Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: An Open Letter to the Governor

By • January 28, 2021

Recently you publicly denounced Idaho’s duly elected Legislature for advancing bills that would bring about the end of the State of Emergency. I feel compelled to share with you the sentiments of many Idahoan’s who have contacted their Legislators to ask that the State of Emergency be brought to a close. While it seems that you’re doubling down on the State of Emergency; it is my hope that by speaking out, others in our great state will be inspired to speak the truth as well.

Undoubtedly, one of the difficult tasks in governing is the lack of clear-cut solutions to complex problems. Idaho is certainly facing a complex and dangerous problem with the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out to the many friends and people I know that have suffered incredible loss from the virus. There are many more across the State who have also suffered devastating loss. Life is so precious, and the tragic deaths affect us all in one form or another. This virus has wreaked havoc across our nation. Sadly, the ineffective and damaging overreach of state governments has wreaked a havoc of its own kind.

It seems to me that the proper role of government is to empower the people. This great American experiment was founded on an innovative idea that individuals should be empowered to
govern themselves. When a collection of individuals are encouraged to reach for the heights of their personal potential, then their journey of personal improvement creates greater value for the
community. A rising tide lifts all ships. The cycle of empowerment is an upward trajectory that creates a society wherein human potential continues to expand and society continues to reach new pinnacles. However, it is necessary to lay a foundation to build on. Our government was established for that purpose. We have a framework that outlines the protections, rights, and responsibilities for citizens.

In your recent address you made some bold claims that legislators are perpetuating myths for political points. Specifically, you mentioned the Emergency Declarations don’t infringe on our rights. However, closer examination of the facts leads to a much different conclusion. The Idaho State Constitution offers us clarity on what our rights are, and we can compare your actions to that document to ascertain whether or not rights have been infringed.

Patterned after the United States Constitution, Idaho’s Constitution outlines the limitations and duties of government as well as the rights of the people. Both the Idaho and the U.S. Constitution clearly delineate the rights of individuals to freely assemble. However, you have used the power of your office to infringe on that very right by mandating statewide quarantines. You have even prohibited the free exercise of religion by informing places of worship that they must first “develop plans for reopening and ability to meet business protocols” before those religious organizations can open their doors. It seems pretty straightforward that Idahoans rights were infringed upon and your statement was patently false.

Sadly, you deride the peoples duly elected representatives and seemingly elevate yourself as our great protector and provider. As a society we have to ask ourselves; what is the governments proper role? Is it to provide cradle to grave care for us and our families? Can all tragedies be prevented by more government action and power? Or is it possible that in the quest to prevent one tragedy, government officials unwittingly create another? Again, our founding charter provides an answer. The very first two sections of Article I are particularly insightful:

SECTION 1. INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF MAN. All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.

SECTION 2. POLITICAL POWER INHERENT IN THE PEOPLE. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same whenever they may deem it necessary; and no special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted that may not be altered, revoked, or repealed by the legislature.

Clearly, it is the right and responsibility of each individual to secure their personal safety. Lawmakers have been entrusted to enact laws to aid in securing public safety, such as establishing law
enforcement organizations, etc. And when lawmakers break that sacred trust and enact laws that do not promote the common good, then is it up to the people to seek redress. Idahoans have entrusted the legislature to grant emergency powers to the governor, and we also trust the legislature to take them away when that power is abused. Marginalizing our representatives who are voicing the will of regular Idahoans is unbecoming of your high office.

In your efforts to stop people from dying it seems that you have found it preferable to keep people from living. How many of our youth have missed out on a year of their personal development in
spite of COVID’s relatively muted effect on young people? How many members of our families have struggled with unprecedented isolation and loneliness because of the shutdown? How many of our local businesses have forever shut their doors because they were prohibited to conduct business?

Without a doubt, you may read this letter and assume it is ‘anti-science’ or promoting tin-foil hat conspiracy theories. Of course, the virus is a real threat to our safety and security. It is especially difficult to combat because of the masses of asymptomatic individuals who unknowingly spread the virus to others. Nonetheless, preventing people from making personal decisions with their own health is a dangerous precedent. And in your pursuit of preventing tragedy, you are creating other harmful tragedies.

Lobbyists and special interest groups should not have the power to determine which businesses and workers are essential or non-essential. We shouldn’t pretend science dictates that church is a
‘super-spreader’ but hordes of people in big-name stores are completely safe. We shouldn’t pretend that wearing a cloth mask when you walk into a restaurant and taking it off after you are seated prevents the virus from spreading. And we shouldn’t pretend that the virus is better contained during certain hours of the day and not others.

