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For the week of June 19 - 25, 2002


Governor rallies party faithful

Idahoans are ‘tough people’ for ‘tough times’

Express Staff Writer

After admitting "these are tough times," Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne told the closing luncheon of the state Republican Party convention Tuesday in Sun Valley that Idahoans are up to dealing with economic adversity because "we are tough people."

In an uncustomary long speech for Kempthorne that ran nearly 45 minutes, the governor capped the two day GOP convention with what amounted to marching orders for the Republican faithful for the November election.

He said the "opposition" Democratic Party is one of "gloom and doom" and "paints a picture that something is wrong with tax relief."

He added that Idaho "can’t tax your way out of a recession."

To the 425 GOP delegates and perhaps another 100 family members meeting at the Sun Valley Resort, Kempthorne said that despite the recession that he said Idaho is enduring, he boasted that frugal policies of his office and the Republican-controlled Legislature had helped maintain high credit ratings in the U.S. bond market, and made the Gem State the bright spot in the Pacific Northwest where other states are reeling under deficits.

He said Republicans showed "conviction and courage" in decisions that have avoided a worsening financial crisis in state government, and which, in turn, have led to new jobs and new investments in Idaho.

"When people that government serves have to tighten their belt" during tough economic times, the governor said, "then government must tighten its belt."

He ticked off a list of GOP accomplishments that he said should convince voters to retain what he called "the team on the field" — the incumbent governor, senior state GOP government officials and Republican legislators.

Following Kempthorne’s address, the delegates returned to business sessions to elect retiring state Sen. John Sandy their unsalaried state party chairman. Sandy, 54, is an agribusiness executive in Hagerman.

Rather than rubberstamping the platform as presented, delegates engaged in a flurry of proposed amendments, one that added to the education plank the words "God" and "family values" as reasons for the state’s greatness in the future. The plank was amended but with a scattering of "no" voice votes.

But some acrimony developed over a proposal to remove from the platform the plank affirming the GOP’s opposition to re-imposing term limits.

The majority shouted its approval for retaining the plank, arguing that to take a neutral stand would provide Democrats with a campaign issue — that the GOP wasn’t standing behind legislators who voted to repeal term limits.

Another attempt to impose term limits on elected officials will be on the November ballot as an initiative.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.