Roger Madsen was first appointed director of the Idaho Department of Labor in 1995 by then Governor Phil Batt. He’s since by reappointed to that post by three different governors including Dirk Kempthorne in 1999, James Risch in 2006 and C.L.”Butch” Otter in 2007.
Madsen was born in Logan, Utah. He graduated from Washington State University with a double major in political science and French. He received his master’s degree in political science and a law degree from Brigham Young University. He also has a master’s degree in business administration from the American Graduate School of International Management.
Prior to being appointed director of the Department of Labor, Madsen was an assistant attorney general from 1976-1980. He then practiced law and was a business consultant from 1980 until is appointment in 1995.
Madsen served four years as an Idaho state senator representing southwestern Ada County and has been called upon to lead gubernatorial task forces on unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and human resources. He also twice served as the interim director of the Idaho Commission on the Arts and as interim director of the Idaho Disability Determinations Service, which later became part of the Idaho Department of Labor. He was the staff director of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon 2020 Task Force under Governor Kempthorne. He currently serves as co-chairman of the Idaho Rural Partnership and is a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Science & Technology and the Idaho Workforce Development Council.
In 2002 Madsen assembled a team of outside experts representing business, labor and other key stakeholders to revamp the unemployment insurance tax and benefit system. The consensus legislation emerging from that external committee was unanimously approved by the Legislature in 2005. It limited a scheduled employer tax increase and tied worker benefits inversely to tax rates so that as rates rise benefits fall and as rates fall benefits rise.