Idahoans value honesty; state GOP leaders don’t

Idaho’s Republican Party Chair has told Idaho that he thinks plagiarism is no big deal: Mr. Yates’ words upon hearing that a Republican politician plagiarized, “This is plain vanilla prose. It is still unclear what, if any, real damage was done.”

In a classroom, that statement might come from a child. Outside a classroom, in a state where Republican politicians have inflicted 20 years of failed policies on us, the statement is outrageous.

First the plagiarism. Sherri Ybarra, Republican nominee for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, admitted copying her opponent’s work on her website. She removed it when Idaho Education News caught her.

Idahoans don’t believe in taking credit for someone else’s work. Out here, we believe in honesty.

Since Mr. Yates is new to the state and apparently a creature of the Washington, D.C., political culture, it is possible that a little dishonesty doesn’t bother him. He simply may not know about the values — such as honesty — that most of us live by here in Idaho.

Unfortunately for all us, this new political party leader may be a good representation of top Republican politicians who run Idaho.

Gov. Butch Otter has fallen short. He refused to investigate the state’s private prison contractor, which overbilled us for thousands of staff hours. Otter promised to investigate. He did not. Now the FBI is investigating the company — which is a major donor to Otter.

Dishonesty has reared its head in Otter’s campaign. His campaign manager is only moonlighting for Otter. Before the election, he was vice-president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI). IACI has launched a dishonest smear campaign against the Idaho Democratic candidate for governor.

Otter, who claims all is well, has led Idaho to last in family wages, last in education investment, and second in minimum wage jobs. We need a new direction. Otter and his cronies use dishonesty to try to keep that from happening.

Then there’s State Treasurer Ron Crane. He lost $20 million in tax dollars to bad investments and then covered it up. That’s dishonest. He also refuses to let state auditors see if there were any more cover-ups.

Add in Lawerence Denney, the Secretary of State candidate, who spends thousands of tax dollars on a private lawyer because the attorney general won’t give him a legal opinion he likes. Denney also pushes a plan that would logically end with selling off Idaho’s public lands. He claims that’s not the case. That’s dishonest.

The list continues. It’s dishonest when a politician refuses to debate publicly. Why? They are hiding a record from voters. It’s dishonest for a politician to give special treatment to wealthy contributors and lobbyists. It’s dishonest to distract voters from real issues that impact Idaho communities — our wages, our schools, access to public lands — by setting fires of social discord.

 It’s a shame that honesty seems to be scarce in Washington, D.C. and it’s a shame to see someone trying to bring that culture to Idaho.

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