BOISE -- Senator John McGee is breaking his silence after more than six months to talk about retaining his leadership position, despite his conviction for drunken driving last summer.
It was Father's Day 2011 when after a day of drinking at a Boise golf course, McGee took an SUV and trailer without asking, and crashed it at a nearby house.
The Caldwell Republican was initially charged with grand theft, but that charge was later dropped. McGee paid restitution and plead guilty to drunk driving.
It has been a very difficult period of time for me and my family, said McGee. My actions on that night showed clearly a lack of judgment.
Senate Republicans met Wednesday to decide whether or not he would remain the Majority Caucus Chair (the 4th highest leadership position for the GOP). The meeting started with an address by McGee.
He expressed his apologies to the caucus, said Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg. He expressed his apologies to the people of Idaho and he is very remorseful about what he did.
Close to two hours later, members voted. The specific results are hidden, even to the lawmakers, but there was a favorable majority. So McGee will keep his position, and Hill says he has everyone's full support.
McGee appeared briefly on the Senate floor and thanked his wife and family for their support, before talking with the media.
I made some mistakes and I've paid the price for those mistakes, said McGee. Every day now that I wake up, the first thing I think of is, 'How can I make this better?' For the rest of my life I'll be working on making this better. So, as difficult as the day has been, I'm very humbled and thankful to the caucus for their support.
McGee also thanked his constituents and said he believes it's time to move on.
It's just really time for all of us to move on, said McGee. I think the message you got from the caucus today is that it's time to move on. It's time for my family to move on. So that's done and now we're here. Now let's do the work of the people of Idaho, and do the very best job we can.
McGee also told the story of how Senator Elliot Werk, a Democrat, called him the day after the incident just to check on him. After adjournment today, McGee thanked Werk personally and said he thought it was a very classy move.