Former Idaho Governors honor Phil Batt at Statehouse ceremony

Batt passed away on his 96th birthday. Now his body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
Gov. Phil Batt lies in state before funeral service
Posted at 4:57 PM, Mar 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 19:32:22-05

BOISE, Id — Idaho's 29th Governor was brought to the Statehouse one last time.

Phil Batt passed away Saturday on his 96th birthday and today his body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The ceremony included a flyover and four Idaho Governors.

It was only appropriate that so many past and present Idaho politicians and state employees attended for the start of two days of remembrance for the former Governor.

Governor Brad Little was visibly emotional as he shared his thoughts about the man who never forgot where he came from. "Over the years I witnessed a man who struck that hard to achieve a balance between compromise and hard-line principles, always to improve the state he dearly loved," Otter said.

Former Governor Dirk Kempthorne, who followed Batt as Idaho's chief executive, hopes a large part of how we remember Phil Batt was his ease in getting along with everyone.

"Let's embrace and hold dear those traits, such as decency and civility, which he personified. And if we really want to say how much Phil Batt meant to this state, then let's emulate that we can bring decency and civility in all that we do," said Kempthorne.

Kempthorne was thrust from being a U.S. Senator to make a run at the Statehouse because Batt surprised everyone when he said he would not run for a second term.

Senator and former Governor Jim Risch explains, "That was Phil Batt. He had a lot of things in life, he had. Loved his family, loved farming, loved writing, loved music, loved corny jokes, but this was a guy that was as comfortable in his own skin as anybody I've ever seen."

And comfortable enough to know when to tell his contemporaries what he thought about their job performance.

Former Governor Butch Otter remembers, "This is a difficult task for me. I can't remember when I didn't know Phil Batt. I remember every butt chewing from him every time he told me I was wrong, and even when he told me I was right when I did the right thing."

The former Governor will lie in state until 10:00 am Friday, when he will be transferred to the Cathedral of the Rockies for a public funeral service.