It is my deepest hope that our culture can come to embrace the principle of personal empowerment. People should be empowered to live out their lives according to the dictates of their
conscience, as long as they allow the same for others. If some people choose to risk their health by gathering, then they should be free to do so. And if others choose to protect their health by isolating then they should also enjoy the same freedom to choose. Let’s get back to the principles of personal accountability. It is time to prove you have faith in your fellow Idahoans.

Sincerely,
Edward R. Humphreys
IDGOP Region IV Chairman


Tags: Brad Little, Ed Humphreys, Emergency Declaration, Idaho GOP

20 thoughts on “Op-Ed: An Open Letter to the Governor

  1. It’s still up to the Health Dept, and local government officials, . The only thing removing the emerrgency declarationn does is take away the emergency aid in the stimulus package for residents of the state of Idaho.

    42,184 families will be doing without expanded foodstamps. No more extended unemployment for foks who are unemployed or underemployed through no fault of their own. No more rent assistance. No more STIMULUS checks that folks are counting on to get caught up. No more educational forbearance. Because if your state is not in a “declared state of emergency” you are not elegible for emergency programs from the Federal Government.

    No other state in the U.S. is doing this. Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your own face. Especially at this time when many families are still struggling to put food on the table, take care of children and ill family members, and find jobs. Idaho is still still in the process of recovering and this will crash our economy. Have some compassion instead of kneejerk reactions because you can’t see the long range vision here, please.

    1. And just how many of those 42,184 families moved to Idaho without procuring a job prior to moving?
      I think its time EVERYONE pulls their own weight rather than counting on stimulus checks and other government handouts. This Covid restriction has gone on long enough. Perhaps if its lifted, a good portion of those on government assistance can get back to work. There’s absolutely NO reason why unemployed people cannot find work, there is ALWAYS work to be found! The problem is that many want to wait for that “perfect” job, and they don’t want to do menial jobs.
      You can take your nanny state b.s. and move to Oregon, California or any other state, Idahoans are more than capable of taking care of ourselves!
      Keep all this restrictions in place and all we’ll see are more businesses closing down and putting more people on government assistance, talk about cutting your nose off to spite your own face! Let’s keep closing small businesses down and restricting movement for government assistance! Yeah, that’s what we need alright! SMFH…

    2. Check again, nearly 50% of the states are taking the same steps that ours is doing. From the AP –
      Irritated by the sweeping use of executive orders during the COVID-19 crisis, state lawmakers around the U.S. are moving to curb the authority of governors and top health officials to impose emergency restrictions such as mask rules and business shutdowns.

      The push is underway in such states as Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania, where legislators are seeking a constitutional amendment to strip the governor of many of his emergency powers.

      Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Wayne Langerholc said the amendment would “make it unequivocally clear that our General Assembly is a co-equal branch … that we are not a monarchy and that our voices matter.”

      Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and some of his counterparts around the country have argued that they need authority to act quickly and decisively against the fast-changing threat.

      The coronavirus has killed an estimated 430,000 Americans and is going through its most lethal phase yet, despite the rollout of vaccines, with new and more contagious variants from abroad turning up in the U.S.

      State legislatures generally took on lesser roles after the pandemic hit, with many suspending work or adjourning. It has been governors or their top health officials who have set many of the policies — imposing mask mandates, limiting public gatherings and shutting down dine-in restaurants, gyms, hair salons and other businesses.

      Lawmakers in more than half the states have filed bills this year to limit gubernatorial powers during the pandemic and other emergencies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most legislatures began their sessions this month.

      1. Thank you Ed, I must say I was fuming at the Governors comments and condensation of his adult tax paying citizens. I am over him treating me like a child. The Idaho Republican Party needs to get busy finding a new candidate for governor. Little is not it and I personally will not vote for him. The sneak play that was used to squeeze out Raul was pathetic. Maybe the party should have let the people pick the candidate. I greatly appreciate your comments and lets all keep moving forward to a more Constitutionally based State.

    3. LIES, LIES, LIES!!! Most families still lost their homes, businesses, lives, integrity because they were shut down by the governor’s stupid shutdowns. With only one case of covid in March 13 the tyrannical governor shutdown the state. Why??? Nothing but fear mongering the people. Besides it has been proven that PCR testers do not test for covid. So those cases were falsely declared, and not actual cases. Ha! Ha! Ha! What a joke!!

