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Idaho Republican Party is in disarray. It’s time to repair and rebuild from the chaos

Our great state deserves better. It deserves leaders who adhere to the principles that have defined the Republican Party for decades. Yet, what we are witnessing is a stark departure from the party of Ronald Reagan — a party that champions independence, fiscal responsibility and a commitment to American values. Secret “tribunals” and the resignation of longstanding, committed party volunteers reflect the disarray the Idaho Republican Party has fallen into. We cannot stand by and watch the continued disintegration of a party that should be focused on perpetuating Republican values — not tearing down each other. The most recent controversy lies in a series of policies adopted under Chairwoman Dorothy Moon and her activist allies. These policies, including a so-called “purity waiting period,” where voters must wait a year before registering as Republicans if they previously affiliated with another party, are nothing short of an affront to the principles our nation holds dear.

The party’s adoption of rules allowing the censure of elected Republicans who deviate from a predetermined party line is equally troubling. Such tribunals, reminiscent of an inquisition, have been used to punish lawmakers who dared to exercise independent judgment and go against arbitrary “Freedom Scores” created by a secret process. This heavy-handed approach only serves to limit the growth of the Republican party and alienate dedicated public servants. Idaho deserves a GOP that embraces grassroots voters and candidates, not one creating an oligarchy. Party focus should be on collaboration, not infighting; about beating Democrats, not beating each other. It’s time to rekindle the spirit of Ronald Reagan — a leader who understood the importance of big-tent politics and finding common ground. The recent GOP censures of Bonneville Republican legislators Rep. Stephanie Mickelsen, Rep. Wendy Horman and Sen. Kevin Cook highlight the extent of the fractures within our ranks. Idahoans shouldn’t have to witness internal disputes or ”special committees” wasting time chastising party peers. We shouldn’t have three steadfast conservative legislators defending why they didn’t vote as they were told. All of this distracts from the real issues that impact our great state and its citizens.

It’s up to us to reevaluate the direction of our party. The sentiments from party resignations, voter-identified lawmakers and long-standing conservative leaders chastised for being “not conservative enough” underscore a critical need for change. The state GOP must listen to its members, acknowledge their concerns, and commit to a path of unity and collaboration. If Moon can’t forgo her own agenda to do that, then she is not the right person to lead Idaho’s Republican Party. As a business leader deeply invested in Idaho’s prosperity, I implore my fellow Republicans to rise above the current discord. We must prioritize principles over power, collaboration over division, and the needs of our citizens over partisan interests. Let’s not forget the words of Reagan, who said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.”

It’s time to embrace a big-tent approach, welcoming diverse perspectives within our party. Together, we can build a stronger, more resilient Republican Party — one that truly represents the ideals of the people it serves. Cortney Liddiard is the CEO of Ball Ventures, a commercial real estate and private equity company based in Idaho Falls, with projects across the United States.

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