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Primary election that will determine the future of Idaho

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Primary election that will determine the future of Idaho


Every two years one hears the next election will be one of the most important ever. The truth is every election is important because it determines the laws we live under, how we are taxed, and the kind of society we live in.

But it’s not an overstatement to say that next Tuesday’s primary election may be the most important election in recent memory. I say that after following Idaho politics for the past five decades, first as a journalist and now as an advocate for education.

With so much at stake, this election will decide whether we remain stuck in the quagmire of far-right extremism or reverse course to a politics focused more on improving the quality of life for all Idahoans, especially our youngest ones.

In significant ways, this election is unique given the warring factions in the Republican Party – the far-right personified by Chair Dorothy Moon and the self-proclaimed Idaho Freedom Foundation versus the “Main Street Republicans” who represent traditional conservative GOP values like fiscal responsibility, equal opportunity, and public education.

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It is also unique by the historic amount of money pouring into our state from billionaires and their front organizations. The Dallas-based American Federation for Children (AFC) has invested $440,000 in the election. The Ohio-based Citizens Alliance has dropped another $390,000. And these are but two of the out-of-state operators influencing our primary election.

Just read what one “strategist” for AFC told Idaho Education News about his group’s plans: “If you’re a candidate or lawmaker who opposes school choice – you’re a target.”

Groups like the AFC want to defeat the Main Street Republicans and elect far-right legislators who will use our tax dollars to subsidize private school tuition and continue the culture wars against our librarians, educators, certain youth, and anyone else they don’t like. They cynically champion freedom in their propaganda, but elect politicians who lay siege to our public schools and vote to control our personal lives more and more.

The power behind these out-of-state billionaires and their front organizations is the limitless amount of money they can spend to elect their acolyte legislators. Their front organizations leave the impression that they are Idaho-based and supported by grass-root Idahoans. Don’t be fooled. They are not. Only their bank accounts make them 900-pound political guerilla fighters.

If you receive mail or follow social media, you have seen how ugly the attack ads are by these out-of-state organizations against our finest legislators who are committed to improving the lives of Idahoans rather than imposing their radical ideology on the rest of us.

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The best antidote to these out-of-state extremists and their politics of personal destruction is to judge whether their attacks pass the smell test – do the charges ring true, are they based on facts, and are they using fear to manipulate us? Then decide who you trust most – an out-of-state dark money organization that is here today, gone tomorrow or a candidate you know from your church, school, business, or Rotary Club.

This election can be a turning point. It can be a move away from extremism and back to fundamental Idaho conservative values that have served our citizens well. The future is in our hands on Tuesday – not the hands of out-of-state billionaires who don’t really care about our state. Let’s show them what Idahoans are made of.



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Idaho

10 Things People Want Banned In Idaho ASAP

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10 Things People Want Banned In Idaho ASAP


We’re in an election year and now more than ever, people are thinking about public policy and all of the things they wish they could change.

Politics does something funny to a person too – it has the ability to morph our rationale and in some people, metaphorically put blinders on them in the midst of their arguments.

Not all policies are created equal

We all know how politics work, right? What’s important to Person A might not be as important to Person B and vice-versa. The goal of our government is to try and find common ground in the form of bipartisanship.

Here’s the thing – not all issues or even policies were created equal and that’s where we come in.

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We wanted to know – what are some things people aren’t talking about that you would want at the forefront of discussion? What are those annoying and petty things that you want to be eliminated from the Treasure Valley?

We asked people to share with us ten things they would want banned in the Treasure Valley and the responses didn’t disappoint.

What would you add to the list? Let us know here! Here are ten things people want to be banned in Idaho ASAP…

10 Things People Want Banned In Idaho ASAP

Here are ten things people want banned in Idaho… what would you add to the list?

Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas

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Speaking of things people want to be banned in Idaho, here are ten more things that people want to be outlawed in Idaho.

10 Totally Legal Things Idaho Residents Want To Outlaw

We asked the people of Idaho about the absolutely legal things they want to make illegal. Here is what they said…

Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas

Speaking of laws, should Idaho turn its attention to plastic shopping bags and the amount that people are taking? As it turns out, some people believe so… what do you think?

Should Idaho Law Focus Its Attention On Shopping Bags?

Idaho doesn’t have a tax on plastic bags at the grocery store… should they? Here’s what the people of Idaho are saying.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas





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Op-Ed: The Pros and Consequences of Chuck Winder’s Loss

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Op-Ed: The Pros and Consequences of Chuck Winder’s Loss


Many positives emerge with Chuck Winder’s departure. Here are just a few likely benefits:

1. More House Bills Might Get Heard
It’s long been discussed in the halls of the statehouse that Idaho’s Senate served as the governor’s arm in the legislature. After all, it’s easier for a governor to influence and control 18 senators (out of 35) instead of 36 representatives (out of 70.)

As leader of the Senate, Chuck Winder decided who would serve on which committees and who would serve as the chair and vice chair of each committee. That was his right as President Pro Tem.

Privately, legislators said Winder served the governor more than he served the people of Idaho, and that he often influenced committee chairs to stick bills in drawers so they didn’t get debated or voted on. Publicly, Winder denied that happened, but privately, legislators said it happened all the time.

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Winder all but tipped his hand regarding this practice in March of 2022, when he publicly said, “There are a lot of bills, more so than normal, that are in drawers on our side of the building. I think most of them will stay there, so I don’t think you’ll see some of the craziness that the House seems to like to do get very far in the Senate.”

2. The Will of the People Might Get Respected
On multiple occasions, Winder referred to bills passed by Idaho’s House of Representatives as “crazy.” It would have been nice for Winder to remember that members of the House of Representatives are elected by the people of Idaho to represent their views. With that, if a majority of House members vote a certain way, those votes are said to indicate the will of the people.

