The local GOP has taken a dramatic right turn. The extreme right in Idaho is rapidly becoming the dominant segment. Does that make you uncomfortable?

Jackie Stephens

Jackie Stephens

The current chair of the Bonneville GOP, Mark Fuller, recently penned an editorial about how unfair and inconvenient it is for him to have to wear a mask. He claims his freedom is more important than other people’s lives and their economic security. Ironically, he calls his selfishness patriotic.

Party Vice Chair Bryan Smith regurgitates Russian disinformation like a Trumpian party soldier.

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin poses for photos with anarchist militia members using her office to tout their extremist agenda.

Chad Christensen (representative for 32B) proudly brags about his affiliation with the John Birch Society and demands his right to brandish weapons in restaurants despite making restaurant managers and patrons uncomfortable.

Far-right legislators supported the extremist anti-government agenda of the unmasked, armed protestors storming the legislative chamber last month. They ignored social distancing, damaged state property and refused to leave. Police deferred out of fear of violence. This was anarchy.

The Bonneville County far-right legislators slam you by claiming you aren’t capable of input into lawmaking and must be cared for by their legislative parents (them). They call voters asking for direct citizen input, “mobs.” Several including, Barbara Ehardt (representative for 33A) and Julianne Young (representative for 31B), passed ideological hate laws despite being told by business leaders that they would damage Idaho’s reputation and were unconstitutional. As expected, Idaho was sued, and Idaho is losing. Taxpayers are paying for Young and Ehardt’s ideological theatre.

This isn’t freedom, and it isn’t the moral high road. This is a bunch of renegade, power-hungry ideologues who have usurped power from moderate conservatives.

Those ideologues label Democrats evil, immoral and dangerous. Nonsense. We are mostly just like you. We are businesspeople, working people and people who don’t want to see our hard-earned money wasted. We love our families, and we love our state.

Democrats have a big tent, and you are welcome into it. Even if you aren’t ready to change your party affiliation, perhaps you’d consider voting for a return to sanity just this once. Idaho has been a one-party state for many years, and that isn’t healthy. The dominant party takes its voters for granted, and your opinions and values are minimalized as its power is consolidated.

The good news is that Democrats have fantastic candidates challenging the most extreme GOP candidates. Miranda Marquit is challenging Barbara Ehardt in 33A, Travis Oler is challenging Julianne Young in 31B and Bill Leake is taking on Chad Christensen in 32B. David Roth faces Marco Erickson in 33B.

If you are a Reagan Republican who pines for that sunny American vision of yesteryear, it’s time to take stock. The Bonneville GOP is no longer protecting your freedom or your family. You have another option. Look beyond partisan politics and you will find that Democrats are patriotic, moral, pro-business, pro-human rights, tolerant, hard-working, ambitious and fiscally responsible.

You might find they are just like you.

Jackie Stephens is the Precinct 21 captain.