Tom Dayley

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BOISE — Boise’s legislative District 21 will be getting a new state representative, now that fourth-term GOP Rep. Tom Dayley has been appointed state director of the Farm Service Agency by the Trump administration.

Dayley said he’ll start his new post “within the next two weeks.” Although the administration hasn’t yet issued a formal announcement, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s office confirmed Monday that Dayley got the appointment, and that Crapo, R-Idaho, supported it.

Dayley succeeds former state Sen. Evan Frasure of Pocatello, who was appointed state FSA director in 2017 but resigned in September. Since then, Washington state FSA Director Brian Dansel has also served as Idaho’s interim director.

The replacement for Dayley in the House is up to Gov. Brad Little, who will select from among nominees named by the Idaho Republican Party’s District 21 legislative committee. That panel will interview interested applicants, as it did in January when the same district’s state senator, then-Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, stepped down to become chief of staff for newly elected 1st District GOP Congressman Russ Fulcher.

The panel interviewed five candidates and forwarded three nominees to Little; from the list of three, he selected the panel’s top choice: Bayer’s mother, new Sen. Regina Bayer, R-Boise.

Dayley, an Air Force veteran, held the same federal position previously under President Ronald Reagan, when Dayley was the Idaho state director of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, which in 1996 combined with the Farmers Home Administration to become the Farm Service Agency.

House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, a rancher, said, “We look forward in the ag community to working with him as our state director. It’s truly with mixed emotions that we bid Tom farewell. He is one of the good ones, as good as ever walked in through the doors of the House of Representatives.”

Dayley, who this year chaired the House Judiciary Committee, is a fifth-generation Idahoan who holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Southern California. He is a former executive director of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation; former plant industries division administrator of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture; and a former Idaho sub-basin planning coordinator for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Dayley also served as an aide to U.S. Sens. Steve Symms, Dirk Kempthorne, Larry Craig and Jim McClure from Idaho, and he served in the Reagan administration in the Office of Congressional Relations at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; as a deputy director at the Department of Health & Human Services; and in the office of post-secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Dayley announced his appointment to fellow representatives on Thursday afternoon, shortly before the House adjourned this year’s legislative session; House members applauded him, and Bedke presented him with the state flag that flew over the chamber during the session.

Dayley told his Idaho House colleagues, “Good luck and thank you for all that you’ve helped me to become, because all the experiences that I’ve had here helped me to become a better person, and I appreciate that and the services that you all give to the state of Idaho.”

Frasure was appointed to the post in November of 2017, stepping down less than one year into a four-year term as an elected Bannock County commissioner. A former GOP state senator and representative, Frasure represented Pocatello in the Statehouse from 1990 to 2002; in 2014, he unsuccessfully challenged Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney in the Republican primary.

The Idaho Farm Service Agency had no information on why Frasure resigned his post there in September after serving in it for less than a year, and Frasure couldn’t be reached for comment. He reportedly has moved to Florida.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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