Governor Little Should Have “Let The People Go”

By Bryan Smith, Bonneville County Republican Central Committee Fourth Vice Chair

Last week while Governor Little was out of state, Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, acting as Governor in Little’s absence, signed an executive order that no political subdivision of Idaho could mandate masks.  This action prevented cities, local school boards, and others from mandating masks.  Upon his return, Little immediately rescinded McGeachin’s executive order.  Now local governments can once again mandate masks.

Little called McGeachin’s actions a “self-serving political stunt” and “an abuse of power,” adding, “This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny—something we all oppose.”  Little said, “the significant consequences of the Lt. Governor’s flimsy executive order require me to clean up a mess.”  

I think I’ve read about this kind of thing before.  About 3,400 years ago, there was a guy named Moses who was the executive champion of his constituents who really wanted their civil rights restored.  But there was another guy named “Pharoah,” who was the chief executive government official, and who was not the least bit interested hearing Moses’ pleas on behalf of his deplorable constituents.  Pharoah thought he knew best for Moses’ “deplorables” although Moses’ people begged to differ.  They thought they could best decide for themselves.

Moses talked to Pharoah a lot trying to convince him to let Moses’ constituents live their lives without government oppression.  One day, Moses was so frustrated with Pharoah’s obstinance, Moses proclaimed to Pharoah, “let my people go,” but Pharoah was having none of it.  Moses was patient, and when the opportunity presented itself, Moses restored his people’s civil rights.  When Pharoah figured out that Moses had outmaneuvered him and freed the people, Pharoah threw a fit and did what he could to reverse their freedom.  It’s kinds of a long story, but eventually, it didn’t work out well for Pharoah.

News reports at the time say Pharoah in a fit of rage called Moses’ actions a “self-serving political stunt” and “an abuse of power,” adding, “This kind of over-the-top executive action amounts to tyranny—something we all oppose.”  Pharoah also muttered something about having to “clean up a mess” Moses created. 

Just as I’ve never understood how Pharoah could be mad at Moses for wanting his people to be free, I just cannot understand how Little can claim freeing people from government mask mandates is “over the top tyranny.”  Little’s argument makes sense only if McGeachin had issued an executive order forcing people to wear masks.  But how does Little equate restraining government with tyranny?

Little said something else I just don’t get.  Little said McGeachin’s executive order “runs contrary to a basic conservative principle—the government closest to the people governs best.”  But no decision maker is closer to the people than the people themselves.  And when it comes to personal health decisions like wearing a mask, I ask why government needs to be involved at all.  The truth is that each person will make a better choice about his health than any bureaucrat, regardless of whether that bureaucrat makes the choice at a local, state, or national level.  

The fact is that Little offers a false premise that local government can govern personal health choices better than individuals making decisions for themselves. If Little wanted to be true to conservative principles, he would have trusted the people to choose for themselves.  He would have “let the people go.”

Experts Exist to Advise, Not Govern

By Tom Luna – Chairman of the Idaho State Republican Party

Who sets public policy in Idaho? Who determines whether to close businesses, schools, require masks or face coverings, and decide how essential issues should be addressed? In the United States, and in Idaho, our constitutional republic clearly identifies who sets public policy – elected officials. In less than three months, we have an election on Tuesday, November 3, where the people decide who the elected officials will be that are making these decisions. However, some believe policy should not be set by elected officials, but rather experts in the field, whose role is to advise, not govern.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Idaho GOP lawmakers rightfully expressed concern on how decisions and public policy is being shaped. Idaho’s district health boards have exercised unchecked authority in setting policies that impact social gatherings, religious expression, and the opening of small businesses and schools. In the pursuit to enact sound public policy, some GOP lawmakers disagree with the recommendations of these health boards, and that disagreement is well within the right of our policy makers.

