Monday, August 13, 2007

Has the Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party fallen ill?

I received a letter Saturday from Mr. J. Kirk Sullivan, the Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party discussing his activities regarding the issue of Closed Primaries. I feel compelled to comment here because I have no idea of how widespread this letter went within the Party and wish to comment on some of the statements within that letter.

In Mr. Sullivan's letter, he continues to state HIS personal position regarding closed primaries (a "dog that no longer hunts" after Party decisions are made) and seems to "forget" that, as the Chairman, he is to represent the wishes of the party and carry out the direction of the decisions of the Central Committee and he "forgot" that the Executive Committee does not make policy decisions, such as resolutions, for the Party, but are charged with carrying out those decisions and resolutions that are provided them.

He also seems to have "forgotten" that the decision to close the primary for Republican candidates happened at the Party meeting in mid-2006. He also seemed to "forget" that I and others ran a number of versions of legislative bills starting early during the 2007 legislative session to try to change the code to meet the Party's Closed Primary requirements (the same bills he covertly worked against in both the House and Senate). He seemed to have "forgotten" that the legislature had a chance during that session to do the right thing and change our state laws to accommodate various party primary election requirements in this last 2007 session knowing if it did not happen in the 2007 session, a lawsuit would likely be filed.

Unfortunately, Mr. Sullivan also seemed to have "mis-read" the subsequently expected lawsuit that had been filed by a number of Party members, requesting their "right to freely associate" be upheld in Idaho. His understanding and statement that it also listed the Republican Party as one of the plaintiffs, which it never did, was just wrong. In fact, Mr. Sullivan seems to have "forgotten" that he sent a letter to the Plaintiffs attorney re-iterating the fact that the Party was not to be listed.

It concerns me greatly that the Chairman of the Idaho State Republican party could "forget" so many of these things and then "mis-state" them so badly in his letter to party members when he has been so deeply involved in each and every step of the process regarding these needed changes to the state's primary election system.

Through analysis of all of these actions, one must conclude that Mr. Sullivan is carrying out an agenda that differs from the Party's selected direction or he must have some health concerns that are impairing his memory.

While I would never wish to impede on Mr. Sullivan's personal life, I would hope that if it's agenda related, he step back and consider if he is capable of carrying out the direction of the majority's wishes and take the appropriate corrective action to represent the Party as he is charged. Or, God forbid if it's health related, I hope he will seek the proper medical attention for those "memory" issues that seem to be impacting his judgement and leadership and to ensure his continued good health.

Remember, the old saying for us men, "Memory is the second thing to go"...


Those that have followed this Blog know that I am not a big fan of completely closed primaries, and would prefer a modified closed primaries where the Party could choose to allow Independents to vote if they wished. I believe it is important for a party to have a choice on how they select to run their elections. But the majority of our Party choose to run a closed Primary in 2006, so that's the direction we should be going.

I am a big fan of proper representation, regardless of the organization. Leaders are elected or appointed in our governments and non-governmental organiztions to represent the ideals of that organization to enties of impact to that organization.

If someone is charged with representing an organization of people, then regardless of that person's personal agenda, it is that persons responsibility to carry out that task to the best of their ability. Once the "team" has decided in a direction, it's incumbent upon the "team's" selected leader to drive that direction until the task is completed or that direction is modified.

With that responsibility comes accountablility and, in this case, I believe both seemed to have fallen short of being carried out.


Tidbits: Dog Fighting, Family and taxes...

...It was right after the Mike Vick case hit the airwaves that my email filled up and my phone started ringing off the hook. Many of our Meridian folks wanted to ensure that Idahoans sent a strong message to those sponsoring dog fighting or contemplating it, that it is an activity that will not be tolerated here.

During all my conversations, we all agreed that it's a sickening activity. After reading through all of the Idaho code that would be applicable to dog fighting, it appears that all of the code that could be used by our state prosecutors were considered misdemeanor crimes. Fines and jail time varies with the many statutes that could be used, but more importantly was the fact that as a misdemeanour, an Idaho prosecutor is stopped at the boarder when trying to bring someone charged before an Idaho Judge. A change to a felony would allow those charged and running into another state to be extradited back to Idaho for trial.

In mid July, I worked with the Legislative Services Office to draft legislation making this activity a felony. I also learned that Rep. Tom Trail from Moscow had worked some years previously on the same issue so I called him to compare notes and understand why his previous attempts to make this type of activity failed to get to the floor for vote. We agreed that we needed to work together to fix this issue and send a clear message to those contemplating starting or attempting to operate a dog fighting operation here in Idaho just won't be tolerated. We currently have the legislation before that AG for review to ensure we are not causing any other issues not intended by the proposed changes to code.

...The Family Task Force that was created by Speaker Denny will be meeting in Idaho Falls on the 30th for our first round of speakers (hopefully) helping us gain insight regarding the impact of broken families and any corresponding increased cost to state taxpayers. We will try to understand any association between the decline of the "traditional family" and increased costs in heath and welfare, prison systems and other state operations and programs. Our hope is to better understand the issues that are contributing to the increase of broken homes and help target funding that could be focused on increasing the ability of families to stay together and raise healthy kids. Our next meeting will be in Boise on Sept 24th for more hearings from folks in this area.

...It appears that there have been some issues at the Idaho State Tax Commission regarding completing our state tax income tax forms. They are behind because of some internal issues and are working hard to overcome the backlog of income tax returns yet to be completed. If you are due a refund and have not yet received it, this is likely the reason. Contact the Tax Commission toll free at 1-800-972-7660 or 334-7660 in the Boise calling area or on their website for more information regarding your individual return.