It is Election Season

For those just tuning in, it is now election season 2021, and the final list of candidates are now confirmed for the November 2 General Election. For the latest information check Local Elections Update or go to November Election Information.

Dirty Politics?

As usual, the Kootenai Republicans released its list of “recommended” candidates. Although they don’t say it aloud, these are conservatives they have carefully selected to toe the party line. The GOP says that all candidates pass through a rigorous vetting process. Yet not every conservative candidate gets the same treatment.

For example, seven conservatives running for reelection to City Council positions told the Coeur d’Alene Press they were excluded from the GOP vetting process (The endorsement game). In the same article, others described their vetting as an informal meet and greet affair. A gathering in which no substantive questions were asked. If the process is so inconsistent, how valid can it be to begin with? If you ask me, they already know who they prefer and specifically exclude anyone who doesn’t conform to their extreme agenda.

Let me remind you that this process politicizes what are meant to be nonpartisan local races. Therefore, for folks who want to elect people who put the public agenda ahead of their politics, the GOP’s approved list would better indicate who NOT to vote for.

GOP Insanity Drives Out the Sensible

Recently, a conservative New Hampshire state representative, William Marsh finally decided that enough was enough (Rep. Marsh: Why I Became a Democrat Today). This four-term house representative is also a doctor. In his formal press release, he announced that he had changed his party affiliation. Marsh said “I have come to realize a majority of Republicans, both locally and in the NH House, hold values which no longer reflect traditional Republican values. In other words, the policy positions and rhetoric of the extremists around their resistance to COVID-19 Safety Protocols had finally driven him out. “I’m a doctor first, so I stood up for my patients and said, ‘I’m done with this.’ And I left,” said Dr Marsh to the Washington Post.

We see the same thing happening here. Despite the overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 is a real and present danger, the Kootenai County Republicans remain silent when it comes to taking preventative measures. Rather than playing a role in stopping the spread, their focus is on preventing the institution of a statewide mask mandate. I would like to know how conservative doctors and nurses in our area can stand by and allow this crisis to continue. You would think that they would be standing up to their party and putting patient’s health and the public interest first.

Calling All Precinct Captains…

…and anyone else who cares about saving Kootenai County. Here are two productive ways to combat the craziness.

First, join the Gem Project and do your part for the Democrats. The Gem Project is a statewide effort to contact and turn out eligible voters for the November 2 Election. On Tuesday, September 28, our local team will coordinate a Phonebank for Kootenai County at 6PM on Zoom. In addition, over the next few weeks, other sessions will be scheduled. You can help by participating in this critical election process. To get involved, please contact our field fellow: Conor Proulx at conor@idahodems.org.

Second, turn out for the Kootenai County Women’s March on Saturday, October 2. The Women’s March is an annual event. As a result of years of attacks on a woman’s right to choose, culminating in the recent draconian law passed in Texas, the focus of the event is defending reproductive rights. Please make plans to join this important visibility campaign and stand up for the Freedom of Choice.

Our Sheriff’s Department Lacks Oversight

September is Suicide Prevention Month. It is timely a timely reminder of recent suicides in the Kootenai County Jail. This year, three inmates committed suicide while under the care of the Sheriff’s department (Man dies by suicide in Kootenai County Jail)). That should not happen. In the article, the Sheriff, told the Press that inmates are under “constant supervision from a control room,” and in-cell security checks take place every hour. Yet this policy does not conform to the Idaho Sheriff’s Association. The association requires physical observation of inmates every 30 minutes. This variation in policy becomes truly relevant when you learn that the latest suicide victim was found dead in his cell 33 minutes after his last cell visit.

This is just one example of a department that is not administratively supervised. In other words, it acts independently and has no objective oversight. So how is the Sheriff held accountable for actions taken by the department? Currently, that is left up to the voters every four years. Look, the suicides are important and relevant. However, they are only an indicator of what else might be going on of which we have no visibility. Consequently, our county government structure needs revision, so it is administratively capable of overseeing the sheriff and other county officials.

Please take a few minutes to tell our County Commissioners and the Optional Forms of Government Study Commission what you think about the suicides and the Sheriff Department’s lack of independent oversight. Send your comments to kcbocc@kcgov.us or kcofg@kcgov.us. The Commission scheduled a public comment meeting for September 29, 2021, at 5:30 pm.

And Finally

We are hosting Representative Jamie Raskin at the Democrats Club, this Friday, September 24. This is a rare opportunity to hear from one of America’s leading politicians, who happens to be a consequential member of the House Oversight Committee investigating the Jan 6 attack on the US Capital. He also happens to be an articulate spokesman for integrity in government. You can join the meeting at noon over Zoom. A link will be distributed Thursday, September 23. Contact Phil at pjwmia@aol.com if you do not receive it.

Have a superb week everyone. And thanks for being a Democrat.

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