BOISE — Idaho Governor “Butch” Otter Thursday presented the 2019 Idaho Medal of Achievement to former Idaho Governor Phil Batt -- for his many accomplishments and years of service to the state of Idaho.
Batt, who served from 1995 to 1999 as the 29th Governor of Idaho, was presented with the honor by both Otter, the current outgoing governor, and incoming Governor-elect Brad Little.
“I am absolutely delighted to receive this award,” said Batt. “It is a great honor to me.”
The award is the highest civilian honor the state of Idaho bestows. In presenting the honor, Otter lauded Batt as a role-model.
“Phil Batt was my mentor,” Otter said. “His bold, courageous leadership on human rights -- and so many other issues -- sets him apart, and makes him deserving of our deep appreciation and admiration. Phil is one of those rare leaders who transcends political ideology and brings people together.”
The Idaho Medal of Achievement was created by executive order in November, 2015, to recognize individual Idahoans for their “exceptional, meritorious, and inspirational” service to the people of Idaho. Otter chose to make the announcement and present the award as his last official act. It took place in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the Statehouse.
Co-presenting the award with Otter was Governor-elect Brad Little. "Governor Batt is not only a mentor and trusted adviser, but also a dear friend," Little said. "It is my privilege to co-present him with the Idaho Medal of Achievement, a true testament to his dedication, service and contributions to Idaho and all our citizens."
The four-member Idaho Medal of Achievement Commission unanimously included Batt as one of the top four candidates submitted to Governor Otter for his final consideration.
The Idaho Medal of Achievement is awarded annually to individuals -– living or dead –- who are nominated by the public. The Medal of Achievement Commission advances the names of no more than five finalists for the Governor’s consideration.
“Phil Batt was one of over sixty Idahoans under consideration for the state’s most prestigious honor,” said IMOA Commission Chair, former Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice, Linda Copple Trout. “Governor Batt was instrumental in advancing the cause of human rights in Idaho. He made correcting and improving Idaho’s image on human rights his personal mission. Idaho is a better place today as a result of the work he did for all of us.”
Besides Copple Trout, the Medal of Achievement Commission includes, Idaho Business for Education Chairman Skip Oppenheimer, former Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI) board member Kirk Sullivan, and the 2017 inaugural recipient of this award, America’s First Teacher in Space, Barbara Morgan.
Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla Mining Co. provided the silver for the Idaho Medal of Achievement and is sponsoring the award.