Recently, Idaho Democrats and local media outlets have unnecessarily scrutinized Idaho GOP lawmakers for the simple and foundational principle that elected officials set these policies, not our unelected experts. Good public policy is passed by considering the feedback of all Idahoans. This includes constituents, key stakeholders, business leaders, and yes, also expert opinions. After listening, it is then the role of our duly elected representatives to set public policy in Idaho as this is the role they were elected to do.

Let’s be clear – no lawmaker supports ignoring expert testimony on any issue. In fact, our elected officials consult expert opinions routinely, and it is fundamental to the policy-making process. However, expert opinions are one of many facets our legislators utilize to develop effective policy.

It is a dangerous precedent to allow unelected officials, such as public health boards, unilateral authority in determining public policy. Positions entrusted with the power for policy change are elected at all levels including legislators, city council, and even the local school boards. It is for this reason that GOP lawmakers rightfully supported stripping the public health districts of their unaccountable authority. In response to this unchecked authority, Representative Ryan Kerby said, “[Voters] have no recourse. They have no voice.”

Senator Thayn responded, “We listen to the advice of our experts in Idaho, but it is the responsibility of elected officials to set policy and listen to the people. These unelected officials sitting on our public health boards do not answer to the citizens they represent, and by allowing these officials to set policy, it shifts the balance of power from the people to unelected officials. This shift of power undermines the very foundation of our republic.”

Our founding fathers created a constitution that assures whoever makes decisions is held accountable to the people. These decisions are safeguarded by a system of checks and balances. It is not the proper role of our duly elected representatives to take a backseat in the policy-making process in lieu of the expert opinion of unaccountable officials. These experts exist not to govern but to advise.

It is this philosophy, of wise governance, birthed from the people, advised by the experts, and determined with the interests of all constituents in mind, that is at the core of our Party. The Republican Party trusts the people to weigh the facts and make decisions.


Idaho’s Republican party held its Convention in Nampa this past weekend, with 533 party delegates coming from all over the state. Bonneville County was well represented with 28 delegates. Our delegates worked hard, proposing platform changes that recognized American exceptionalism, the essential nature of the electoral college, and the need for a wall along the entire southern border of the United States. Our delegation also proposed a resolution reaffirming America’s unequivocal support for the state of Israel and its right to defend its sovereignty against terrorist attacks. We also proposed a rule change to better structure the financial relationship between the state party and the seven regions throughout the state. Each of the proposals submitted by Bonneville County was overwhelmingly accepted in the general session of the convention.

During the convention we were able to attend training sessions and hear speeches by Governor Little, Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin, and outgoing State Party Chairman Raul Labrador. We were pleased to include Lt. Governor McGeachin in our County delegation, along with newly elected Representative Marco Erickson and Representative Barb Ehardt. Throughout the convention Bonneville County hosted a vendor table, exchanging Trump items (including gold Trump commemorative coins) for donations. All of the donations from this fundraising event will be used to reimburse delegates for their travel expenses and hotel bills. This prevents any delegate from being excluded because of a lack of financial means to attend the event. We received lots of donation support from other delegates, who expressed the desire that their own county delegations support similar funding programs.

Bonneville County was well represented in the races for various elected offices, with Bryan Smith and Damond Watkins competing for national committeeman, and Mark Fuller being challenged by Tom Luna for state party chairman. Damond Watkins prevailed in his race by one vote, after the withdrawal of Steve Yates, and Mark Fuller lost by the slim margin of only 12 votes. Former Superintendent of Education Luna was much better known throughout the state than Fuller and received the endorsement of businessman Frank Vandersloot, who did not attend but sent numerous emails to the delegates throughout the convention in support of Luna. After the Chairman’s race outcome was announced, Fuller’s concession speech included full support for Luna in a genuine effort to unify the party in its support for President Trump. Fuller received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks.

