November 7, 2012 | by Michael K. Lavers
Lesbian lawmaker falls short in Idaho
Nicole LeFavour, Washington Blade, gay news

Nicole LeFavour (Photo courtesy of LeFavour campaign)

The first openly gay person elected to the Idaho Legislature on Tuesday failed to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Simpson.

Simpson defeated state Sen. Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise) 67-33 percent with 85 percent of precincts reporting.

LeFavour earlier this year declared her candidacy to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District. She announced she would not seek another term in the Idaho Senate.

“This is a hard time in our nation and sadly I feel Congress is not doing all it could to set our economy right,” said LeFavour in a press release that announced her candidacy. “I understand that so well. We have a job to do as a nation and we have no time for partisan struggles.”

LeFavour, a former teacher who grew up on a farm in rural central Idaho, described herself as an “advocate for Idaho’s schools” who reduced prison budgets to increase funding to statewide mental health and substance abuse treatment programs across the state.

“We all want our tax dollars to be put to use for the betterment of our country, keeping wages livable, ensuring seniors and people with disabilities stay independent in their homes, making a college degree more meaningful and more affordable, lowering health care costs for small businesses and inspiring American companies to increase their manufacturing and create jobs here in America to make us strong again,” she said.

While in the state House of Representatives, LeFavour spoke out against a 2006 constitutional amendment banning the legal recognition of marriages and civil unions of same-sex couples. She also sought to add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to Idaho’s Human Rights Act.

“I have worked for decades to advance human rights and respect across Idaho,” she said on her campaign website. “In contrast, Mike Simpson has refused to address our broken immigration system in a way that unites families and best serves Idaho communities, agriculture, commerce and our economy. Additionally, in Congress Mr. Simpson has consistently opposed legislation to end discrimination against gay people in employment and military service and has even voted against ending the violence too many still face in our communities.”

Observers noted LeFavour faced an uphill battle against Simpson.

The Victory Fund declined to endorse her campaign.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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