The James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research


The James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho is named for an iconic United States Senator and his esteemed wife, Louise. Together, they championed the causes of Idaho, from Moscow to Boise to Washington, for four decades. Senator McClure earned the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his engagement in thoughtful civil dialogue, his pursuit and promotion of bi-partisan collaboration, and his long commitment to sound public policy.


The McClure Center examines and promotes research on public policy and leadership in public affairs issues that impact the state, the region and the nation.


The core of the Center’s mission, befitting of Senator McClure’s legacy, is the application of scientifically based research to the public policy making process.

The Center is Idaho’s preeminent public policy research center applying the University of Idaho’s interdisciplinary research expertise and promoting engagement and collaboration with other institutions and organizations as resources in support of public policy making and the public’s understanding and involvement in these processes.

Foundational to the Center’s work is the promotion of broader public knowledge and understanding of political and policy making processes and the promotion of civic engagement and civil discourse.

Public policy is only as effective as the information, research and analysis upon which it is based. The McClure Center’s mission is to be a credible source for the public and the state’s policy makers for such research and analysis.

Contact & Location


The James A. & Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research

Physical & Mailing Address: 
GAR Building
714 W. State Street
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: (208) 364-4549
742-McClure Center Newsletter banner


Statewide Energy Survey Nearly Complete

The McClure Center’s first statewide public opinion survey is nearing completion. The survey is being conducted to determine attitudes of Idahoans on a wide range of issues relating to energy. The survey is being done with financial support from Idaho Power Company and the Idaho National Laboratory. It is being conducted by the McClure Center in conjunction with the University of Idaho’s Social Science Research Unit.

The final results of the survey will be made available to the full range of individuals involved in setting public policy concerning energy issues, including federal, state and local officials.

The survey is being conducted using randomly selected telephone interviews with 800 Idahoans. The survey includes eighty questions relating to such items as energy costs, environmental impacts, safety, reliability, taxes and rates, and climate change. Results will be compiled on both a regional and statewide basis.

Included in the final report of the survey will be a comparison of survey responses to recommendations included in the State Energy Plan.
Beginning in September, presentations will be made across the state to familiarize policy makers, the media and the general public with the results. The final report will also be posted on the McClure Center website.

Marty Peterson, interim director of the McClure Center, spoke to two of Idaho’s major policy organizations in June. On June 11 he spoke to the 38th annual conference of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry meeting in Sun Valley. On June 21 he spoke to the 65th annual conference of the Association of Idaho Cities. He provided both organizations with an overview of the McClure Center’s energy survey project, including a sneak preview of results to several key questions.

Both presentations resulted in further invitations from other groups to make presentations once the project is complete.

Best Selling Author and Historian Douglas Brinkley Speaks at McClure Center Forum
Historian Douglas Brinkley spoke at a McClure Center sponsored public forum on April 8 on “Wild America: From Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower.” The program commemorated the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s April 9, 1911 appearance at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Brinkley is the author of numerous books, including “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.” His most recent book, “Cronkite” , is a biography of the late CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite.

Student Internships
The McClure Center has had four University of Idaho students as McClure Interns during 2012. Each intern earns three credits and receives a stipend each semester. McClure Center interns have taken on diverse projects, including coordinating a campus series called “Coffee and Politics” that focuses on topical political subjects presented by speakers with expertise in those areas. They also coordinate campus efforts for Constitution Day programs on campus.

Kirsten Hartley, a senior majoring in political science and sociology, has continued working on her internship throughout the summer of 2012.

Hannah Blankenship, who received a B.S. in Public Relations, also served as Communications Board chair for the Associated Students of the University of Idaho (ASUI).

Joe Black , who graduated with degrees in public relations and political science, also spent the 2012 legislative session in Boise as the ASUI student lobbyist.

Samantha Storms graduated with a B.S. in Public Relations. She also served as Outreach and Recruitment Student Coordinator for the ASUI and worked as a press intern for Senator Mike Crapo in Washington, D.C.