The nearly equal vote count in both the chairman and national committeeman races shows the continued division within the Republican Party but does not detract from its unity in support of President Donald J Trump. Delegates to the national convention during August in Jacksonville, Florida were also selected, including numerous delegates from Bonneville County. Bonneville County delegates and officers enjoy the respect and friendship of delegates and officers from throughout the state, and conservatives were well-represented at the biennial Convention.

Anthony Tirino
Second Vice Chair
Bonneville County Republican Party

David Barton to Visit Bonneville County GOP’s Annual Lincoln Day Banquet!

Gear up for another WILDLY POPULAR Bonneville County Republican Lincoln Day Banquet on April 13. This will be the biggest GOP event of the year in the state of Idaho- you won’t want to miss it!

David Barton, founder of WallBuilders will be our keynote speaker. He will address us on the subject of “God and the Constitution”. David is a best-selling author and constitutional expert. Find out more at the links below.

We are also excited to announce that we will be hearing from our new Lt. Governor, Janice McGeachin! We are thrilled hear from her and to have her join us this year.

As always, there will be dinner, a gun giveaway, a silent auction, and raffle prizes. Tickets for this event have sold out for the past few years, so don’t delay buying your tickets or corporate table!

Ticket info:

Purchase tickets online or call:

Stephanie Gifford- 435-494-1192

For corporate tables contact:

Doyle Beck- 208-589-2326

Guest Editorial Series: You Can’t Have Everything

By Senator Tony Potts

Jackie Stephens, a precinct captain from the Bonneville County Democrats, recently wrote a commentary criticizing how partisanship is stifling K-12 education in Idaho. She argues Idahoans need to vote issues by personal view, not party view. By commentary’s end, she has switched the focus to November’s Medicaid-expansion initiative, a sleight of hand to use the subject of education to convince Idahoans to vote out of party-lines for Medicaid expansion.

Ms. Stephens attempts to persuade readers that Idaho’s education spending is insufficient compared to other states. The major political parties would agree that education is an investment in the future. Like any investment, the amount initially invested can have an influence. Yet, you can invest $1,000 that turns out profitable, or you may invest $1,000,000 that flatlines. Money does not guarantee a good result. Many factors lead to a great education outside of money’s influence, such as parent involvement and student engagement. So, let’s do ourselves a favor and quit assuming that Idaho’s education is “failing” just because Idaho does not offer the highest education spending out of all 50 states.

Ms. Stephens also attempts to persuade readers that teacher turnover is killing Idaho education. Yet, according to Learning Policy Institute’s report, “Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It,” Idaho’s teacher turnover rate is around 13 percent. Idaho’s rate is less than most other states that were studied. And three percent of this rate is coming from teacher retirement, leaving just ten percent turnover from other factors.

Ms. Stephens also asserts that Idaho politics are being destroyed by voting straight party lines. At the end of her commentary, she mentions that Medicaid expansion can be an issue where Idahoans abandon this practice. Yet, out-of-state labor union cash bankrolled a good chunk of the ballot initiative’s signature-collection for Medicaid expansion in Idaho. And, as Ms. Stephens cites in her commentary’s byline, her position with the Bonneville County Democrats helped to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot. Last time I checked the efforts of county Democrats is partisan work.

And, because Ms. Stephens broached Medicaid expansion, I want to note how much more difficult it is to increase education funding as demand for Medicaid monies grows. A recent Idaho Freedom Foundation report concludes Medicaid spending is higher than K-12 education spending. In FY17, Medicaid expenditures were $194 million higher than K-12 education; in FY19, the difference is estimated to be as high as $308 million. Medicaid spending first exceeded K-12 education spending in FY11, though it wasn’t until FY15 that the Medicaid caseload was actually higher than the average daily attendance in K-12 schools.

Ms. Stephens’ commentary suggests that education is the true priority for Democrats. If that’s her main point, Democrats should rethink their efforts to support Medicaid expansion because they are actually doing education harm.

*Tony Potts is the Idaho State Senator for District 33, a Precinct Committeeman serving in the Bonneville County Central Committee, and the State Committeeman for the Bonneville County Central Committee.

