Friday, July 19, 2024

OPINION: Republican summer meeting

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| June 30, 2023 1:00 AM

The Idaho Republican Party wrapped up a very successful summer meeting held at the Living Waters Ranch in Challis. The facilities were superior, the food delicious and the meeting itself was well organized and efficient. Considerable effort went into preparing for the business the party needed to accomplish and that effort was evident as success.

The meeting was well attended with 216 of the 227 voting members represented. 143 were in person and 72 by proxy, typical for these meetings. Complaints that the “remote” location was selected to suppress attendance were baseless.

Of the business that was accomplished, the most important was solving the Presidential Primary problem created during the last legislative session where the SOS, legislature and the governor deleted our March Presidential Primary, disenfranchising every Idahoan in the process.

The solution was that unless the legislature repeals the bill that deleted the primary by the RNC deadline of Oct. 1, 2023, the IDGOP will hold a Presidential Nominating Caucus on Saturday, March 2, 2024. This will re-enfranchise as many Idaho Republican voters as possible by holding caucuses in every county in Idaho. The date is important because it is BEFORE “Super Tuesday” so Idaho should receive considerable attention from the candidates. More details to follow.

Other rules that were debated and passed included putting in place a unified process for dealing with complaints about legislators not following the party platform, establishing standards for proxy voting, standardizing the language in some rules, providing that judicial decisions are posted on the IDGOP website, and allowing the Resolutions Committee Chairman to enact temporary rules to make the processing of resolutions easier.

The award for the rule change that received the most attention for the least impact went to the rule that moved the four unelected positions on the State Executive Committee from voting to non-voting (ex officio) status. The four positions include the State Finance Chairman (appointed) and the presidents of Republican Women Federated, Young Republicans, and College Republicans. This change has been in the works for at least a decade but was voted through by a 2 to 1 margin.

The Executive Committee has few responsibilities under party rules but a significant duty is acting as the appellate body for rulings from the party chairman. Having members from other organizations who are not elected by the party or subject to party rules sitting in judgement over party members was problematic as it violates the concept of “a jury of your peers.” Imagine having your fate in the hands of a jury where some of the members were from other states or even other countries. Unacceptable.

The Idaho Young Republicans (IYR), the Idaho Republican Women Federated (IRWF) and the Idaho College Republicans (ICR) are all social clubs with dues requirements. Other than having “Republican” in their names, their membership requirements are not aligned with the IDGOP.

As for the Idaho Federation of College Republicans, their current president is a grandmother who attends Idaho State University. There has not been an IDFCR election since 2018 and they are not listed with the SOS despite claims that they raise money to help get Republicans elected.

Being a voting member of the State Executive Committee carries a perceived status which triggered leadership fights in both the Idaho Young Republicans (IYR) and the Idaho Republican Women Federated (IRWF). During the last IYR election the existing leadership denied voting credentials to over a third of their paid members. A similar denial of credentials happened with IRWF. This fight over a titular position was detrimental to all concerned. It resulted in many members of the IRWF and IYR calling for the removal of the IRWF and IYR Presidents as voting members of the IDGOP Executive Committee to stop the infighting.

The voting status of the presidents of these groups had the state central committee members about evenly split at the IDGOP winter meeting last January, so the decision was postponed to the summer meeting.

The rhetoric coming from these organizations since January has been over the top. They claimed that they were being thrown out of the party, that they were not appreciated for their years of hard service, that the future was being silenced, and on and on.

In fact the presidents of these organizations remain on the Executive Committee and can make motions, present changes to rules and resolutions and participate in debate. Also, if they are members of the Central Committee they can still vote and the Central Committee has authority over the Executive Committee.

As for women and youth being “kicked out of the party,” the numbers tell a different story. IDGOP rules REQUIRE that 39% (88 of the 227) of State Central Committee members be women and youth. Today’s situation is that 2/3 of the members are women or youth with 29 women holding chairman positions in the party including our state chairman, Dorothy Moon.

One of the harshest critics has been IRWF president, Tracy Wasden, wife of the former Attorney General, who claimed that the IDGOP was trying to “silence women.” However, when the rule was being debated a motion was made to allow the president of Nez Perce Republican Women, Heather Moore, to address the assembly it was Tracy Wasden who objected.

Her flagrant hypocrisy shocked the assembly. The vote was 137 YES to 79 NO. Actions speak louder than words.

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.