Meet Corey Crowley-Hall, the Center’s Research Fellow
Corey Crowley-Hall is the McClure Center’s current Research Fellow. Corey is a Moscow native with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Linfield College and a master’s degree in public policy from Oregon State University. He is currently working on his doctorate in political science at the University of Idaho.

He has previously worked as a research assistant in the Political Science Department at Oregon State University. Prior to that he had an internship with the Albany, Oregon, transit system, an internship with Premier Mike Rann of South Australia, and worked in several political campaigns.

Corey is involved with two Center projects. The first is a research project on policy responses to reduce rates of medically uninsured in Idaho. The second is his involvement in the Center’s statewide energy survey.

Frank Martin Cushing Public Policy Scholarship Endowment
Frank Cushing graduated from the University of Idaho in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. IN 1977 he joined the staff of Senator Jim McClure in Washington, D.C. as his legislative assistant for agricultural issues. Cushing served as clerk of the Senate Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee for Chairman McClure from 1981-84 under full committee Chairman Mark Hatfield of Oregon, and as staff director for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee under Chairman McClure from 1984-91.

Following a three-year stint as Corporate Vice President of a Fortune 50 energy firm, Cushing returned to Capitol Hill in 1995 to serve as Clerk and Staff Director of the House Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee for then Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis of California. He left the Hill in 2003 to become a partner at a firm specializing in appropriations consulting but returned to the House in 2005 as the Clerk and Staff Director of the full House Appropriations Committee under newly elected Chairman Lewis. This is one of the most powerful and influential staff positions in Congress. Cushing was the twelfth Clerk and Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee in U.S. history and today his portrait hangs in the U.S. Capitol with his predecessors dating back to 1865.

Frank was a strong supporter of the University of Idaho, serving on the advisory boards of both the Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival and the McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

Frank retired in 2008. He passed away on February 6, 2012. In honor of Frank, the Frank Martin Cushing Public Policy Scholarship Endowment has been established through the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

To contribute you may go online to the Frank Martin Cushing Public Policy Scholarship Endowment or you may send a check payable to the University of Idaho Foundation, c/o The University of Idaho Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 443147, Moscow, ID, 83844-3147.

Looking Back at the Center’s Beginnings
The original name of the McClure Center was the Bureau of Public Affairs Research. The State Board of Education approved changing the name to the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Affairs Research in 2007.

The Bureau of Public Affairs Research was established at the University of Idaho in 1959 by Dean Boyd Martin as a unit within the College of Letters and Science. Its main purpose was to provide research, training, and consulting services for state and local government agencies in Idaho. It also worked closely with state agency personnel and city and county governmental associations in planning Bureau activities and identifying major problem areas for research and training.
IN 1970, Governor-elect Cecil Andrus used the resources of the Bureau of help form his administration. Individuals affiliated with the Bureau who played significant roles were Sydney Duncombe, who developed Andrus’ first state budget, D.E. Chilberg, who became state budget director, and Kay Pell, who became director of the Department of Special Services.

In its first ten years of existence the Bureau completed seventeen major research studies: nine on city government, two on county government, two on the state legislature, and four compilations of election statistics. This level of activity continued until the retirement of Sidney Duncombe who directed the Bureau from 1973-1988.

The Bureau also published for elected city and county officials handbooks which contain descriptions of the responsibilities and duties of local officials in Idaho. Other publications reported the results of studies into specific problems in local government, such as municipal home rule for Idaho cities, centralized purchasing for local governments, and use of annexation and extraterritorial powers of cities in solving urban fringe problems.

In addition to its research function, the Bureau, using federal grant funds, sponsored training programs for state and local officials in Idaho. Among the institutes were those for mayors and councilmen, county commissioners and clerks, city clerks and treasurers, city fiscal officers, legislative budget staff, local law enforcement administrators, and tax assessors. The Bureau also provided consulting services to state and local agencies.

Following the retirement of Syd Duncombe, the Bureau went into a period of inactivity for nearly twenty years until it was reorganized as the McClure Center.