Winder said it was craziness for Idahoans to not want certain books to be freely accessible to children of all ages in libraries – books that contain graphic illustrations of teens pleasuring each other. This shows that Winder was out of touch with the people of Idaho. The decent people of Idaho deserve respect – not to be referred to as crazy.

Winder is said to lead a Bible study. One question for Mr. Winder might be, “Which version of the Bible would imply it’s good for young children to have free and ready access to view graphic images of teens pleasuring each other?”

3. Transparency in Government Might Increase
A recent article in the Idaho Tribune outlined a likely conflict of interest that involved Chuck Winder. In short, after the state’s Transportation Department moved its operations, the state was sitting on prime real estate on State Street in Boise. How that property was defined and valued by the state veered far from normal.

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The manner in which this property was being sold raised many red flags in the state’s House of Representatives, so they voted 70-0 (which almost never happens) to create a review process. However, the State Affairs Committee stuck that bill in a drawer. Chuck Winder was on the senate State Affair Committee. Also, before he was in the senate, Winder was chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board.

Coincidently, Mr. Winder makes his living as a commercial real estate professional.

After the original bill was drawered, multiple bills were then created, and Winder argued against them, even saying “I will die on this hill.” Although tens of millions of dollars were at play in this real estate issue, Winder never declared a potential conflict of interest, even though Senate Rules state his work as a real estate professional required such a statement.

(Side note: With Winder’s ouster, perhaps his words, “I will die on this hill,” were prophetic.)

Consequences of Winder Being Gone

People hear the word “consequences” and usually think if the word means something negative. Not true. The word simply means the ripple effects of a particular action or condition. Ripple effects can be positive, negative, or neutral.

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Control

The obvious consequence of Winder’s departure is that someone else will be chosen to be Senate President Pro Tem. That means someone else will be choosing committee chairs and vice chairs, deciding which senators will serve on which committees, and determining which legislation gets prioritized.

As Pro Tem, Winder also facilitated Republican caucus meetings. One Senator who wanted to remain anonymous informed this writer that with Winder gone, caucus meetings are likely to be more enjoyable. “Winder did a lot of browbeating to keep people in line,” was one comment provided. “Chairmen will now be freer to act like chairs instead of puppets for Winder.”

That is, providing the next Pro Tem is not a control freak.

Finances

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Earlier it was mentioned that Winder was voted out in part for being a big spender, regularly voting for bills that spend more of the taxpayer’s money. With that said, what follows is interesting.

As soon as it was announced that Winder was ousted, Senator C. Scott Grow (Dist 14) announced he was throwing his hat in the ring to be the next President Pro Tem. Others have suggested Senator Kelly Anthon (Dist 27) is “next in line,” since he’s been the Senate Majority Leader the past few years.

Since past results are the best indictors of future performance, the Idaho Senate should beware. Let’s start by looking at Chuck Winder’s spending score, published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, based by his voting record:

Winder’s 2024 spending score: 22.9.

Anything below a 60 is considered an “F” (failing) score.

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Now let’s look at the spending scores of the Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Melissia Wintrow (Dist 19) and that of the Democrat House Minority Leader, Ilana Rubel (Dist 18).

Wintrow’s 2024 spending score: 13.0

Rubel’s 2024 spending score: 15.2

Over the years, it has become common knowledge that Democrats have no problem spending the taxpayers’ money. The “Republican” Winder scored a 22.9, but our state’s Democrat leaders validate the Democrats’ “big spender” reputation by scoring 13 and 15.2.

Winder’s rating of 22.9 is embarrassing, and the Democrats’ ratings of 13 and 15.2 are pretty bad, but let’s look at the 2024 spending scores for C. Scott Grow and Kelly Anthon:

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Grow’s 2024 spending score: 11.3

Anthon’s 2024 spending score: 10.3

Yes, you read that right. The two senators currently being discussed to replace Chuck Winder as Senate President Pro Tem are bigger spenders than the Democrat leaders in both the Senate and the House.

Our Senators Must Choose Wisely

Spending in Idaho’s government has gone up 54% over the past four years. Where does our government get that money? Has your income increased that much in the past four years?

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Remember; the Senate President Pro Tem sets the Senate’s agenda. Can Idaho afford a Senate leader who is more addicted to spending than Chuck Winder?

Bottom line, a substantial change will occur in the Idaho Statehouse come January of 2025. Some things are likely to be better. Other things could be substantially worse. Time will tell.

 

*Idaho’s Lt. Governor is technically the President of the Senate. “Pro Tempore” is Latin, meaning, “for the time being” or “temporary.” The Senate President Pro Tempore (often stated “Pro Tem) is chosen by the Senators to oversee the operation of the Senate when the Lt. Governor is absent. The Pro Tem is recognized as the senior-ranking member of the Senate, even over the Senate Majority Leader.

 

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This Op-Ed was submitted by Daniel Bobinski and originally published on TrueIdahoNews.com. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.


Tags: Chuck Winder, Cons, Idaho Senate, Josh Keyser, Kelly Anthon, Pro Tempore, Pros, Scott Grow



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Idaho drag performer awarded $1.1M in defamation case against far-right blogger

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Idaho drag performer awarded $1.1M in defamation case against far-right blogger


A jury has awarded more than $1.1 million to an Idaho drag performer who accused a far-right blogger of defaming him when she falsely claimed that he exposed himself to a crowd, including children, during a Pride event in June 2022.

The Kootenai County District Court jury unanimously found Friday that Summer Bushnell defamed Post Falls resident Eric Posey when she posted a doctored video of his performance with a blurred spot that she claimed covered his “fully exposed genitals,” the Coeur D’Alene Press reported.



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