October 15, 2002 - Idaho Spokesman-Review: Accion Co-Founder and Former Peace Corps Assistant Director Jerry Brady makes change happen

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By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, October 15, 2002 - 5:03 pm: Edit Post

Accion Co-Founder and Former Peace Corps Assistant Director Jerry Brady makes change happen

Read and comment on this story from the Idaho Spokesman-Review on Former Peace Corps Staffer Jerry Brady who is running for Governor of Idaho. Brady co-founded Accion International, worked as an aide to Sen. Frank Church in Washington, D.C., and served as assistant director and director of public affairs for the Peace Corps. Read the story at:

Brady makes change happen*

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Brady makes change happen
Love of public service drives Democrat's challenge for Idaho governor's seat
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Betsy Z. Russell
Staff writer

Jerry Brady makes an unusual politician, with his talk about a life of service and working for a better world.

It's no put-on. From helping thousands of poor Venezuelans start businesses to helping run the Peace Corps, from the Washington, D.C., offices of Idaho Sen. Frank Church to a newspaper office in Idaho Falls, Brady's career has followed an unusual track. Now this 66-year-old attorney, scion of an eastern Idaho publishing family and great-grandson of a Republican Idaho governor, is running for governor as a Democrat, taking on a well-known incumbent in a GOP-dominated state.

Asked why he's running, Brady recalls a summer spent in Africa as a college student in 1958. "I got a feel for what it's like to live poor," he said. "I thought, `I'd like to do something about this."'

That led to a series of efforts throughout Brady's life to try to launch new efforts for change. Some, like his Latin American loan program, hatched with a fellow student when he was in law school, were widely successful. Today, Accion International makes about 450,000 micro-loans a year throughout Latin America, lending about $700 million. Others, like needling his conservative eastern Idaho hometown with moderate to liberal editorials, brought vitriolic reaction.

"It makes me very happy to be able to run," Brady said. "It will make me very happy to serve, because I've wanted to do this with my life. I do think that politics is service and not self-aggrandizement -- if it isn't, I don't want any part of it."

Brady is challenging Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Also on the ballot is Libertarian Daniel L.J. Adams.

Here's a look at some of the high and low points in Brady's diverse career, and his background:

Seeing a need

"I'm pretty good at starting things that didn't exist, seeing a need and creating an institution to go fill that need," Brady says.

That's what happened with Accion. As a young law student, Brady wasn't interested in a conventional law practice. He hadn't even graduated when he and a fellow student started Accion, first with the idea of sending Americans to Latin America to work in poor communities. That evolved "toward ways of helping Latin Americans do better for themselves," which led to the idea of small loans for small businesses. "It developed a means by which these loan recipients could succeed," Brady said. "And 97.5 percent of all the loans were repaid, which is pretty high among poor people -- it's higher than among nonpoor people."

Later, after working for Sen. Church, for Congress and for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., and building a law practice there, Brady returned to Idaho in 1984 when his father died, and took over the family business. The Brady family had owned the Post Register newspaper in Idaho Falls since 1925, and a local TV station since 1961. Worried that family members eventually would sell the newspaper to a chain, Brady began looking into converting it to employee ownership in 1995. Now, 49 percent of the company is owned by the employees.

"I wanted to keep it out of corporate hands," Brady said. "I think free and independent newspapers are so important."

He's perhaps best known in his region for economic development work. In 1992, Brady became concerned that coming job losses at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory would ruin eastern Idaho's economy. He looked into communities that had successfully faced similar challenges, and found the Tri-Cities in Washington. After a visit there to learn about the Tri-City Industrial Development Council, Brady came home and formed the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council.

"I called some people together, the mayor, a lawyer, a banker, some other people I thought could be useful," he said. <> We gradually built that out until we had maybe 100 community and corporate sponsors that helped fund the initial operation."

The new group raised $4.4 million for its first five-year effort, and went to work enticing businesses to come to Idaho and to get others to start-up or expand. Using a combination of public and private funds, the development council has now helped create 5,100 jobs in eastern Idaho. It helped create an industrial park next to the research center of the federal lab, started an incubator for new businesses, and negotiated directly with companies. The new jobs come from companies such as Center Partners and Qwest Communications.

Not always popular

In a conservative region of a conservative state, Brady's newspaper has editorialized in favor of dam-breaching, education funding and tribal gaming, with Brady writing some of the editorials over the years himself. The paper supported Idaho Public Television against attempts to shut the network down after it aired a program that dealt with homosexuality, and criticized the state for cutting off all nonemergency dental coverage for poor adults on Medicaid.

"There's no question about it, I am not as conservative in my views in the classic sense as the rest of my community," Brady said.

But he makes no apologies for taking those stands.

