BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little has appointed Carrie Semmelroth, a former legislative candidate and a Boise State College of Education employee, to replace a state senator who has vacated her seat.
Semmelroth will replace Ali Rabe, a first-term Democratic state senator from Boise’s District 17, until her term expires at the end of 2022. Rabe announced this month that she had bought a house outside her district. Idaho legislative maps have been redrawn in accordance with the 2020 U.S. Census numbers by a bipartisan commission, but legal challenges have been filed to the redistricting.
Rabe said she would “err on the side of caution” and vacate her seat. She said she intends to run for the Idaho Senate in District 16 next year.
Little chose Semmelroth from three nominees submitted by Democrats. The other two were Rep. John Gannon, who has represented the district for five terms in the House, and Emily Walton. If a legislative seat is vacated midterm, the political party of the departing legislator gets to submit the replacement recommendations to the governor.
Semmelroth ran against Gannon in the 2014 Democratic primary in District 17, but Gannon won 65% of the vote.
Semmelroth said she was grateful to Rabe for her service and honored to be selected.
“I am eager to collaborate with lawmakers throughout Idaho to draft and pass policy geared toward creating a better tomorrow for our future generations,” Semmelroth said in a statement. “I look forward to listening and learning from District 17 voters in the coming months, as well as those in other districts.”
Idaho Senate Democrats sent out a release in which Sen. Michelle Stennett said they were “sad to lose Sen. Rabe” but “excited to welcome Carrie to our caucus” to work in January.
“I fully support Carrie in her new role as senator for District 17. Her expertise in education, ability to work across the aisle, and diversity in background and perspective will bring a lot to the Senate. I look forward to seeing what she will accomplish,” Rabe said in the same release.
Rabe is an attorney and the executive director of Jesse Tree, a homelessness prevention nonprofit that protects renters from eviction. Rabe said she will continue to work with lawmakers to advocate for bills that would help develop affordable housing and protect tenants from eviction.
“I’ve been searching for housing by night and seeing so many folks in eviction court by day,” Rabe wrote in a Nov. 5 social media post. “The housing crisis has been the first thing on my mind nearly every waking moment. … I pledge to work closely with my Democratic colleagues and legislators from across the aisle to carry on what I started this year: helping ensure everyone in our community can find a place to call home.”