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Taxpayers association hires lobbyist Davenport

Benjamin Davenport said he has a big role to fill when he joins the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho later this month. Davenport will be the group’s new president, replacing Randy Nelson, who led the group for 22 years before deciding to retire this year.

“There’s certainly going to be some learning to do,” said Davenport, who now works as a government affairs liaison and registered lobbyist with Risch Pisca in Boise.  He also said his work in the Statehouse, representing a broad clientele, has helped prepare him for his new post.

“I spent a lot of time in the tax committees, that’s for sure,” Davenport said. He also led successful campaigns for Ada County commissioners Fred Tilman and Rick Yzaguirre, Idaho Supreme Court Justice Joel Horton and a 2010 constitutional amendment allowing cities that generate electricity to issue bonds.

The ATI is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that researches state tax policy. Its board of directors includes officials with Idaho Power, Micron Technology Inc., Monsanto, J.R. Simplot Co. and other large companies.

Davenport said he plans on establishing relationships with many of the local officials that helped Nelson. He also said he thinks the ATI can increase its educational efforts, though he said doesn’t intend to heavily lobby for specific tax proposals.

“There is opportunity for the ATI to not only provide education but advocate for predictable and fair tax policy for the state of Idaho,” Davenport said. He did not offer any specific tax changes state lawmakers should make.

About Brad Iverson-Long

Brad Iverson-Long is a reporter for the Idaho Business Review, covering banks, financial services, technology and new business.