    4. Well your letter to the Gov was so encouraging- you said more than I could have! To say I’m impressed would not suffice – I can thank you for your love of our state and the people who love it!!!

      1. Hi Julie

        Please understand that I appreciate your support. We can be supportive with our words and we should But it’s time that you and I do
        More and get directly involved. I apologize if you already are. Thank you then. Please see my comments to this great piece from
        Ed.

  2. We see through the smoke and mirrors. This has never been about science or our health. It’s about power and control and money. When the rules don’t make sense, it’s not about science or our health. When the rules apply to me but not to you, it’s not about science or our health. And don’t present any data to me because all the data has been so compromised, falsified, and manipulated that it is utterly worthless. If this was all science-based then it would all make sense and none of it makes any sense whatsoever. No, this has never been about science or our health. This has all been about taking away our rights and getting us used to the idea of not having any.

  3. I really like to know how many people have been arrested for violating the emergency declarations…..I have been working this whole time, and I have yet to see one person being arrested for not wearing a mask, or violating the ten person rule…(I clean commercial buildings, and routinely see ten or more people together.) And there are many that refuse to wear masks, but they scream about they’re rights being violated and yet are not fined and or arrested. The reason for the governor to have emergency powers is we have a part time legislature. There are times when someone has to make snap decisions.

  4. We could have our cake and eat it too. This state has about 8 different ongoing Emergency Declarations whereby the Federal government can aid the people affected by those disasters. However long the declaration is in effect, people affected can apply. Some have been going since 2015. Also, the declaration and the restrictions are separate documents, all of which can be modified at any time. Meaning that ending the declaration doesn’t stop the restrictions or vice versa. Also, there is no requirement by the federal government that the restrictions be in place in order to receive the funds. Sooo…if they wanted to, they could just end the restrictions and open everything up, and keep the declaration going. Besides, we’re only talking about FEMA here, which isn’t all that much money. The Cares Act is much more money and isn’t effected by the declaration one way or another(I don’t think?). Why can’t the Governor and the Legislature just put their heads together and or this out? I do agree they need to make legislation that prevents this overreach in the future. The Governor should never have been able to usurp the powers of the legislators as representatives of the people.

  5. Ed

    Your view encapsulates so many honest and truthful principles about our country. As a conservative, I brace so many of these. In the last many months, as I’ve been challenged by so much government overreach that has occurred in the last year and what we look forward to in the next presidential administration for four years I can only hope that individuals like you would consider running for office. As somebody who spent 30 years in the high tech industry, I now live in Meridian and I too am beginning to consider running for local office. I don’t say this to advance my own cause, but I think it’s imperative now that we begin to pay attention to our local politics because these are the breeding grounds for our state and federal representatives. Many people like to spill accolades and complain, but I stressed that every citizen of Idaho needs to get involved and pay attention to their local city Council, their school boards, and their county decisions. The people who represent these are our future leaders at the state and federal level. Look at any of our federal senators or congressman in Idaho and look at where they started. We must seed the System with true conservative people. Thank you for taking the time to write such an articulate view from the heart

  6. Yes, let’s stop pretending. Let’s stop pretending that Brad Little has shut down Idaho for any other reason than financial gain and POWER. Let’s stop pretending. Look at what just happened in a Vancouver hospital. Do you think this will not happen here? Do you think vaccines will not be made mandatory? We have Rep. Fred Wood Chairman of Health and Welfare refusing to hear a bill concerning mandatory vaccines. What does that tell you? We have a Senate as a whole who is unwilling to take back their Constitutional Responsibilities to the people of Idaho, who would prefer to keep Little in the driver’s seat and Idaho chained to the Federal Government. Shameful. Disgraceful. YES, let’s stop pretending.

  7. Federal dollars always have strings attached. They collect our money in the form of taxes and then redistribute those dollars in accordance with their agenda. If the federal spigot is turned off because we remove the emergency declaration then it will be up to local communities to help their neighbors like it used to be. The truly needy will find help and the deadbeats will be denied and will likely move on.

  8. The first thing I did when the lock down started was to read the Idaho State Constitution. The second thing I did is I said oh my god, what are they doing! Then I sent Gov. Little a quote by Gov. Noem S.D. that she took an oath to protect her state and the U.S. Constitution. Apparently Gov. Noem trusted the people of her State to do the right thing. Politicians ought not to practice medicine and Doctors ought not to practice Politics!

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