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Gov. Otter, Mayor Bieter Come Together in Urging Idahoans to Support Prop 1

Other Elected Leaders Show Bipartisan Unity Behind Ballot Measure   

(BOISE) — Governor Butch Otter and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter shared the stage Thursday to talk about the importance and value of a healthy live horse racing industry and to urge voters across the political spectrum to support Proposition 1 at the ballot box next month.

At a press conference Thursday in Boise, Otter, Idaho’s three-term Republican Governor, and Bieter, a Democrat serving his fourth term, highlighted the importance voting “Yes” on Proposition 1 and supporting a healthy live racing industry.

“Proposition 1 has one goal in mind, and that’s rejuvenating a live horse racing industry that just a few years ago employed hundreds in cities and rural communities throughout Idaho and injected millions of dollars annually into our economy,” Otter said Thursday.

“On a personal level, it’s been painful to see such an iconic and bedrock industry fall into decline. Fewer race days and vacant tracks are bad for all of us, not just those who run horses. Generations of Idahoans have a direct connection to the horse industry, whether it’s moving cattle, riding trails or competing in rodeo. Idaho is a horse state and a healthy environment for breeding, training and running race horses elevates the overall quality of our horse community,” Otter said.

Mayor Bieter said: “Part of being a great city is having a variety of recreational opportunities. Horse racing is not only an Idaho tradition, it is also important to our agricultural heritage. And a percentage of proceeds from Les Bois Park are directly contributed to our local schools.”

The Governor and Mayor were joined Thursday by Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, Rep. Hy Klock, D-Boise, and Boise City Council members Scot Ludwig and Elaine Clegg.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, a former educator who was unable to attend the press conference, said supporting Proposition 1 and reviving the horse racing industry is something all Idahoans can embrace, regardless of party affiliation.

“We’re seeing the consequences that have resulted in the decline of this important Idaho heritage,” Ward-Engelking said. “The shutdown of Les Bois Park alone has led to the loss of millions of dollars supporting our economy and hundreds of good-paying jobs, not just here in Boise but in the rural areas where so many of our horse breeders, trainers and jockeys live. I’m happy to stand with Governor Otter, Mayor Bieter and so many others in urging voters to support Prop 1.”

Thanks to the initiative process, voters have an opportunity on Nov. 6 to revive a horse racing industry through a restricted and accountable form of pari-mutuel gaming, called Historical Horse Racing, an alternative revenue source that supports live racing industries in many other states, including Kentucky, Virginia and neighboring states like Wyoming and Oregon.

In addition, Treasure Valley Racing, which operates Les Bois Park in Boise and is the sole funder of Proposition 1, recently created a charitable foundation dedicated to supporting rural communities. The owners of Treasure Valley Racing are pledging that 100% of the profits from racing at Les Bois Park will support the Treasure Valley Racing for Rural Idaho Foundation. The goals of the foundation include:

  • Providing financial assistance or scholarships for undergraduate studies at Idaho colleges and universities – with a preference for students interested in pursuing degrees in agriculture, animal science or equine studies.
  • Supporting 4H programs, FFA, horse and other rural economic and education programs.
  • Supporting nonprofits that serve rural communities in Idaho in the areas of education, access to health and social services, and the conservation of rural traditions.
  • Contributing financially to rural families in need of special assistance or health care services—with a preference to those injured in equine or agriculture-related activities.