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Twin Falls Republican Central Committee Meeting: Favoring Mask and Vaccine Mandates, Candidates Make Their Case

Wednesday, January 12, 7 PM

CANDIDATES FOR STATE SUPERINTENDENT

‘Putting Kids First’

Debbie Critchfield opened by saying that being fourth generation farmers, living in Oakley, and raising her family in rural Idaho gives her an advantage. You can visit her website and her ‘Parent Bill of Rights’ here. Her 17 years of experience in education, as a substitute teacher, a Member and President of Idaho State Board of Education, a co-Chair of Governor Little’s Education Task Force, among other posts in education, has given her experiences in every level of education, she says.

Debbie stated she has a vision, and the leadership experience to restore the public’s confidence in our public education system. Most important to her, and parents, she says, is the Critical Race Theory (CRT) issue. Pointing to Senate Bill 377 prohibiting funding of CRT, which passed last year and was signed by Gov. Little. She affirmed, “CRT does not have a place in our schools. I am a proponent of local control. Parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s education.” Debbie is in favor of school choice, that she will work for “a sustainable and dependable funding model – it is a complex system. Right now, there is no dollar amount to determine how much it costs to teach a child.”

She emphasized that, “Idaho needs students to be prepared for the workforce and our growing state.” When asked if she is a supporter of Common Core, she did not answer directly, but said her greater concern, whether it’s CC standards or some other, is that teachers need to have standards. She gave as an example of ‘this complex issue,’ a lack of guidance to teachers and outdated books. She would strengthen local decision making, guide Boards toward better curriculum, and foster a greater ‘accountability system’ of decision makers to combine parents and parents together. As former President of the Idaho State Board of Education, she prohibited out-of-state influence on curriculum. Ultimately, she says, the legislature has final say.

‘The Conservative for State Superintendent’

Former State Senator and State Representative Branden Durst pointed to two of his five children present that night as his primary reason for running. Born and raised in ADA County, a small business owner, while a legislator, he received the Idaho Freedom Foundation Public Policy Innovation Award. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from Boise state, and Branden served as Senate Education Committee. You can visit his website here.

Branden got right to the point. “I’m running to get rid of Common Core.” Second on Durst’s agenda is to get rid of CRT in Idaho. He said, “Senate Bill 377 didn’t do anything. We need a real mechanism to end it.” In rebutting Critchfield, Durst argued that Idaho State Education Board’s “Could easily terminate CRT. They could end it tomorrow but have chosen not to.” Third on his agenda is to increase school choice via an Empower Parents Act. You can read about it on his website. Fourth, Idaho needs an education system that protects our Republic.  Finally, Durst would prohibit mask mandates, citing, “Your child belongs to you, not the school.”

Rebuttal

In rebuttal of Critchfield’s proposal for a “sustainable and dependable funding model’ for parental school choice, Durst says vouchers are not needed in order for parents to have school choice. And vouchers come with strings. He favors an Education Savings Account for parents, noting the cost of tuition per child in Idaho is $4,200. Critchfield had said the cost was unknown. The Department of Education spends too much time on education and not enough on students. “We need to empower parents.”

CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY OF STATE

‘Experience Counts’

Phil McGrane opened his remarks by praising his campaign treasurer, retired Rep. Maxine Bell of District 25 (Jerome), a seat now held by her successor Rep. Laurie Lickley.  Bell received a Freedom Index Score of 47% (F) from Idaho Freedom Foundation before retiring in 2017 after 30 years. Rep. Lickley received a Freedom Index Score of 54.3% (F) in 2020.  Supporters of Bell and McGrane were evident in the back of the room. You can visit his website here.

McGrane emphasized how election integrity came to the forefront during the 2020 election, which is why he is a strong proponent for people present at polls to oversee elections, require voter ID, and in-person voting. He affirmed that as Secretary of State, he will ensure your vote will count, no meddling, and every vote will be counted. He will, “Fight against Biden making an effort to nationalize elections, to ensure Idaho remains Idaho.” When asked about electronic voting, he said the introduction of additional technology adds challenges, but that ballot harvesting is not evident in Idaho. He denied that Idaho uses Dominion.

He backed up his claim that, “I am an elections junkie” by pointing to his experience as Ada County Clerk for 15 years. “My career began with punch cards. I am an attorney, and ready to work with ranchers and farmers.  We need to band together to keep election integrity.”

