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IFF has changed from helpful to vicious

 
April 15, 2022

By Idaho State Senator Jeff Agenbroad
Nampa

Every other year, Idahoans decide who represents them in the Idaho Legislature. As a fifth generation Idahoan, and a candidate to continue representing my hometown of Nampa in the Idaho Senate, I believe voting is our patriotic duty. It’s our opportunity to choose our community leaders based on results and accountability. That leads me to this … Idaho is at a political crossroads. It’s not unusual for a political divide to exist. What is uncharacteristic, especially for Idahoans, is the nasty, contentious nature of this divide.

Unfortunately, the Idaho Freedom Foundation, its sister organization Idaho Freedom Action, Inc., along with a few others are promoting this nasty, contentious divide in the Republican Party through bullying tactics, misinformation, lies and attempts of character assassination toward those who don’t always agree with them.

I first became acquainted with the IFF lobby group six years ago, when I ran for the Idaho State Senate. I happened to know and respect some of their founders and supporters. I am a Republican and they are a Libertarian think tank, so we didn’t always agree on everything. Regardless, I supported them and contributed to their organization because I found value in much of their legislative analysis as a useful tool to help me best represent my constituents.

But, three years ago, I began to see a change in the IFF’s behavior toward publicly elected officials. Their lobbying efforts became much more aggressive, particularly against those who didn’t vote for bills they supported or opposed. I also noticed their legislative analysis became increasingly inconsistent and was used as a tool to manipulate lawmakers with the “scores” they assigned to the pieces of legislation. As I witnessed the IFF’s increasing bullying and manipulation, I could no longer support them in good conscious or use their analysis as a tool to represent my constituents. Lobbying is one thing, bullying, manipulation, and fear mongering is something else that does not represent who we are.

Recently, I shared my concerns about IFF’s behavior with them and communicated that I no longer found their analysis as a useful tool to represent my constituents, nor would I support their behavior. They responded by attacking me through social media and mailers, spreading lies, misinformation, and other attempts of character assassination. Their malicious attacks are spun up by taking votes out of context, touting that I’m a spendthrift, that I support racism, and that I am not forthright with you, my constituents. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Truth and civility, even when we disagree, is the foundation of who we are. Our success at the local and state level is the result of civil discourse and a community effort to pass conservative, fiscally sound, effective, and logical policy. Together, we, and those before us, have turned Idaho into a conservative stronghold in the western U.S. because we protect the Idaho Way!

We don’t raise taxes; we provide record tax cuts. We don’t create useless laws and regulations; we cut red tape and enjoy a free market economy. We don’t teach our children what to think; we teach them how to think. We don’t recklessly spend; we follow the Constitution and balance our budget. Most importantly, we don’t tolerate federal overreach; we fight to protect our freedoms. These are our shared Republican values.

I adhere to these values every day because I represent the people of Nampa and District 13 … not a lobbyist group. That’s accountability, why spin up lies about it?

Jeff Agenbroad is the Idaho state Senator for District 13, and serves as co-chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee.

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