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OPINION: Is this the Republican Party we want in Kootenai County?

by JACK RIGGS, M.D./Guest Opinion
| April 26, 2024 1:00 AM

In Kootenai County, the Republican Party faces a defining moment: Should it continue to uphold the American principles of democracy and equality or yield to a radical faction that fundamentally opposes these values? 

Abraham Lincoln once warned, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." 

Today, this message resonates profoundly as we confront political leaders within our ranks who threaten the foundational values of our community and local democratic Republic form of governance.

Radical activists like Vincent James Foxx, Dave Reilly and Nick Fuentes, associated with the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) and a broader white nationalist network, are promoting an agenda that deeply contradicts the foundational principles of the Republican Party. They openly oppose the inclusive ideals of the Party of Lincoln and advocate for rolling back women's rights. 

While many God-fearing, concerned Republicans may not encounter this extreme rhetoric in mainstream media or in person, these figures are highly vocal on platforms like Telegram and Rumble.

Close friend of KCRCC and new arrival in Idaho, Vincent James Foxx, has made his intentions clear: “We are going to take over this state… and a true actual right-wing takeover is happening right now in the state of Idaho, and there is nothing that these people can do about it.” 

His advocacy for an authoritarian government at North Idaho College, our libraries, and our school districts contrasts with the democratic norms we hold dear.

Similarly, Foxx’s friend Nick Fuentes dismisses the core tenets of democracy. In one video, he states, “The American Regime is evil.” He goes on to blame our country for societal ills such as "obesity, low rates of literacy, divorce, abortion, gay marriage, liberalism, pornography… Diversity." 

His rhetoric not only rejects other Republican views but also attacks the very principles that define our society — that our country is “God-blessed,” as President Ronald Reagan referenced. 

Financially, the local KCRCC backing for these extremist views is substantial and alarming. The KCRCC alone has funneled over $57,000 into this network of consultants aligned with white nationalist ideologies for campaign messaging and support. This figure doesn’t include the more than $150,000 spent to fund The People’s Pen publication, which pedals fringe rhetoric and ideas that are corrosive to democracy and our Republican Party. 

Candlelight Christian Fellowship’s Assistant Pastor, Jason Murray, has voiced profound concerns about these troubling developments. In a very recent meeting posted online, Pastor Murray warned that any acceptance of a “Christian monarchy” or “ethnostate” represents a profound misalignment with both Christian and American values: “We do indeed have this problem looming in Kootenai County — an 'America First Group' that wants a Christian Monarchy ethnostate. Look, if that’s not true, that makes me happy. But I don’t think it’s not true.” 

Pastor Murray’s words underscore the urgency of addressing these radical influences within our political landscape. 

As elections approach, Republicans voting in this May’s primary are presented with a crucial decision. Do we approve of what’s happening locally? Do we approve of the direction being taken by the KCRCC? Do we endorse a path dictated by those who seek to dismantle the fabric of our society, or do we strive to uphold the true American values of liberty, equality and justice for all — values that define the Republican Party?

We believe that the KCRCC is on the wrong track and has gone too far. This May, it is imperative that Republicans take a stand. We must reject the extremist ideologies that threaten to undermine the foundational principles of both our community and our nation. We must elect Republicans to the central committee who will honor our party, not remake it into their own radical image. You can find quality candidates for the precinct committee at www.NorthIdahoRepublicans.org

We have an opportunity to find solutions now, well before the November general election. We can vote for a future defined by real Idaho values and integrity. We can reject the radical elements that aim to redefine what it means to be a Republican in Kootenai County. We can restore the Republican Party as a beacon of integrity and respect. But this requires your help. 

Your vote is powerful — use it to support the true values of the Republican Party and the American spirit. This May, Precinct Committeeman will be the most important race on the ballot.

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Dr. Jack Riggs is a former Idaho Lieutenant Governor and a founding member of North Idaho Republicans.