The Idaho Republican State Central Committee will consider adopting a rule in January that would strip the Idaho Young Republicans, the College Republicans and the Idaho Republican Women’s Federation of voting rights on the party’s state executive board.
The Idaho Republican Party Executive Board includes nine members who are elected by the delegates at the party’s convention every two years, including the state party chair, two vice chairs and region chairs. The members representing Republican youth and women are considered auxiliary members who are not selected by the convention delegates, but from within the groups.
The rule was submitted by Linda Yergler, a member of the Shoshone County Republican Central Committee, and the Shoshone committee voted to recommend the rule to the state central committee in mid-November. Yergler could not be reached for comment.
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The Idaho Republican Party’s state central committee will meet Jan. 6 and 7 to consider changes to party rules, including some that were recommended by GOP convention delegates in July. While the convention is made up of about 750 delegates and party officials, the state central committee is a smaller group of 240 people, including the state executive board, county chairs, state and youth committee members and legislative district chairs.
The state central committee has its own rules committee, where the rule will be presented in January. If it passes, the full central committee will vote on whether to officially adopt it for the Idaho Republican Party.
Shoshone State Committeeman and Sen. Phil Hart, R-Kellogg, and Dan Bell, Kootenai Youth Committeeman, will present the proposed rule at the winter meeting.
Bell was the Region 1 Youth Director of the Idaho Young Republicans until late July, when former Idaho Young Republicans Chairman Daniel Silver said two of the group’s members were expelled. Silver did not confirm if Bell was one of the two, but his name was removed from the website shortly after the announcement, according to previous reporting from the Coeur d’Alene Press.
Bell could not be reached for comment.
‘Young Republicans are the sole vote that represents the voice of the youth,’ group chair says
Jake Miller, chairman of the Idaho Young Republicans and former spokesperson for the Idaho Republican Party, said this is not the first time a rule change has been proposed to make those three members “ex-officio” or non-voting members. Past attempts have been defeated, he said and he hopes the same outcome will happen this time.
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Idaho Young Republicans were given a vote on the state executive board in the 1970s, during a nationwide movement to include more young voters after the voting age was lowered to 18, Miller said. The Young Republican National Federation also received a vote on the Republican National Committee’s executive committee around the same time.
“That was basically an acknowledgement that the youth vote was important,” he said. “Young Republicans are the sole vote that represents the voice of the youth. If you look across campaign staffs or some of the boots on the ground, the Young Republicans are the ones that folks call when they need someone to knock doors or make calls or distribute campaign signs.”
On Idaho’s committee, there are currently 12 members who can vote on action items, including:
- Idaho Republican Party Chair Dorothy Moon
- First Vice Chair Daniel Silver
- Second Vice Chair Mark Fuller
- National Committeeman Damond Watkins
- National Committeewoman Cindy Siddoway
- Secretary Maria Nate
- Treasurer Steve Bender
- Region Chairs: Bjorn Handeen, Clinton Daniel, Marla Lawson, Mark Johnson, Wayne Hurst, Terrel Tovey and Doug Ricks
- Idaho Federation of Republican Women President Tracey Wasden
- Idaho Young Republicans Chair Jake Miller
- College Republicans Chair Farhana Hibbert
- Finance Chair Vicki Keen
There are seven members of the executive board who are members but do not have a vote, including the most recent state chairman, which would be Tom Luna.
Chair: Those who are concerned should reach out to state central committee members
Miller said he wants Republicans who are concerned about the proposed rule change to contact members of the 2023 Rules Committee and members of the state central committee. The state central committee will meet from 4-7:30 p.m. Jan. 6 and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 7 at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City.
“People should … advocate against the proposed rule change across every channel possible,” Miller said.