Against a Convention of States

Precinct Committeeman Adrian Arp read his arguments against holding a Convention of States to amend the nation’s Constitution. He argued against holding a federal convention, citing it would invite radical groups to push their agenda, it is not needed to balance a budget, and states would have no say against woke legislators. He urged attendees to write their legislators to oppose a Convention of States. 

Some Good News

Grant Loebs, Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney, presented highlights from the annual Winter Meeting of the Republican Central Committee, held last weekend in Boise. (It is always held the weekend before the Idaho Legislature reconvenes in January. It started Monday, January 10). Highlights: Voters must present a government ID to vote. Overwhelming defeated was a proposal to limit one candidate on the ballot in May primary – essentially eliminating May primaries. The Committee passed several positive resolutions: parental authority over their child’s education; teaching civics in public education; protect health freedom of all Idahoans; charged legislators to ensure that everyone in Idaho has access to health insurance (some rural communities are without any medical providers that carry only one form of insurance).

Favoring Mask and Vaccine Mandates

Around 8:25 PM Precinct Committeeman Matt Feemster returned to the podium to present a revised resolution to prohibit mask and vaccine mandates in Idaho. After the first resolution was opposed by this Committee in December, Matt worked with Vice-Chair Andrew Mix and others in drafting a 2nd resolution, which he read aloud. 

Comments by Committeemen followed. Mike Matthews, representative of Sen. Jim Risch office, said the resolution was not needed since it was already addressed by the Central Committee at the Winter Meeting. Matt replied, “It doesn’t hurt to add a little extra umph, and covers school mandates.” Others said legislators last year did nothing about mandates.

When it came time to vote, a motion was made to vote by secret ballot.  Thankfully, the motion was defeated. That it was even proposed was revealing of the fragility of ‘party unity’.  The vote to accept the resolution: 11 = Y.  18 = N. Eight votes against accepting the resolution were by proxy. Apparently, absent members still get to ‘vote’ by an appointed proxy person for the evening, in this case the acting Secretary. Chairman Steve Steve Millington voted against, a second time. 

CALL TO ACTION

Pro-Mandates TF Republican Central Committee meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the County West Building, 630 Addison Avenue, Twin Falls. MVLA will be there Wednesday, February 9, 7 PM.

Build relationships. Introduce yourself. Observe. Be friendly and polite. Ask questions. Be respectful but firm in keeping them accountable to the Republican platform. Read the Republican platform here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, January 31 – Twin Falls Republican Women Meet & Greet Dinner at the Turf Club in Twin Falls. Art Macomber, Raul Labrador and incumbent Lawerence Wasden are all competing for State Attorney General. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Call 208-420-6954 for tickets.

Saturday, February 26 – Twin Falls Republican Women Lincoln Day Banquet at Canyon Crest Event Center in Twin Falls. It is nearly sold out. A few single seats remain available. Call 208-420-6954 for tickets.

BECOME A PRECINCT COMMITTEEMAN

You can help restore our constitutional form of government of We The People right here in the Magic Valley by replacing fake Republicans with real conservative Republicans – like you. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Watch the one minute Precinct Strategy Video here to learn why Precinct Committeemen are today’s political Minutemen, and why the office of Precinct Committeeman has been called “the most powerful office in the world.”

Step 2: You must be a registered Republican to run. You can register at the Twin Falls County Clerk Office, County West Building, 630 Addison Avenue, Twin Falls.

Step 3: Learn what precinct number you are in, who is your current Precinct Committeeman in your precinct, and obtain the election application. I could not locate that information from the Twin Falls County website. I recommend you visit the Twin Falls County Clerk Office in person. Go to the County West Building, 630 Addison Avenue, 2nd floor, Twin Falls. 

NOTE: Changes with precincts are still underway because of redistricting. That info should be available soon. 

Step 4: There are two ways to become a Precinct Committeeman: Fill a current vacancy (vacancies are announced at Committee meetings), or run against an incumbent in the next primary (in May).

Filing your candidacy deadlines for Precinct Committeeman is Monday February 28 – Monday March 11,Twin Falls County County Clerk Office, County West Building, 630 Addison Avenue, 2nd floor, Twin Falls. To learn more, or let us know you are running, contact MVLA at news@mvlibertyalliance.org.

DID YOU KNOW? Wherever a vacancy of an elected official occurs between election years, if a Commissioner or Legislator leaves office, the Governor looks to Precinct Committeemen to submit three nominees to the Governor’s office to fill those vacancies until the next election cycle. As long as conservative Precinct Committeemen remain in the minority, liberal nominees are more likely to be submitted.

Have a news tip?  Contact MVLA at news@mvlibertyalliance.org.

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