Idaho's Gov. Butch Otter, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch and Idaho's Republican Party are out of step with the majority of Idahoans who favor new wilderness in Idaho as outlined in the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act.
Otter opposes any and all new wilderness in Idaho and is using the power of his office to try to stop the act at the 11th hour.
Sen. Risch co-sponsored the act. Yet, when it was introduced in the Senate, he said he wouldn't support it in its present form and would decide after changes are made whether to support it.
The Idaho Republican Party also has gone on record opposing the bill.
So, who do Otter, Risch and the GOP represent?
In recent testimony before Congress, Idaho Conservation League Executive Director Rick Johnson entered into the record the results of a statewide poll conducted in June by Moore Information, a company with a solid reputation.
In detailed questioning, the poll found that Idahoans favored the bill by 2 to 1. Democrats favored the bill most heavily (79 percent to 13 percent), followed by Independents (57 percent to 30 percent), and Republicans (50 percent to 41 percent). Snowmobilers—8 percent of voters—were the only subgroup to oppose the bill.
For the last decade, groups of people who often didn't agree on much except their desire to protect Idaho's great outdoors worked long and hard to find common ground and to construct a wilderness bill all of them could support. It wasn't fast and it wasn't' easy.
Neither Otter, Risch or the GOP should let the perfect get in the way of the possible. They should get on board with the people of Idaho.