Bringing the Economy Home


Meet Idaho Department of Labor Director Roger Madsen


Idaho Department of Labor

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.

Latest Posts

Benefits for Long-Term Unemployed May Be Extended

House Republicans have reportedly reversed their stance on extending a payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed this afternoon.  The Associated Press and Reuters report the House will vote on the measure. This means about 12,000 Idahoans who’ve been out of work for more than six months will continue to receive extended federal […]

Understanding Federal Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Through a series of laws, the federal government has offered an additional safety net for workers who have been laid off.  Extended unemployment benefit programs are in addition to individual state programs.  In Idaho, someone who is laid off from their job — through no fault of their own — can qualify for up to […]

Governor Otter Backs Labor Director on Opposing Extended Unemployment Benefits

Earlier this week Idaho’s Department of Labor Director Roger Madsen asked state lawmakers and Idaho’s congressional delegation to oppose any further extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits. Now, Republican Governor Butch Otter is weighing in (through his spokesman), after the Idaho Democratic Party said Madsen should resign.  Here’s what The Idaho Statesman is reporting: “The […]

Essential StateImpact: 5 Most Viewed Stories of the Week

These are the stories that got the most views, comments and shares this week.  In case you missed one, we put them all in the same place for your reading pleasure! As always, we want to hear from you — comment on the stories and share them with your friends. Labor Director Opposes Extending Unemployment […]

Madsen Responds to Dem’s Resignation Call

Department of Labor Director Roger Madsen has been feeling some heat since Tuesday, when he voiced his opposition to the further extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits.  On Wednesday, Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Larry Grant called for Madsen’s resignation in a statement guaranteed to raise hackles.  Grant’s statement read, in part, “Madsen is advocating for […]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »