When she met with Senate Resources and Environment Committee Chairman Monte Pearce before her confirmation vote, he tried to get her to withdraw without a fight.
“We’re going to look like a bunch of men beating up on a young woman,” Hurlock said Pearce told her. “He said if I withdrew, ‘I am sure the governor could appoint you to another commission, maybe the nursing board.’ ”
“I told him, ‘Senator, I’m not qualified to serve on the nursing board.’ ”
Hurlock sat in her fitness center in Buhl Monday and watched online as members of the Idaho Senate argued on the Senate floor that she was not qualified for the commission.
Senators questioned the qualifications of the former forensic chemist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and former member of the U.S. Capitol Police. Their major argument was that she was not an avid enough hunter, noting that she had not obtained a hunting license every year.
The Senate followed Pearce’s committee’s recommendation and defeated her nomination 19-16.
Pearce told the Statesman Thursday that he wouldn’t engage in a he-said, she-said situation.
“I’m not going there,” Pearce said.
Hurlock spoke to the Statesman Wednesday, saying she’s speaking out after her defeat to defend her character and credentials.
Hurlock said she had hunting and fishing licenses from 1999 to 2002. She did not buy them in the years that followed as she raised her children and lost her husband.
Hurlock remarried. Her husband, Matt Bridges, had two teenage sons.
One of those boys died in Iraq in 2006, and his death even became an issue in the fight over her confirmation.
Sen. Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, who led the opposition to Hurlock’s nomination, said a squabble over an organization named after Army Cpl. Doug Bridges was more proof that Hurlock was not qualified.
The group’s aim is to get wounded soldiers into the backcountry for hunting.
Hurlock said Monte Bruhn of Buhl asked if the group could use Doug Bridges’ name. The 22-year-old was killed in Baghdad Nov. 4, 2006.
The family agreed. Bruhn invited Hurlock and Bridges both to join the board. Bridges became a board member, Hurlock did not; they thought two family members raising money in the name of their son didn’t seem right, Hurlock said.
But on the Senate floor this week, Heider said that Hurlock had not actively supported the group.
“We were involved and we donated a lot of money the first year,” Hurlock said.
Hurlock said the couple began questioning how the group was run and then left the group, asking Bruhn to remove Doug’s name. He did.
Bruhn became one of the voices raising doubts about Hurlock’s and her husband’s interest in hunting, and testified at the committee hearing on her nomination.
Bruhn told the Statesman Thursday the issue is over and he had no comment.
What made Hurlock angry was that Heider didn’t ask for her side before telling the story on the Senate floor.
Heider confirmed that he talked to Hurlock many times, but not specifically about the wounded warrior group. But he said he talked to many others and believed Bruhn’s version that the couple hadn’t been supportive.
“I believe him,” Heider said.
Gov. Butch Otter had a committee review the nominees before recommending Hurlock, and Otter vetted her himself before her appointment in July 2012, she said.
“The governor called me and said he was proud of me and thanked me for sticking it out,” Hurlock said. “He said I was the best-qualified of the applicants, a no-brainer.”
Hurlock noted that F&G Commissioner Bob Borowsky had not owned a hunting license for more than a decade before his 2004 appointment. Otter picked Borowsky, a Democrat from Payette, who was preparing to run for the Legislature.
“If this is the qualification that sportsmen are wanting,” Hurlock said, “then they need to list it.”
Otter has said he will set up a selection process to pick a new commissioner.
Heider said he knows who he wants.
“I hope they pick another lady,” Heider said. “There are plenty of women who are avid hunters and anglers.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Pearce.
© 2013 Idaho Statesman