GUEST OPINION: Supporting GOP positions is not living on the edge


May 4, 2014 

Nearly every Republican candidate claims to be "conservative." Apparently all want the "badge."

It has been reported that the Idaho Republican Party is conservatively extreme in its political views. So, it seems appropriate to examine the extremity of those views. The current issues getting the most attention are the Obama health exchange, who should manage all the public lands in Idaho, and Common Core.

Every Republican federal representative and senator, including those from Idaho, voted against the government health exchange.

Idaho Farm Bureau and the farm bureaus from other states oppose government-run health exchanges, as reported in their policy statements.

Polled Republicans around the nation still oppose government-run health exchanges.

The Idaho Republican Central Committee, from the beginning of the government-run health exchange debate, has at every meeting voted against the exchange, including a call again for its repeal in January 2014.

Idaho is the only Republican state - with the governor, all of its constitutional officers and over 80 percent of the Legislature Republican - that has installed a government-run health exchange.

So, it begs the questions, who is on the edge of the Republican Party and why are they there?

Relative to the management of public lands in the Western states, Nevada is more than 90 percent public land, Idaho is more than 62 percent and the other nine are averaging more than 60 percent.

Idaho Farm Bureau wants the state to manage all the public land within Idaho boundaries.

The Idaho Association of County Commissioners has passed a resolution calling for state management of all public land within its boundaries.

The National Association of County Commissioners has passed a resolution calling for states to manage all the public lands within their respective boundaries.

The National Republican Party, at its winter meeting in Washington, D.C., in January 2014 - in which Idaho National Committeewoman Cindy Siddoway and National Committeeman Damond Watkins participated - passed a resolution supporting the Western states' management of public lands within their respective boundaries.

And, the Idaho Republican Party has passed resolutions supporting the position that the state should manage all the public land within its boundaries.

This same action has happened in other Western states.

Idaho's constitutional officers have not yet come out in support of public land management by the state.

Again, it begs the question, who is on the edge of the Republican Party?

Common Core is an issue that the state party and the NRC have passed resolutions in opposition. The future will yet determine the sagacity of this position. This resolution and the others have been shared with our elected officials in the Legislature.

The Idaho Republican Party Central Committee is made up of representation from all 44 counties in the state, and at any given meeting there are 80 percent or more of the counties that are represented.

If Gov. Butch Otter is involved in recruitment and campaigning against incumbent Republican precinct committeemen across the state, it would be deeply disappointing to me. The Idaho Republican Party has made every effort to support and cooperate with Gov. Otter as appropriate.

We acknowledge that Gov. Otter does not support the Idaho Republican positions on several key issues. However, we all agree that the proper role of government is best defined by the Idaho and RNC platform, which includes smaller government, lower taxes, and preservation of our liberty or right to choose.

As we move forward, the Idaho Republican Party is committed to electing Republicans.

Peterson, of Mountain Home, is the Idaho Republican Party's state chairman.

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