2017 legislative summary: Idaho not as conservative as we think

Guest Opinion

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Priscilla Giddings

The 64th legislative session will be remembered as the year we drew a line in the sand: Idaho Establishment vs. The People.

My warrior ethos was put to the test this legislative session but I enjoyed the challenge. The highlights included establishing a Joint Veterans Caucus with a senator from District 14 that included 18 fellow veteran legislators. I ran my first bill through both the House and the Senate and the governor signed it into law. I helped stop two pieces of bad legislation that would have negatively impacted property owners. I worked on several District 7 constituent cases, which prompted me to submit my first proposal to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee in an effort to hold an administrative agency accountable for misconduct. When I wasn’t bounding through the halls of the capitol, I was actively engaged in the Steps for Schools Challenge where I took 1st place, winning $3,000 for a District 7 elementary school. Lastly, my competitive nature earned me the 1st place honor of “Top Shooter” from the Fraternal Order of Police legislative shooting competition. I love exercising our 2nd Amendment rights in Idaho!

Though there were great victories this session, alarming challenges surfaced which citizens need to be concerned with. These clearly show Idaho is not as conservative as we think, and the liberal, progressive agenda is prevailing in our own backyards.

Every decision has a consequence and this year the Idaho “Establishment” caved to honest exposure. Horrific leadership decisions poorly reflected on Idaho as career politicians, some of whom have been in office for nearly 30 years, used lawlessness to exert power over the people to further tarnish the legislature. Our system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives who should represent the people no longer functions properly: rules are ignored, the process is subjugated and a handful of legislators exercise veto power over bills of their own choosing. The representative system in Idaho is broken. Four hundred paid lobbyists actively pressure legislators at a ratio of 4:1. The establishment’s careless fiscal irresponsibility added another billion dollars to our state debt that already sits somewhere between $5 and $15 billion – no one really knows the total because it is hidden amongst agencies. This indebtedness further exacerbated Idaho’s status as a welfare state – forcing us to take 35 percent more money from the federal government. As these issues were voted on, it was disconcerting to see that only 20 percent of Idaho’s current legislators actually vote for conservative, republican principles of smaller government and fiscal responsibility. When the Speaker of the House’s voting record mirrors the Democrat Minority leader’s voting record, it’s apparent that the state is not as conservative as we thought. And when $100 million in unnecessary government growth passes through the capitol halls, it is apparent that the liberal, progressive agenda is flourishing through the assistance of the not-so-republican leadership.

Hundreds of Idahoans have contacted me asking what they can do to stop the liberal, progressive creep into Idaho. The answer is the main reason I left my flying career to get involved in Idaho politics; it is going to take a group effort to push back against the Idaho Establishment. Please keep your eyes peeled for the massive attack that is about to hit Idaho – “Operation 2018”. In November of 2018, almost every single statewide office except for one (Senator Crapo’s seat) will be up for election. Since the predominance of candidates have to run as “Republicans” to win elections, the May 2018 primary election will be the D-Day focus of the next 12 months. Politicians will be scrapping for your vote and they know what you want to hear. The results of this election will mark a historic change in Idaho’s political landscape. Who will win, the establishment or the people?

I look forward to traveling throughout the district and state sharing my 1st legislative session observations and concerns. Please let me know if you would like to host a “potluck with Priscilla” to get a female fighter pilot’s firsthand account of the Idaho Legislature: pgiddings@house.idaho.gov .

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