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Kathy Griesmyer, 2019 Accomplished Under 40

Kathy Griesmyer

30 •Policy Director •

ACLU of Idaho • Boise

When Kathy Griesmyer went to college, her first class for her international studies major was about globalization. She learned about human rights abuses and the problems caused by colonialism.

“I grew up not really aware of the different injustices that are present in our community,” she explains. “I have a lot of privileges.”

But once she learned more and more about what was going on, she couldn’t turn away. She spent the rest of her college life studying and volunteering, and has held true to her commitment to social justice ever since.

“My vision for Idaho rests on the principle that no matter who you are — who you love, the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, the country you come from — you should be treated with fairness and equality in all walks of life,” she writes.

Greismyer is highly effective at accomplishing her goals, and is widely known for bringing people together with kindness, compassion and a spirit of generosity.

“She blends a powerful combination of exceptional business acumen, academic excellence, authenticity, congruence and humanity to her professional life and every endeavor,” writes Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, assistant minority leader and 2019 Idaho Business Review Woman of the Year, in a letter of recommendation.

As policy director for ACLU of Idaho, Griesmyer has led a number of successful endeavors, according to ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Leo Morales. In just five years, her work has included:

  • Passage of a bill to limit government civil asset forfeiture
  • Historic reform in the criminal justice system to improve the livelihood of individuals with suspended driver’s licenses
  • State funding for Idaho’s public defense system
  • Defeat of legislation aimed to oppress individuals of the Muslim faith
  • Defeat of legislation to single out immigrants
  • Defeat of legislation aimed to curtail the due process rights of tenants
  • For three legislative sessions in a row, leading a coalition to defeat a well-funded, out-of-state campaign that would limit the rights of individuals accused of a crime

Griesmyer talks about these initiatives easily, and to anyone who’s interested and willing to listen.

“There’s so much work to be done in Idaho,” she says.

In the future, Griesmyer hopes to encourage more and more people to be involved in their communities, to become engaged voters and to inspire more participation in the legislative process and neighborhood issues.

If her past has any clues for what her future may bring, chances are good that she’ll succeed.

About Rebecca Palmer