Former legislator embarks on new era of service;
Dwight Horsch appointed to 6-year term on transportation board

Twenty-five years ago Dwight Horsch was concluding his service in the Idaho Legislature where he spent three terns in the House and a single term in the expanded Senate.

With much soul-searching and great reluctance, he decided his potato farm needed his undivided attention more than the Legislature, so he returned to the eastern Idaho soil. Although the intervening years included appointments to governing and agricultural boards, his latest assignment will draw heavily from the eight years he spent in the Legislature.

The businessman/farmer embarked on a new service this month after accepting an invitation to represent District 5 on the Idaho Transportation Board. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter appointed Horsch to succeed Neil Miller on the board.

His varied background will serve him well on the transportation board, but no experience will contribute more than the time he spent in the Legislature, he admits.

“I guess that is one of my best strengths,” he says modestly. Horsch knows the legislative process and can communicate effectively with legislators, especially those from southeast Idaho.

“He has a reputation of being a very competent legislator,” said board chairman Darrell Manning, also a former lawmaker. The only other transportation board member with experience at the capitol is former three-term representative Lee Gagner of Idaho Falls.

Horsch says he comes to the board with no preconceived agenda – just an appreciation for the importance of transportation and a commitment to maintain the infrastructure as well as resources allow.

“I believe the most conservative thing we can do is to maintain our infrastructure … to do everything we can to keep what we have. It’s amazing that we’re higher on the target than we were four or five years ago. The board and department have been doing a great job.”

As a lifelong farmer, Horsch understands the vital role transportation plays in Idaho’s economy. Without a good highway system, moving agricultural products to market would be severely impaired.

He began farming in the Pocatello and Aberdeen areas in 1971, the same year he married Kathleen. He still works the farm that has been in the family for 101 years.

His public service began in 1978 when he ran successfully for the Idaho House from Pocatello. When the legislature expanded in the mid-1980s, Horsch traded three terms in the House for a newly created Senate seat. One term later, he faced a difficult decision – continue serving in the Statehouse or focus his time and energy on the farm.

He chose the latter.

But that didn’t end his public presence.

Horsch served on an advisory panel to the State Board of Education on vocational education issues and was a member of the Idaho Judicial Council, the Idaho State Soil Conservation Commission and its successor, the Idaho State Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

In the agricultural community, he was president of the Potato Growers of Idaho and served on the National Potato Council where he often represented Idaho interests.

He also is a veteran of the Idaho Air National Guard, attended the University of Idaho and earned his degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University.

Horsch will serve a six-year term on the transportation board.

Published 6-17-2011