Prior to his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Little served in the Idaho Senate from 2001 to 2009 where he chaired the majority caucus and represented Legislative Districts 8 and 11 (change due to redistricting in 2002). Little is also the Republican nominee in the 2018 gubernatioral election.
Little was born February 15, 1954, in Emmett, Idaho. Little's grandfather, Andy Little, immigrated to Idaho from Scotland in 1894, and began to work as a sheepherder on a ranch near Emmett, where he would eventually manage his own ranch. Andy Little's Highland Livestock and Land Company would eventually include lands ranging from Emmett to Cascade, Idaho, and his flock of more than 120,000 sheep would earn him the nickname of the "Idaho Sheep King." Andy's son, David Little, took over the ranching operation, and would also go on to become an Idaho Republican National Committeeman and Idaho State Senator (R-Emmett) for more than 14 years.
Little was raised on his family's ranch in Emmett and attended Emmett High School. Little graduated in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in agri-business from the University of Idaho, where he was a member of the Idaho Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. Little married Weiser, Idaho, native Teresa Soulen in May 1978. They have two sons and five grandchildren.
Little has spent his career working in his family's ranching interests while also engaging in a political career. During the 1981 and 1985 legislative sessions, Little represented his father, David Little, in the senate on a temporary appointment due to illness, during which time he served on the Finance and Resources Committees. Little also managed his family's ranching operation, Little Land and Livestock, for almost thirty years until his son, David, became manager in 2009 when Little was appointed Lieutenant Governor. He continues to work as the head of Little Enterprises, Inc. (a diversified farming and cattle operation), and is currently a member of the board of directors of Performance Design Inc. – a small Boise-based manufacturing company.
Little has also been involved in a variety of private organizations and companies based in Idaho and the Mountain West. Little is a former chairman of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI), "The Voice of Business in Idaho," and was a member of its board for 20 years (1981-2001). Little is also the former vice-chairman of the Idaho Community Foundation and the Emmett Public School Foundation, and the former director of the Idaho Wool Growers Association and the University of Idaho Foundation. He has also served in the past on the board of directors of Home Federal Bank, a small Idaho-based regional bank recently acquired by Bank of the Cascades, High Country News, and the Idaho Foundation for Excellence in Education.
Little was appointed by Governor Dirk Kempthorne to fill a State Senate vacancy in May 2001, and represented what was at the time District 8, which covered a part of Little's native Gem County surrounding and north of Emmett, and all of Boise, Valley, and Adams Counties, as well as the southern portion of Idaho County.
Following a change in district boundaries due to redistricting in 2001–02, Little was elected in the fall of 2002 to District 11, which then encompassed all of Gem County and the northern portion of Canyon County, including the communities of Middleton and Parma.