Saturday, June 15, 2024

OPINION: Celebrating a victory for us all

by JACK T. RIGGS, M.D./Guest Opinion
| May 24, 2024 1:00 AM

Thank you to all those who exercised their right and privilege to vote on Tuesday. The recent election results have marked a significant victory for better governance in North Idaho. 

This year Republican voters had a real choice in who would represent them on the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee (KCRCC) by having the opportunity to elect a Precinct Committeeman (PC) for each of their neighborhoods, with options in 68 of the 73 precincts in Kootenai County.

Although primary election turnout is often low, the implications this year are seismic: Republican voters are steering away from extreme division and misinformation politics. North Idaho Republicans (NIR)-endorsed candidates missed becoming the outright 2024 KCRCC majority by less than 90 collective votes. 

The recent election results are a victory for all Republicans who believe that we have been on the wrong track in Kootenai County. With 30 NIR team members winning their precinct races, a significant step has been taken toward restoring transparency and accountability to the local party. This success is a testament to the community's desire for a leadership that genuinely represents their values and interests.

The decisions made by the KCRCC can have far-reaching consequences. Unfortunately, recently there has been an association with controversial activities, including damaging North Idaho College, local libraries, schools and the assessor’s office. The committee’s endorsement of candidates in the primary election as the ‘official’ party has needlessly created deep divisions. It is the voters who should do research and choose.

The importance of every single vote was highlighted by the election results. Some races were incredibly close. Of the 68 contested races, 20 were decided by 23 votes or fewer, and six by single digits. One long-time incumbent was defeated by just 6 votes, underscoring the significant impact each voter can have on shaping the political landscape.

Precinct candidates are some of the bravest Republicans our county has to offer. Many endured aggressive politics while standing tall in their Republican principles. We applaud every one of them for their effort to give their neighbors a choice. These men and women bravely ‘stood in the arena,’ embodying Theodore Roosevelt’s spirit of courage and perseverance.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man (or woman) who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…" 

This movement is not a means to an end; it is a commitment to stay engaged, stay informed, and look for ways to support freedom in Kootenai County — together. The recent election results are not just a cause for celebration but a testament to the community’s resolve and courage to shape a better future for all, echoing Roosevelt’s belief in the power of dedicated and courageous action.

This election was a significant step toward rebuilding trust and accountability in local politics. It is an opportunity to celebrate the Republican Party's commitment to traditional conservative values — supporting freedom, patriotism, democracy, families, economic prosperity, personal responsibility, honesty, hard work and quality education.

Congratulations to all those who prevailed on Tuesday. Our republic is stronger when the public engages and votes. The Republican Party is stronger when it comes together rather than seeks division and discontent. And our party needs to be strong to face the problems we have as a nation that are best solved with conservative solutions. Now is the time for Republicans to unite for the common good. 

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Jack T. Riggs, MD, is a former Lt. Governor of Idaho (R) and founding member of North Idaho Republicans.