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College of Idaho professor’s book gives new look at Idaho politics

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Posted at 10:45 AM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 12:55:30-05

CALDWELL — The motivation behind the project was pretty straight-forward. “I needed a book for my State and Local Politics class,” said Jasper LiCalzi, Professor (and Department Chair) of Political Economy at The College of Idaho. “(I thought): If I’m going to get a book that is just right for state and local politics for my class, maybe I ought to just do it myself.”

Thus started the process back in 2015 –- a process that has produced “Idaho Politics and Government: Culture Clash and Conflicting Values in the Gem State,” a book now on sale via Amazon and the University of Nebraska Press, the company that published his work.

“It’s not strictly an academic book, because I wanted it to be for college students. Even an AP high school class could use it,” LiCalzi said. “I had to balance it in some way with the book, so it could be an academic text -- but it’s not something that people who are interested in local politics and such couldn’t pick up and get something out of.”

A key component of the book, LiCalzi says, is stripping away traditional red-versus-blue political stereotypes. Instead of looking at Idaho politics through the lens of a conservative or a liberal, LiCalzi created a different perspective.

“What’s more important to people, the individual or the community?” LiCalzi explained. “Should we have policies and such that focus more on individual liberties, doing what you want to be able to do, things like that -- or restraining individuals somewhat to do what is best for the community?”

James Stoutenborough of the Political Science Department at Idaho State University – and one of LiCalzi’s professional collaegues – said, “‘Idaho Politics and Government’ presents a compelling and interesting examination of the state’s politics. Jasper LiCalzi’s creation of the idea of a petit-ideology -- and his thorough exploration of Idaho politics and history to illustrate this concept -- force readers to reconsider their understanding of state politics within states with strong one-party systems. The implications of the addition of petit-ideology to explain state policy-making around the country is exciting.”

LiCalzi, who also serves as Channel 6/Fox 9’s political analyst, is scheduled to appear on “Idaho Matters” on Boise State Public Radio on January 29 to discuss the new book.

(photo by College of Idaho)