Jim Risch

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Jim Risch
Jim Risch.jpg
U.S. Senate, Idaho
In office
January 3, 2009-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 6
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
First elected2008
Next general November 4, 2014
Appointed byGovernor Butch Otter
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Idaho State Senate
Lieutenant Governor of Idaho
2003-2006, 2007-2009
Governor of Idaho
Bachelor'sUniversity of Idaho (1965)
J.D.University of Idaho College of Law (1968)
Date of birthMay 3, 1943
Place of birthMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Office website
James E. "Jim" Risch (born May 3, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is a U.S. Senator, representing Idaho. Risch was first elected to Senate in 2008.

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Risch is a "lonely far-right Republican follower".[1]

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter appointed Risch to the Senate seat to succeed Senator Larry Craig, who indicated his resignation on September 30, 2007. Risch is also the former Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Idaho. Risch is a rancher, attorney and politician from Ada County. He was the first Roman Catholic to serve as Governor of Idaho in over 90 years.


Risch was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee from 1961 to 1963, then transferred to the University of Idaho where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He obtained his B.S. in Forestry in 1965 and continued his education at the University of Idaho College of Law, serving on Law Review, and receiving his J.D. in 1968.

Risch entered politics in 1970, at age 27, winning election as Ada County Prosecuting Attorney. While serving in this capacity, he taught undergraduate classes in criminal justice at Boise State University and served as the President of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association.[2]


Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Risch serves on the following Senate committees[3]:



Threaten roadblock

Risch and Mike Crapo are joining Republicans in vowing to block all action until the U.S. Senate extends the Bush-era tax cuts and a government spending plan. All 42 Senate Republicans signed a letter sent to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev..

Risch said this follows the message voters sent during the last election.

“It is long past time we focus on getting Americans back to work and our deficit spending stopped,” Risch said. “That’s what Americans voted for last month.”[5]


Sens. Risch and Mike Crapo and a majority of Senate Republicans in voting down proposals that would allow homosexuals to openly serve in the military ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell") and allow young people in the U.S. illegally to remain in the country if they attend college or join the military (DREAM Act). Both Risch and Crapo said the two plans were rushed through by Democrats during Congress’s lame duck session.

Risch and Crapo both cast procedural votes against the DREAM Act, short for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, and a defense spending bill that would have repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy preventing gays and lesbians from openly serving.

“Today’s votes were nothing more than the majority checking off a laundry list of campaign promises to their base,” Risch said in a prepared statement. “The DREAM Act remains a deeply troubling bill that provides amnesty and taxpayer-funded benefits to those who broke our nation’s laws. The defense authorization bill was weighed down with social issues like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and funding for abortions at military clinics. These policies put social change ahead of the well-being of our men and women in uniform.”[6]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Jim Risch endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [7]

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Risch voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89/8 vote on January 1, 2013.[8]



On November 4, 2008, Risch won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Larry LaRocco (D), Rex Rammell (I), Pro-Life (I), Kent A. Marmon (L) and Kevin Volkmann (I) in the general election.[9]

U.S. Senate, Idaho General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJim Risch 57.7% 371,744
     Democratic Larry LaRocco 34.1% 219,903
     Independent Rex Rammell 5.4% 34,510
     Independent Pro-Life 1.3% 8,662
     Libertarian Kent A. Marmon 1.5% 9,958
     Independent Kevin Volkmann 0% 3
Total Votes 644,780


Risch was expected to enter the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary to succeed Kempthorne, who was completing his second term at this time of his federal appointment. However, Congressman Otter had announced his candidacy for the position in December 2004, and had gained a significant headstart in campaigning and fundraising. In November 2005, Risch announced his intention to seek election again as lieutenant governor.

Although he had another opportunity to enter the gubernatorial race after Kempthorne's appointment in March 2006, Risch again chose not to challenge Otter for the position. Risch was unopposed for the 2006 Republican nomination for lieutenant governor and defeated former Democratic Congressman Larry LaRocco in the general election. Risch stepped down as governor in January 2007 and returned to the role of lieutenant governor.

Campaign donors



Congressional Staff Salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Risch paid his congressional staff a total of $2,190,509 in 2011. He ranks 16th on the list of the lowest paid Republican Senatorial Staff Salaries and he ranks 21st overall of the lowest paid Senatorial Staff Salaries in 2011. Overall, Idaho ranks 15th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[10]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org - The Center for Responsive Politics, Risch's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $19,454,055 and $88,721,997. That averages to $54,088,026, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican Senators in 2010 of $7,054,258.[11]

National Journal vote ratings


See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of congress voted in the previous year. Risch ranked 7th in the conservative rankings among U.S. Senators.[12]

Political Positions

Percentage voting with party

Jim Risch voted with the Republican Party 87 of the time, which ranked 39 among the 47 Senate Republican members as of November 2011.[13]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Jim + Risch + Idaho + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

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Senator Risch and his wife Vicki have been married for 43 years. They have 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 6 grandchildren. Their commitment to Idaho and their work together earned them the distinction of being selected as Idaho's Healthy Marriage Ambassadors in 2007. They live on a ranch outside of Boise and maintain an apartment in Washington, D.C.[14]

Contact Information

Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Room 225, State Capitol
Boise, Idaho 83720-0057
Phone: 208-334-2200
Fax: 208-334-3259

External links



Political offices
Preceded by
Larry Craig
U.S. Senate - Idaho
Succeeded by