"It seems to me that a newspaper ought to run against the grain, if it's warranted," he said.


Brady graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1954, the University of Notre Dame in 1958, and after a stint in the Army, the University of California Law School in 1962. He was student body president at Notre Dame.

Brady co-founded Accion International, worked as an aide to Sen. Frank Church in Washington, D.C., and served as assistant director and director of public affairs for the Peace Corps. He practiced law in the nation's capital, specializing in international trade and natural gas imports, from 1979 to 1984, before returning to Idaho and becoming vice president, then president of the Post Company and publisher of the Post Register.

An avid reader and golfer, he enjoys backpacking and mountain-biking. He and wife Rickie have five children and four grandchildren.

Read this background material on Jerry Bardy at:

Paper Forced to Cover the Boss

Paper Forced to Cover the Boss

Tuesday, March 26, 2002


Jerry Brady, publisher of the Post Register newspaper in Idaho Falls, Idaho, poses outside the state Capitol on Friday in Boise. (Douglas C. Pizac/The Associated Press)



IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -- It's the kind of news that gives newspaper editors cold-sweat nightmares: The publisher is running for governor.

That is what's happening at the Post Register in Idaho Falls.

Publisher Jerry Brady announced in mid-March that he is making a run for the state's highest office, putting his family's newspaper in the awkward position of covering the boss as a political candidate.

"Everything we do now is second-guessed," managing editor Dean Miller said.

Roger Plothow, general manager and acting publisher, said: "I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I don't like notoriety for this reason."

Brady, a Democrat whose great-grandfather James Brady was governor of Idaho in the early 1900s, has taken a paid leave from the newspaper. His office is dark and will be turned into a nursing room for new mothers.

Brady said the paper will cover him like any other candidate, and he will treat the Post Register as he would any other paper.

In fact, Brady did not tell his own newsroom he was running.

"We were damn near scooped!" Miller said. The paper stumbled upon the story when an opinion writer was researching an unrelated story.

"It was not my job to give them the tip," Brady explained.

After the initial shock, Miller said he tried to think of a way to talk Brady out of running. Then he decided he had to come up with a game plan.

Miller consulted journalism experts around the country. From their responses, the paper drew up an eight-page coverage plan and a script for receptionists to use when they get calls about the campaign.

The paper has hired an ombudsman to monitor its election coverage. Lee Warnick, head of the Brigham Young University-Idaho communications department, will write columns between now and the election. His contract stipulates that the paper can edit his writing only for grammar and style.

The paper has a circulation of about 25,000. That would make it a small publication in many states, but in Idaho the Post Register is the second-largest newspaper. It serves Idaho Falls, a city of 50,000, and the surrounding counties, which are dominated by potato fields and dotted with Mormon churches.

The people here are predominantly Mormon and politically conservative. The Post Register's editorial page is liberal and frequently riles its readers. Brady, 65, has been a leading force on the opinion page for 13 years, writing one or two editorials a week.

This early in the race, Brady has no other Democrats challenging him for the nomination. However, he faces Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a Republican incumbent in a Republican state, meaning he is a long shot.

The situation in Idaho Falls has recent precedents. Michael Bloomberg, New York City's new mayor, owns Bloomberg LP, a financial news service. Journalists there must tread carefully when covering the city. In Minnesota, Democratic state Sen. Becky Lourey, who is running for governor, has picked former Minneapolis Star Tribune publisher Joel Kramer as her running mate. Kramer left the newspaper in 1998.

In Idaho, Brady will have no role in the paper's coverage while he is running for election, according to the acting publisher. But that is not good enough for some readers.

Joseph Campbell of Idaho Falls wrote to the paper questioning the distance between the publisher's campaign and the news coverage. He also said it was wrong for Brady to continue to take his paycheck.

Aly Colon, an ethics specialist at the Poynter Institute, a media think tank, said that is exactly the problem with a publisher hitting the campaign trail: The newspaper finds its objectivity questioned.

"The importance of the news in general is its independence and tied to this is credibility," he said. "From a journalistic and credibility point of view, there is nothing I can see that is positive in this."

The Post Register's political reporter, Corey Taule, said he cannot afford to have people think he is biased toward his Democratic boss. In a state that is overwhelmingly Republican -- of the 105 state legislators, only 12 are Democrats -- he would only be hurting himself as a reporter.

"I'm just going to do what I do. That's the best way to go about it," Taule said with a shrug.

The paper said two or three readers have canceled their subscriptions in protest.

One reader, Paul Hopperdietzel, renewed his subscription but wrote that Brady is a "nitwit" who will only help the Republicans by running.

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By Amanda Hanchey (24-119-196-84.cpe.cableone.net - on Wednesday, October 25, 2006 - 8:46 pm: Edit Post

What does Mr. Brady think about water?

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