Rita Haggardt: Democrat Extraordinaire from Bannock County

Rita Haggardt

There are many ways to describe Rita Haggardt but my favorites include kind, sweet, humble, strong, opinionated, proud, thoughtful, caring, giving, loving, sharing, generous, and most of all inspiring. Many people in the Bannock County area know her as Mrs. Haggardt, Aunt Rita, Great Aunt, Mom Sister, Teacher, and Best Friend. I know her simply as my Democrat Mom who is always there to lend a helping hand.

Rita Demopoulos Haggardt was born in Pocatello, Idaho to a proud Greek family and will tell you that being Democrat is in her blood. She was married to Terry Haggardt, who was a school teacher, for 31 years from 1967-1998 before he passed away. Rita received her bachelor’s degree in education at Idaho State University and taught children at Syringa Elementary in Pocatello for 32 years before retiring. She then spent another 13 years at Idaho State University’s College of Education as the supervisor for student teachers, passing along her knowledge of teaching profession to college students.

Rita was President of the local chapter of the Idaho Education Association and was a member of the Idaho Education Association’s Board of Directors at the state level as well. She is in the Retired Educators Hall of Fame as recognized by South East Idaho Educators.

Rita grew up Greek Orthodox but now calls the Trinity Episcopal Church home where she is beloved by all, and spends a great amount of time working in the soup kitchen supervising teams that feed the hungry. Rita stays involved with Feed the 5000, which is an interfaith food drive to raise money and food donations to the feed the hungry in Southeast Idaho. She also chaired the drive in years past as well. She is a Neighborhood Watch activist and an active United Way volunteer.

She’s an active Zonta member at the local and regional levels. She has held many leadership positions in various organizations including the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Alpha Omicron Pi International Social Sorority Alumni Chapter President and Delta Kappa Gama, Beta chapter current treasurer and past chair.

In the early 2000s, Rita was awarded the Minnie Howard Award by the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce. Nominees for this award must be successful be successful professional women, and leaders in their field and community as well as mentors for other women. Last month, Rita was presented the Joy Morrison Humanitarian Award from the Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship. Rita was the recipient of the 2013 Ron Timpson award bestowed by the Pocatello Chapter of the NAACP for demonstrated leadership and service that has had a positive impact in the community. Rita is always supportive of the community and Democratic candidates. Rita is our treasure and I hereby nominate her for the Dottie Stimpson Award.


Alan Humphries


Newly Elected Officers and Representatives

Every year, the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus elects officers for various positions. At its recent breakfast, the committee elected a chair, vice chair, Region 2 Director, Region 4 Director and Region 6 Director. We would like to recognize these amazing women for stepping up and helping lead our wonderful organization.

Pictured (left to right) IDWC President Barbara Harris, IDWC Vice President Gini Ballou, Former State Representative for District 26 Donna Pence, Blaine County Central Committee Chair Janie Davidson, IDWC Secretary Bev Robinson, IDWC Region 5 Director Betty Murphy, and State Representative for District 26B Sally Toone

Our new Board of Directors as follows:

Leadership Team Regional Directors
President Barbara Harris Region 1 Vacant
Vice President Gini Ballou Region 2 Erika Allen
Secretary Bev Robinson Region 3 Pat Hartwell
Treasurer Kristen Hooker Region 4 Hannah Sharp
Past President Name Region 5 Betty Murphy
Region 6 Linda Leeuwrik
Region 7 Julie Dahlgren

We would also like to express our appreciation for those individuals who are no longer officers but continue to assist our organization in electing more Democratic women in Idaho to public office.