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Former Governor Phil Batt Dead: His cause of death, Wife and Children

Phil Batt
Phil Batt
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cause of death: Idaho Mourns the Loss of Former Governor Phil Batt on His 96th Birthday

Longtime Idaho politician and former Governor Phil Batt passed away on March 4, 2023, his 96th birthday.

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What was Phil Batt cause of death?

Governor Brad Little announced Batt's death in a statement, calling him the “epitome of a public servant.”

Batt served as Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Senator, leaving behind a distinguished legacy of human rights leadership, fiscal conservatism, and love for Idaho.

Born in Wilder, Idaho, in 1927, Batt graduated from Wilder High School and studied chemical engineering at the University of Idaho from 1944 to 1948.

He then enlisted in the Army Air Force. Batt's political career began in the Idaho House of Representatives in 1965.

He went on to serve in the state Senate from 1967 to 1978 and as Lieutenant Governor from 1978 to 1982. In the early 1990s, Batt was the chairman of the Idaho Republican Party.

Batt was elected as Idaho's 29th governor in 1994, beating Larry EchoHawk and becoming the first Republican governor in the state in 28 years.

His victory ushered in a Republican era in Idaho politics that has continued with the election of Dirk Kempthorne, Butch Otter, and Little.

Batt's contributions to human rights in Idaho were significant. As Governor, he sponsored the creation of the Idaho Human Rights Commission and advocated for legislation to cover Idaho's Hispanic farm workers under the state's workers' compensation program. The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights praised Batt for his efforts.

Batt was also known for his 1995 Settlement Agreement with the federal government as Governor. The Batt Agreement required the Department of Energy to remove tons of nuclear waste that had been dumped above the East Snake Plain Aquifer, a major source of clean water for Idaho.

Batt's leadership protected Idaho's water and ensured the state's environmental well-being.

Batt's work for the betterment of Idaho extended beyond politics. Alongside his friend and former Democratic Governor Cecil Andrus, Batt protested a proposal from the Department of Energy that would transport spent fuel rods to the Idaho National Laboratory for research.

Despite their different party affiliations, their friendship lasted for more than half a century, until Andrus' death in 2017.

Who was Phil Batt wife?

Batt's first wife, Jacque, died in 2014 after 66 years of marriage. He married Francee Riley of Boise in 2015.

In 2019, former Governor Butch Otter awarded Batt the Idaho Medal of Achievement, the highest civilian honor the state offers to recognize Idahoans for their “exceptional, meritorious, and inspirational” service.

U.S. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho called Batt a close friend and mentor in a press release, mourning the loss of a “titan in Idaho politics” who cared deeply about the state.

Lt. Governor Scott Bedke expressed his condolences, calling Batt a man of “fairness and decency.” Bedke reflected on Batt's impact, recalling his appointment to a federal task force that worked to maintain Idaho's influential voice in the lands process.

Governor Little's office announced that Batt died “peacefully at his home.” Details of the former governor's lying-in-state ceremony at the Capitol will follow.

In honor of Batt, Governor Little ordered flags to be flown at half-staff. The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights also announced that its new education center, set to open in August, would be named the Philip E. Batt Building.

Idaho has lost a remarkable leader, but Batt's legacy will continue to inspire generations of Idahoans.

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