Guest Editorial Series: Prop Two: A Gateway for Government-Run Healthcare

By Karie Caldwell

The push to expand Medicaid in Idaho is morphing into a movement for government-run healthcare—and that’s not good news for those who like affordable healthcare.

Idaho Freedom Foundation president Wayne Hoffman recently wrote a commentary in which he highlighted Reclaim Idaho’s long-term ambitions to implement a government-run healthcare system. He noted, such a system would be funded “through outrageously high taxes and a massive national debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids.” Hoffman is right. If every American were covered by Medicaid, that would require much higher taxes and almost certainly would add to an already outrageous national debt. A government-run healthcare system would not make healthcare “free,” but rather, it would just change the form of payment to taxes and debt.

Medicaid expansion is like a gateway drug for a single-payer system, which would foster dependency on government-run programs. And we had better watch within our own state, because, as Hoffman puts it, “Today’s Obamacare proponents are tomorrow’s single-payer activists.”

The United States boasts a mixture of private and government health programs, with many citizens purchasing private insurance and millions on Medicaid and Medicare. There is also a mixture of private and government hospitals, with veteran care provided by the government.

This mixture complicates healthcare regulations and costs. But the solution to high-cost healthcare is not to increase regulations and government-run programs. The ideal situation for a consumer would be to have multiple private companies competing for their business. Competition drives prices down. But government-run healthcare does not and will never work this way.

Expansion of Medicaid in Idaho may begin with Proposition Two, an attempt to extend “free” government healthcare to single, childless, working adults. This perpetuates the unaffordability of healthcare. As more citizens are covered by Medicaid, the cost of private coverage will increase as demand for health care services grows, and proponents of Medicaid expansion will find a new group deemed unable to afford healthcare. And expansion will just repeat.

The solution for healthcare affordability does not lie with a government-run healthcare program. Affordability comes from market competition provided by private programs. Passage of Proposition Two in Idaho will only get us further from the solution to high healthcare costs.

*Karie Caldwell serves as a Precinct Committee Officer and State Committee Woman in the Bonneville County Central Committee. Caldwell also serves as the Communications Director on the Bonneville County Central Committee Executive Committee.

Guest Editorial Series: I Won’t Be Silenced: Prop 2 is Bad for Idaho

By Doyle Beck

One of the greatest of our God-given rights is freedom of speech. That right is so important to a free society that our founders put it in the U.S. Constitution.

But now, supporters of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, on the November ballot as Proposition 2, are trying to silence me and others because we oppose their initiative to expand Medicaid to able-bodied, childless adults. Jerry and Carrie Scheid think they can use their column to condemn people, to shame them, for speaking out against bad policy by claiming we want people to have “the freedom to die from lack of health coverage.” What an outrageous statement. Liberal Democrats always resort to intimidation and name-calling when they are losing.

The Scheids conveniently ignore the fact that special interest groups including the Idaho Hospital Association are putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into passing Proposition 2. Why would special interest groups do that? The Hospital Association stands to benefit from Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. If Obamacare is expanded in Idaho, the medical industrial complex here in Idaho figures it will get billions of dollars from the federal treasury. That’s not money that “comes back to Idaho” from Washington, D.C. as the Prop 2 supporters claim. The federal government has no money. Those funds will be added to the national debt, and our kids and grandkids will have to come up with the money to pay it back.

What do I, Bryan Smith, or the Idaho Freedom Foundation gain from defeating Medicaid expansion? Nothing, except that we would spare today’s Idahoans from becoming more dependent on government programs. We would spare young people, especially, from being added to a program that is known to discourage folks from working and earning an income. We would spare future generations of taxpayers having to be saddled with more debt. We would prevent Idaho from experiencing what other Medicaid expanding states have encountered: seeing education, transportation, and public safety budgets gutted because expansion tends to cost more than advertised.

