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Making Idaho Great Again

Making Idaho Great Again

Parrish Miller
June 21, 2024

It’s a good day to be a conservative in Idaho! Republicans from across the state met in Coeur d'Alene last week for their biennial state convention, and this convention accomplished more for conservatives than any of the others I have attended — and I have been attending since 2010. 

The convention provides an opportunity for delegates to reconnect, debate and pass resolutions, update the party's rules and platform, and elect executive officers. More than 600 delegates attended this year, in addition to hundreds of alternates and guests. The Friday night gala featuring Kari Lake sold out despite the efforts of some malcontents to encourage a boycott of the event. 

I served as a delegate from Ada County (the state's largest delegation at 105 delegates) and on the resolutions committee, which met for five and a half hours over two days and considered nearly two dozen proposed resolutions. I also introduced a platform change, which despite some intense opposition, was ultimately adopted. 

The platform amendment I introduced says, in part, "We believe the growth of government is unnecessary … Programs which are outside of government's constitutional obligations, not cost effective, or have outlived their usefulness should be terminated. … We believe the state legislature should appropriate funds only for purposes and to the extent required to meet government's constitutional obligations. Any current programs, functions, or activities of government that are not required by the constitution should be repealed, defunded, and left to the private sector."

The purpose of this amendment was to clarify and refocus the GOP platform's fiscal responsibility section on restraining the size and scope of government. My belief (which was ultimately affirmed by the convention) is that government should be restrained to only those actions specifically delegated to it by our state and federal constitutions. 

Over time, we've inverted the proper order of things, and now many people believe that unless a government action is explicitly unconstitutional, it is within the proper role of government. This is part of why government has grown so large and unwieldy. Even in a "red" state like Idaho, we spend taxpayer dollars on a women's commission, the Hispanic commission, public television, government advertising itself on buses and billboards, and many other optional (and unnecessary) activities.

Thomas Jefferson said, "[I]n questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution." I believe these constitutional chains should limit government to appropriating funds exclusively for purposes and duties specifically delegated to it in our state and federal constitutions. 

There were several significant platform amendments adopted in addition to the one discussed above, including explicit opposition to ranked-choice voting, Central Bank Digital Currencies, and "the sexual exploitation of minors in ANY form." Another platform change that was adopted — in spite of vocal opposition from some legislators — declares that the party does not support using taxpayer dollars for education beyond high school. 

The convention also adopted a number of conservative resolutions, including several promoting election integrity. 

Convention attendees described the convention as a “clean sweep” for conservatives thanks to the resolutions and platform amendments that were adopted and the dominance of conservative candidates who won all seven officer positions up for election by 60% or more, including the re-election of party chairwoman Dorothy Moon. 

If the Idaho Legislature were to heed the will of Idaho’s increasingly conservative Republican party and embrace the policy changes endorsed by the grassroots at the convention, Idaho would quickly become the most fiscally conservative state in the nation. And that distinction, at least by my standard, is the true measure of greatness. 

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