LEWISTON, Idaho — An effort to unite Idaho’s conservative state lawmakers by forming a new caucus has stalled because some Republican legislators are unwilling to work for a consensus, a state legislator said.
Republican Rep. Mike Kingsley is not seeing much willingness to set aside differences from a subset of conservative lawmakers who feuded with Republican House leadership, he told the Lewiston Tribune .
“What I’ve been feeling from the far right hasn’t been very positive,” Kingsley said. “I don’t think they’re going to calm down to the point that we can move forward.”
Kinglsey and Rep. Bryan Zollinger of Idaho Falls proposed the formation of the House Freedom Caucus near the end of the last legislative session after a group of conservative lawmakers protested the treatment of Republican Rep. Heather Scott. She was stripped of her committee assignments during the prior session after she told another female lawmaker that women only move up in the Legislature by trading sexual favors.
Rep. Priscilla Giddings, who often objected to routine procedural maneuvers causing delays during the session, has said she is unaware of any House feuds. She has been quoted in recent news stories as saying that the Idaho Republican establishment is not working in the best interests of its constituents.
“Just yesterday I had a proponent of the establishment say I need to learn how to find common ground,” she said. “They asked what I can do to cave, so we can get along. We can’t keep compromising.”
Like Giddings, Rep. Ron Nate told the newspaper in a separate email inquiry that he is “not aware of, nor concerned about, feuds with leadership.”
Zollinger hopes that if the freedom caucus doesn’t end up voting as a bloc or even take positions on legislation, it can at least operate as a discussion group.
Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com