Democratic Representative Sue Chew, who had served the longest in Idaho, passes away

 April 19, 2024

Rep. Sue Chew, who had had the longest tenure of any Democratic politician in Idaho, passed away. Over the course of her eighteen years, she served as Boise's District 17 representative. 

KTVB received confirmation of the revelation late on Wednesday night from Senator Melissa Wintrow, a Democrat from Boise. Wintrow stated that Chew has a genuine passion for public service and finding solutions to problems, KTVB reported.

Some of Chew's History

Sometime in 2023, Chew was given a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. She held a license to practice as a pharmacist and participated in a number of committees during her nine terms as a representative at the Idaho State Capitol.

In order to pay tribute to Chew and her service, Governor Brad Little issued an order on Thursday that the flags of the United States and Idaho be lowered to half-staff until sunset on Friday.

“Representative Sue Chew was one of the state’s longest serving current members of the Idaho Legislature, and she served her constituents in Boise’s District 17 with passion and dedication," Little said in a news release.

"As the Legislature’s only pharmacist, she was a tireless advocate for the expansion of the role of pharmacy in healthcare, among her other achievements.

"She was a strong ally on a variety of healthcare policy issues, and she will be deeply missed by her community, colleagues in government, and many loved ones."

In May of 2023, KTVB conducted an interview with Chew, during which she discussed her early beginnings, including her childhood in the Bay area of California during the civil rights era, her experiences of watching and experiencing prejudice, her relocation to the Gem State, and her final decision to become an advocate for the Asian population in the state.

Possible Resignation

According to a report that was published in the Idaho Press on June 21, 2023, Chew stated that she was prepared to resign from her position. Her support for Natalie MacLachlan's bid to represent Bosie's District 17 was unwavering, after the announcement.

Upon learning of Chew's death on Thursday, House Minority Leader and Idaho Democratic Party Chair Lauren Necochea (D-Boise) issued the following statement:

"Sue Chew was known for her moral clarity and huge heart for the people at risk of being left behind. She was deeply committed to inclusive representation and was a tireless door-knocker, always keeping in touch with her constituents and their needs.

"The Idaho Democratic Party grieves alongside the many people Rep. Chew touched across her career, including advocates for health care, labor, disability rights, and civil rights. We will do our best to pick up the torch she carried and continue building a state with justice for every Idahoan."

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