Making Idaho Great Again – Idaho Freedom
Making Idaho Great Again – Idaho Freedom

It’s a good day to be a conservative in Idaho! Republicans from across the state met in Coeur d’Alene last week for their biennial state convention, and this convention accomplished more for conservatives than any I’ve attended – and I’ve been attending since 2010.

The convention provides delegates with an opportunity to reconnect, debate and pass resolutions, update the party’s constitution and program, and elect board members. This year, more than 600 delegates attended, in addition to hundreds of alternates and guests. Friday night’s gala, featuring Kari Lake, was sold out, although some dissatisfied people called for a boycott of the event.

I served as a delegate from Ada County (the largest delegation in the state, with 105 delegates) and as a member of the Resolutions Committee, which met for five and a half hours over two days and discussed nearly two dozen proposed resolutions. I also introduced a program amendment that was ultimately adopted despite strong opposition.

The platform amendment I introduced states, in part, “We believe that the growth of government is unnecessary…Programs that are outside the constitutional obligations of government, are not cost-effective, or have outlived their usefulness should be terminated….We believe that the State Legislature should appropriate funds only for purposes and to the extent necessary to meet the constitutional obligations of government. Any current program, function, or activity of government that is not required by the Constitution should be repealed, their funding eliminated, and left to the private sector.”

The purpose of this amendment was to clarify the fiscal responsibility section of the GOP platform and refocus it on limiting the size and scope of government. It is my belief (and ultimately the Convention’s) that government should be limited to those actions expressly authorized by our state and federal constitutions.

Over time, we have turned the proper order of things on its head, and today many people believe that unless a government action is specifically unconstitutional, it is within its purview. This is one reason why government has become so large and cumbersome. Even in a “red” state like Idaho, we spend taxpayer money on a women’s commission, a Hispanic commission, public television, government advertising on buses and billboards, and many other optional (and unnecessary) activities.

Thomas Jefferson said, “When it comes to power, we should no longer speak of trust in man, but of securing him from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” I believe that these constitutional chains should limit the government to appropriating funds solely for purposes and functions specifically assigned to it in our state and federal constitutions.

In addition to the amendment discussed above, several key platform changes were adopted, including an explicit opposition to ranked-choice voting, central bank digital currencies, and “the sexual exploitation of minors in ANY form.” Another platform change, adopted—despite vocal opposition from some lawmakers—declares that the party does not support the use of taxpayer money for post-high school education.

The convention also passed a number of conservative resolutions, including several promoting election integrity.

Attendees at the convention called the convention a “clear victory” for the Conservatives, thanks to the resolutions and platform changes that were passed, as well as the dominance of the Conservative candidates, who won all seven official positions up for election with a majority of 60% or more, including the re-election of party leader Dorothy Moon.

If the Idaho Legislature were to follow the will of the increasingly conservative Idaho Republican Party and embrace the policy changes advocated by the grassroots at the convention, Idaho would quickly become the most fiscally conservative state in the United States. And that distinction, at least by my standards, is the true measure of greatness.

By Everly