Let's raise a toast to John Foster, new executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party. Foster's selection was announced yesterday by state party chair Richard Stallings. The former journalist was most recently managing editor of the Idaho Business Review. He replaces Maria Weeg, who left a month ago to become exec of the Arizona Democratic Party.
Something very interesting happened at the IBR during the past session of the Idaho Legislature. Largely through a blog written by Foster himself, the IBR became less the voice of big business and more of a champion for the start-up entrepreneurs and workers who really keep Idaho's economy humming. Idaho's future is in danger of being kneecapped by legislators who refuse to address the state's growth, and Foster called 'em on it. Or as Tom Paine wrote at 43rd State Blues just a few weeks ago, the agile and alert Idaho Business Review - more so than the Idaho Statesman - was reporting on "the true and actual subplots behind the public face of these wingnut dirtbags that run Idaho."
It's also good news that Foster realizes the role that new media can and must play in changing and challenging Idaho's political culture. IDP communications director Chuck Oxley, a former Associated Press man, is still far too oriented toward old-school media, rarely citing bloggers' work in his news roundups and only minimally using the potential of the party's own website. Foster knows better - or as he told Jill Kuraitis at New West, “As a former journalist, I’m comfortable with the mainstream media, but my heart is in the blogosphere.”
So welcome, John, and good luck. We rank-and-file Dems look forward to working with you to ensuring that Idaho is the next state to join the purple mountains of the new - and increasingly Democratic - West.