Thursday, April 26, 2007

Journalist Dives Into Politics

IBR's John Foster to take Idaho Dem Party job

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

John Foster, the former managing editor of the Idaho Business Review, will become the new executive director of the Idaho Democratic Party.

Foster, 33, will replace Maria Weeg, who has gone to work for the Arizona Democratic Party.

"I love journalism, I love investigative reporting. But this was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that I couldn't overlook," Foster told BW this morning. As a longtime fan of former governor Cecil Andrus, Foster said he's always had a spot in his heart for the Idaho Democratic Party. He has been with the Business Review since May 2006.

He was offered the job by party chairman Richard Stallings earlier this week.

"I was not looking to leave the Idaho Business Review," Foster said. "It was a great job, I very much enjoyed the opportunity there. They placed a lot of trust in me, and I'm deeply appreciative of that."

When the possibility of his hire by the party came up three weeks ago, Foster took a leave of absence from the Business Review, he said, to avoid any conflict of interest. Jumping from journalism, something that Foster has been working at since he was a 19-year-old freelancer for the Twin Falls Times-News, was not easy.

"It's a chance to become a part of something that I've always enojoyed and, more importantly, to make an impact in the state that I love," he said.

Born and raised in Boise, Foster attended Borah High School. He did not go to college, instead going straight into newspaper work. He was also, at one point, a freelancer for the Boise Weekly.

Eventually he worked his way to New Mexico, where he was the news editor of the small but scrappy Rio Grande Sun in Espanola. Foster and his reporters were known as hard-hitting investigative journalists in a state known for its tough political climate.

"Covering New Mexico politics is like going to graduate school in political science," he said. "It was a great place to learn how politics really works on the ground."

He said he expects to carry on with Weeg's work building the political operation of Idaho's minority party, and that this will be a long-term job.

"I'm not taking this job to do it for two years and become someone's chief of staff or campaign manager," Foster said. "A lot of people I respect a great deal have put a lot of trust in me and I'm going to work hard not to let them down. "

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