Idaho’s Lt. Gov. is a Woman of Courage
by Shari Dovale
Idaho’s Lt. Governor, Janice McGeachin, is the Conservative counterpart to the quasi-Republican Governor Brad Little.
Some of her hard line stances, though popular with her constituents, have come under fire from the establishment in Boise.
She took an anti-lockdown stance when the Governor issued his orders to decide who was essential and who was not essential to the state. She issued a scathing letter in support of the people of Idaho:
‘It’s Up to Idahoans to Ameliorate Government’s Heavy Hand’
As Lieutenant Governor, I am one heartbeat away from the governor’s chair. I am also a small business owner. My family and I own four small businesses in the restaurant and automotive industries, employing hundreds of Idahoans. As a former member of the Idaho House of Representatives, I represented a district in eastern Idaho for many years and was viewed as a champion of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
My reputation and current position has many constituents asking me why small businesses and entrepreneurs — who make up the backbone of Idaho’s economy — are largely underrepresented in the Governor’s coronavirus advisory committees, task forces, and economic reopening committees.
I lose sleep at night because the heavy hand of our government is hurting so many Idahoans. Idahoans were sidelined and left to watch silently as the government closed Main Street by unilaterally deciding which businesses were “essential” and which ones were not. By deciding that certain goods can only be purchased at certain places, or not at all, our government has been selecting economic winners and losers throughout this pandemic.
The effects of the executive branch’s unilateral decisions will impact us for years. Now we are being told that if we attempt to salvage our livelihood, if we attempt to open our businesses to put food on the table for our families, if we have the courage to “defy” the reopening plan our government imposed upon us, our business licenses will be at stake.
Now more than ever before, we are in a moment where political courage is mandated. We must not be afraid to stand up for all businesses large and small — including all of those thousands of businesses without a voice or a paid lobbyist. You can find those businesses on Main Street in every town in Idaho.
We must stand up for the livelihoods of hardworking Idahoans. We must have the courage to tell it straight: Realistically, there is a segment of our population that will remain at risk during this pandemic and there may be a spike in COVID-19 cases as we reopen. I agree that we should do all that we can to protect our vulnerable citizens, as well as our frontline workers. But there are other facts to consider:
This shutdown is taking a financial toll on Idahoans. Thousands of Idahoans still haven’t received unemployment or were denied SBA and PPP loans and grants. For some businesses which did receive a PPP loan, the government policy places the forgivable portion of those loans at risk. When these businesses are not permitted to open until mid-June at the earliest, it will be beyond the time limit required to tap into some of those funds, according to the US Treasury. With bills quickly mounting, and no income coming in, there has been a spike in bankruptcies, suicides, depression, and businesses that will never open again. We must begin to examine those facts — as well as the health care-related data the Governor is focused on — to properly evaluate how to move forward. I hope the Governor’s business task force will take all of these facts into consideration, not just the medical facts provided by cabinet members.
While most Idahoans supported the public safety aspect of the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order, the one thing that is missing in all of this is the confidence that Idahoans are smart enough to put in place public health protocols so they can reopen their business, welcome customers, and take care of their employees.
The Governor campaigned on a promise of imposing the “lightest hand of government” on Idahoans. To me, this means getting out of the way and letting Idahoans get back to work.
~ Lt. Governor Janice McGeachin
During a rally in Boise in 2019, McGeachin saw advocates raising awareness for Constitutional and Due Process rights at the Capitol. Anthony Depue and James Ward, of the Real Idaho 3%, dressed in prisoner garb with Engel’s name written on their shirts. This was specifically to bring awareness to his case.
Knowing the importance of bringing attention to Engel’s plight, McGeachin initiated a photo to be taken of her with these men. That simple act of showing support for one of her Idaho residents garnered much venom and vitriol from the radical extremists that do not support the Constitution.
From the fanatics of the Main Stream Media to left-wing Socialist lawmakers, and all the extremists in between, McGeachin fielded attacks.
She gave a very straightforward answer, in part saying, “The photo was intended to show support for Engel and nothing more. No other messages were intended in this photo. To claim otherwise is ridiculous, and is part of a larger narrative to paint conservative leaders as embracing identity politics.”
Governor Little issued this statement in response to the photo, “I discussed the issue with the lieutenant governor. All of us must be accountable for our actions and their implications, and I trust her to do the same.”
Todd Engel was unjustly convicted for his part in the Bundy/Bunkerville protest of 2014. We rightly call his conviction “unjust” as he has since been exonerated and released in an unprecedented move, initiated through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
When they vacated his conviction due to violations of his 6th amendment rights, the Federal prosecutors declined to retry him, knowing they could not get a conviction on a fair and level playing field.
These events have not only vindicated Engel, but his supporters as well, including Lt. Gov Janice McGeachin.
McGeachin’s unwavering support for Engel was apparent even during his incarceration. She continued to stay in contact with his family, receiving updates on his case. She also wrote to him via a Christmas Card that he hung on the wall of his cell in Lompoc Prison. The card was prominently displayed next to the photograph of McGeachin showing her love for Todd.
“What her picture did, and what her Christmas card did, it shocked the conscience of the staff, the guards, and even the assistant warden. Nobody has support from high level politicians in the executive branch of their state in Federal prison,” Engel explains.
“I would tell them that these are the folks supporting me because I am an innocent man. It changed their outlook towards me. It gave me a platform with them.”
With complete vindication should come further support for this true representative of the people. Governor Little could have stepped up to welcome Engel home, yet there has been no word from him.
Most recently, McGeachin led a large “Trump Car Rally” in Couer d’Alene. This true conservative is not afraid to show her support for our President during this contentious election.
Todd had a message for the Lt. Governor, which he was able to deliver after the rally, “I will go to my grave forever thankful to Janice for what she has done.”
“We can’t be afraid to act on our convictions for fear of what other people might think.”
~ Lt Gov. Janice McGeachin
Todd Engel with Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (photo: Redoubt News)
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