Former fighter pilot Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, holds up an A10 ammunition during her speech with the North Idaho Freedom Fighters Saturday morning. (MADISON HARDY/Press)
Sandpoint attorney Colton Boyles and candidate for attorney general spoke at Saturday's North Idaho Freedom Fighters event. (MADISON HARDY/Press)
Staff Writer | May 2, 2021 1:30 AM
COEUR d'ALENE - The Altar's pews were filled with a different crowd on Saturday: the North Idaho Freedom Fighters, Rep. Priscilla Giddings, and dozens of Kootenai County residents in pursuit of patriotism.
A new group, founded and led by Amy McCamly, NIFF reached out to attendees with calls to action on fighting for freedom against government overreach. McCamly was joined by fellow NIFF members Joe Garcia, Joy Bradford, Sandpoint attorney Colton Boyles, and Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R- White Bird, who spoke on their stories and reasons why patriotism is crucial now.
Moving to Kootenai County just last year, McCamly and her family fled Orange County, California, after becoming disgusted with the state's leadership. Citing a series of legislative actions that pushed child vaccinations and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, McCamly said she knew it was time to leave.
"California was beyond awful and felt unsafe. (Gov. Gavin) Newsom was letting prisoners out of jail, and my friend was arrested for not wearing a mask," McCamly said. "This is why many of us are moving and leaving California. It is not a safe place for our children."
While she sees Kootenai County as a much better home, McCamly said there are still freedoms to be fought for here in the Gem State. Specifically, McCamly pointed to masks in businesses and schools, the use of temperature guns, and a local grocery store giving incentives to vaccinated employees.
"We the people need to uphold the Constitution," McCamly said. "Don't just comply, ask questions and take steps to get involved."
Bradford also spoke of her escape from a 'tyrannical leader,' Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. She and her family moved from Vancouver last summer after feeling like the state's government did what it wanted without considering the pressure and negative impact it was having on residents. Initially visiting Coeur d'Alene at the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement, Bradford recounted her first time driving down Sherman Avenue, which was lined with armed residents standing guard.
"I looked at my husband and put my hands in the air and said I have found my people," Bradford said. "Two months later, we made Coeur d'Alene our home."
Like McCamly, Bradford noted that Idaho isn't exempt from all the problems experienced by neighboring states. In the short time she has lived here, she said she has noticed how masks are still an issue and critical race theory and sexual education are "creeping into our schools."
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction," Garcia said, quoting a speech by Ronald Reagan. "We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
The crowd erupted in cheers many times throughout the day, especially during the closing speech by Giddings.
The representative encouraged the crowd to become more involved in the May primary elections, fly an American flag on the front porch, and encourage people with the values of God, family, and country to go vote.
"Idaho needs every single one of you right now," Giddings said. "By not being a Republican in Idaho, you are forfeiting your rights ... In Idaho, one vote still matters."