Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on Wednesday named Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, to the Idaho Tax Commission.
“Janet has proven herself to be an exceptionally talented and capable tax professional, both in her career and in her work as a legislator. More than that, she has a real passion for properly implementing tax policy and working with taxpayers to ensure they are treated fairly and with respect,” Otter said in a news release.
“I’m very excited about it. It’s kind of a natural progression,” Trujillo said in a phone interview.
Trujillo has been a tax assessor for 17 years, spending two years with Jefferson County before moving on to Bonneville County.
Trujillo has represented the city of Idaho Falls in the Legislature since first winning election in 2012. She has served on the House Committee on Revenue and Taxation for five years and is currently its vice-chairwoman.
Otter first announced the appointment at the annual pre-session meeting of the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho in Boise, according to the Spokesman-Review.
“Obviously, I’d interviewed for the position, but the governor surprised me this morning,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo said she’ll turn in her resignation as a lawmaker before the next legislative session, which begins next month. That means the Republican Party’s Legislative District 33 Committee will nominate three people to replace her within the next few weeks.
Chairman Stafford Smith could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday to learn whether a date for the meeting has been set.
Once the committee names three candidates, Otter will pick among them for Trujillo’s successor, who will serve one term in the Legislature before the 2018 election cycle.
Two of the three individuals representing District 33 will have been appointed rather than elected. Sen. Tony Potts was named to replace former Sen. Bart Davis after he left to become U.S. attorney.
Trujillo said she’ll initially focus on learning at the Tax Commission.
“Obviously, the first bit is going to be a bit of a learning curve,” she said. “But when it comes to my main goal, it’s getting in there and learning. There’s going to be a lot of changes.”
Trujillo said one of her top priorities will be to focus on cybersecurity in order to protect taxpayers’ private data.
Trujillo said she’ll remember her time in the House fondly.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was something that I wouldn’t trade. It was very humbling. It was great that the voters put their confidence in me.”
Reporter Bryan Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.