Seeing the disaster that awaits our state, we have chosen to use our freedom of speech to defend Idaho against Obamacare. Over the years, I have seen the Scheids make a lot of absurd statements about me and my friends. From time to time, I’ll chuckle at something they’ve written. Sometimes I’ll roll my eyes. Every now and then, I’ll write a response. But when they take to the newspaper to accuse their fellow Idahoans of wanting people to die, that’s a bridge too far. Their words are clearly an attempt to shame people for simply having opinions different from theirs.

The Scheids have the same freedom of speech that I do, but I would never accuse them of such a caustic and bombastic allegation as the one they leveled at us. We believe Proposition 2 is very, very bad for Idaho. We don’t want people to suffer under its weight. That’s why we speak out against it.

Doyle Beck is the former chairman of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee, Current Legislative District 30 Chair, and member of the Bonneville County Republican Executive Comittee.

Debates Scheduled for Legislative District 30 & 33

Don’t miss the upcoming debates!

Gary Marshall and Pat Tucker will face off on Monday, October 29th at 7:00 P.M. for Legislative District 30.

District 33 Debate is on Tuesday, October 30th at 7:00 P.M. with the following candidates:
-District 33 Legislative State Senator: Dave Lent, and Jerry Sehlke.

-District 33 State Rep Position A: Barbara Ehardt, and Jim De Angelis.

-District 33 State Rep Position B: Bryan N. Zollinger, and George Morrison

Both debates will be held in the Compass Academy Auditorium at 955 Garfield St. in Idaho Falls.

Best wishes to all of our GOP candidates!

Guest Editorial Series: Columns show difference between Rs and Ds

For the last several months, you may have noticed that the Post Register has been featuring Republican sponsored commentary on Wednesdays and Democrat sponsored commentary on Thursdays. We want to commend the Post Register for giving the two political parties face time with the community. Job well done Post Register!
During these last few months, readers have been able to see and judge for themselves the stark differences between the Republican Party and Democrat Party’s governing philosophies. Both sides have submitted articles expressing their views on topics such as minimum wage, Obama’s Medicaid expansion, the Constitution, the proper role of government, etc.
To be sure, there are differences between the two political parties. Republicans believe the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations. Government tends to offer inferior services to those of the private sector. Private organizations are better equipped to provide the tailored services that are generally needed to yield real long-lasting results for those most vulnerable among us.
And there’s the reality that government services can be as hurtful as they are helpful. In President Ronald Regan’s day, he identified the nine most terrifying words a person can ever hear. And these words are just as terrifying if not more so in our day: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” This statement causes us to chuckle because long experience demonstrates government is inefficient, costs more than projected, never works as advertised, but remains permanently affixed like a stubborn boat barnacle even when we know all these things are true.
We also chuckle because there remain people advocating more government as the best way to fix societal problems even though our collective experience teaches otherwise. This is perhaps the biggest reason people should reject Obama’s Medicaid expansion in Idaho and vote “no” on Proposition 2. We already know it will be inefficient, will cost more than projected, won’t work as advertised, and will permanently persist even after time proves all these statements correct.
This is not to say that people need to “fend for themselves” or be further victimized by their misfortunes. Rather, Republicans believe we have an obligation to help one another, to care for our neighbors in need, and to provide assistance and to make a difference in our communities. Do not buy the godless argument there are not enough “good Samaritans” willing to care for one another so we must look to government to care for our neighbors.

Today, October 24, 2018 from 5:00-7:00 p.m., you can meet and talk with Republican candidates for statewide office. They will be at the Republican Party headquarters located at the corner of Yellowstone and Broadway. We invite all the public to come. We will have free hamburgers, hotdogs, and Farr’s ice cream. This will be a great opportunity to shake hands with candidates who still believe that government is best that governs least.

*Bryan Smith is the Second Vice Chair of the State of Idaho Republican Party and the Fourth Vice Chair of the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee.