Press Club Award for her story Where Have You Gone, Joe Albertson
- 2001 United Nations Human Rights Day Award, Idaho Voices of Faith for Human Rights
- 2001 Women Making History Award, Boise State University Women's Center 
- 2004 Grassroots Leader of the Year, United Vision for Idaho
- 2007 Women of the Year Award, Idaho Business Review
- 2008 Legislator of the Year, Idaho State Planning Council on Mental Health
LeFavour's partner of 12 years, Carol Growhoski, was in the later years of LeFavour's service in the legislature invited to participate in the "Legisladies," a social organization of legislative spouses. LeFavour was the first ever openly gay member of the Idaho Legislature; her election campaigns have won the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. More recently she has made a personal "It Gets Better" video, in which she noted “When I first walked into this building [the Idaho Statehouse] fifteen years ago to talk to lawmakers about what it was like to be a gay person in Idaho, many didn’t think they had ever met anyone gay; sadly, some were cruel... Today, I serve in the Senate next to some of the same people and some have changed... Together, with time, you and I and this world we live in, will work together to make sure it gets better.” She is featured in the 2013 documentary Breaking Through, and is currently writing a memoir about her time as Idaho's first openly gay legislator. In April 2013 she was denied unemployment benefits, inasmuch as elected officials are not eligible.
- "Senator Nicole LeFavour's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- Ysursa, Ben. "May 25, 2004 Primary Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Ysursa, Ben. "November 2, 2004 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Ysursa, Ben. "November 7, 2006 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- "A Statement From Rep. Nicole LeFavour". Boise Weekly. March 1, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- "A great event". Idaho Business Review. February 23, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Legislative Branch" (PDF). Office of the Secretary of State of Idaho. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
- Ysursa, Ben. "November 4, 2008 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Ysursa, Ben. "November 2, 2010 General Election Results". Boise, Idaho: Secretary of State of Idaho. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- Popkey, Dan (February 10, 2012). "Senate Republicans quickly kill Idaho 'Add the Words' gay rights bill". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Miller, John (May 16, 2013). "Nicole LeFavour does campaign legwork in 2nd District Congressional race". Idaho Statesman. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
- "Legislative Council". Idaho Legislature. 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Senate Committees". Idaho Legislature. 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "JFAC Members". Idaho Legislature. 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Brandt, Jaclyn (February 24, 2012). "Senator Nicole LeFavour announces she will not be seeking re-election". Nampa, Idaho: KIVI-TV. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "LeFavour sets sights on D.C.". KTVB. March 9, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Newbold, Taylor (March 28, 2012). "After election setbacks in 2010, Idaho Democrats are again ready for a fight". Boise Weekly. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- "Record Number Of Out Gay Candidates Run For Congress In 2012", Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed, July 18, 2012
- "Our Congressional Candidates - Idaho Democratic Party". Idaho Democratic Party. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
- "LeFavour posts It Gets Better video, calls for changes to bullying law". Idaho Reporter. Idaho Freedom Foundation. November 30, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
It does get better in the world when you realize the strengths you have inside yourself that you didn’t know you had.
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