Idaho delegation takes center stage at international conference in DC

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) A delegation from Idaho was in Washington D.C. on Monday, working to attract foreign investment in the state.

The group is participating in the Select USA Investment Summit, which brings together international companies with the goal of creating additional jobs at home.

More than 2,000 attendees from 65 nations are expected to attend this year’s summit.

"This is my first time here," said Shawn Barigar, the mayor from Twin Falls. "It's like drinking out of a fire hose, it's overwhelming."

Barigar says this year, the state of Idaho is all in.

"We have a 40 foot boot here, we have 22 folks from the state of Idaho throughout the state," Barigar said.

Idaho was on full display here at the international conference. Gov. Butch Otter gave the keynote address at one of the opening events for the Select USA conference on Sunday evening. His remarks illustrated Idaho's effort to rebrand itself as a big-ag state, one that has more to offer than just potatoes.

"When we went into the recession, one of the things we started doing was to diversify our economy here," Gov. Butch Otter explained.

The Governor says his claim to fame was luring Chobani into building a $450 million factory in Twin Falls.

"Instead of shipping, let's say raw milk out of the state, we actually got a yogurt plant, more cheese plants," he said.

Now, the third-term Republican is focusing on the future.

"We got some new ideas," Gov. Butch Otter said with a laugh. "We want to go home and start working on it. Part of that is because people have asked us, can you do this in Idaho? Something we never thought about."

This is the third year of the global conference, an initiative of the Obama administration. The president encouraged foreign leaders on Monday to strike while the iron is hot.

"You would choose right here, right now because no other economy is so crucial for the global economy," President Obama said. "No other country could add more innovation for your business."