As an elected representative and a staunch advocate for conservative values within the Idaho Republican Party, it is time to address a growing concern that threatens the very essence of our party’s identity. The recent Idaho GOP Winter Meeting presented proposals that, if accepted, could inflict irreparable damage on our party, transforming it into something elitist and unrecognizable.
Over 3,000 people cast ballots electing me to represent them in the House. Less than 450 people voted for the current Idaho GOP Chair, and yet, current GOP leadership is imposing a purity test for legislators who were elected by thousands of people. While not granted an opportunity to speak to my voting record by the State GOP or County leadership, I appreciate that I was allowed to speak to District 11 precinct committeemen/women in November. On January 11, 2024, the motion to not support me failed.
I have kept my promise to research and thoughtfully consider all legislation, always through the lens of the US and Idaho Constitutions, but also by listening to constituents and the floor debate. The current threats of tribunals, censure, and social media bullying campaigns stifle independent thinking, multiple perspectives, and discourages healthy debate. The quality of legislation suffers and so will Idahoans.
The proposed rule changes at the Winter GOP meeting, particularly the prospect of removing a Republican candidate from the primary ballot after a second censure, is an affront to the trust voters place in their elected officials and a betrayal of the very values that have defined our party for generations. A small group of individuals should not take the place of District 11 voters.
The bottom line is whether voters want to remain in the driver’s seat or if we are willing to allow a small group of people to vet and determine who can run as a Republican. My bet is that people want representatives with a mind of their own, not those swayed by friendships, special interests, or someone with deep pockets. Our responsibility is to look into the issues, understand the far-reaching ramifications, and make decisions that align with our conscience and the needs of our constituents.
It is time for Republicans to stand up and reject these attempts to control our party through coercive tactics. Let us reaffirm our commitment to local representation, free thought, and individual freedoms. Together, we can ensure that the Idaho Republican Party is a voice of freedom and independence, reflecting the rich tapestry of thought within our great state. The voters decide who represents them, not a small group of party elites wielding censure as a weapon.