Beginning Wednesday, the Idaho Democratic Party (IDP) will have a new team member in Julie Fanselow, who is taking on the new job just a month before a national election.
Fanselow, who was born “nine days before Barack Obama” as she told New West, grew up in Chicago and Pittsburgh, got her degree in journalism and political science from Ohio University, then landed in Idaho in 1989 to take a reporter’s job at the Twin Falls Times-News.
After almost a decade of reporting, Fanselow spent the next decade writing for magazines, then a series of travel books, including the best-selling “Idaho Off the Beaten Path,” now in its 7th edition.
Fanselow caught the political bug during the Watergate era, but didn’t have time for serious activism until the months leading up to the 2004 elections.
“I came back to political activism in 2003 during the Howard Dean campaign. I was disgusted by our rush to the unnecessary war in Iraq and with the way the Bush administration squandered the world’s good will in the aftermath of September 11th,” she said.
In 2003, Fanselow founded the popular blog Red State Rebels for which she won awards, along with Grassroots for Grant, a campaign website for House candidate Larry Grant, from the Northwest Progressive Institute. United Vision for Idaho named her its first-ever Progressive Blogger of the Year in January 2008.
Jim Hansen, Executive Director of the IDP, says he’s thrilled to have an experienced organizer and skilled communicator accept the job. “Julie will be engaging and consulting with our county organizations about grassroots issues, which she is uniquely qualified to do,” he said. “Her internet skills in organizing from the ground up will also be invaluable.”
Fanselow said, “When I moved to Idaho in 1989, we had a Democratic governor. Two years later, both of our U.S. House members were Democrats. We’ve won in the past, and we will win again. I know the Democratic brand was badly bruised in Idaho during the 1990s and the early part of this decade, but we’re clearly on the way back.”