When Did Our Elected Leaders Lose Their Way?

Jeremy Gugino
Jun 17 · 3 min read

This letter is part of , an accountability campaign defending Idahoans’ constitutional right to ballot initiatives. .

Dear Rep. Erpelding:

Hi. My name is Jeremy.

(“Hi Jeremy!”)

It’s been two-and-a-half years since I’ve been a lifetime registered Republican.


My apologies if admitting to being a former lifetime registered Republican sounds like the introduction to an AA meeting, but to be honest, I do feel a little drunk from ingesting the politics of this state.

I am the Last Republican in Idaho

Let’s make a few things clear. I may be the last Republican in Idaho. They no longer exist in our state government. I don’t care who puts an “R” in front of their name, they aren’t Republicans. While I am no longer a registered Republican, I retain the ideals and energy of a once great political party which included the likes of Lincoln, Grant, Roosevelt (Theodore, of course), Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. That’s a pretty good starting five. We also have Eisenhower and Jackie Robinson coming off the bench. All in all, a pretty good team that I would line up against any other political party in history.

All of those people were strong, disciplined and energetic engines for progress in our great nation. They believed in the spirit and potential of the American people — regardless of gender, race or religion — and sought to give each and every one of us the tools to succeed (or fail) during our time on this earth.

Anger, Fear, Resentment

Unfortunately, Republicans have been replaced by angry, resentful, and scared individuals who have no desire to advance the American ideal. Idaho’s State House is chock-full of them. Please do not insult me by referring to them as “Republicans” because, again, they’re not. These weak individuals are doing everything they can to deny us our century-old Constitutional right to bring ballot initiatives.

Since 1912, Idahoans have enjoyed the right to “check” the legislature by proposing legislation of their own via ballot initiative. That right was added to our State’s Constitution and has been on the books ever since. It should be noted that our Constitutional-Republic form of state government (where the people elect legislators to represent them) approved the amendment through the legislature before it was approved by a vote by the people. In other words, our Republic and Democracy worked hand-in-hand to give every Idahoan a right to put issues on the ballot. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Since then, Idahoans have been exceedingly responsible and judicious with this power. They’ve put about three-dozen initiatives on the ballot, but only 15 have passed — in more than 100 years.

Idaho’s Greatest Legislative Achievement in a Generation

This includes the greatest legislative achievement in a generation with the passage of Medicaid Expansion. Idahoans are bringing $400 million a year back to this state, providing healthcare access to tens of thousands of Idahoans, and creating thousands of good-paying jobs.

Not bad for Idahoans exercising their Constitutional rights.

My fight with my former party, much like a fight with addiction, is a personal one. However, the predicate for that clash is much more foundational and affects all of us. Clearly, Idahoans are sick of party politics. That’s why we overwhelmingly passed Medicaid Expansion. Our elected leaders were not up to the task, so we took matters into our own hands.

How many other issues could we solve that our legislators refuse to?

The fight to preserve our Constitutional rights as Idahoans goes well beyond party affiliation. It is something embodied in every one of us no matter where we live in this great state. Do not let the fear, anger and cynicism of our state legislature impede those ideals. We are all better than that.

Thank you for your leadership in the Idaho House in speaking out strongly against efforts to restrict every Idahoan’s constitutional right to bring ballot initiatives.

Jeremy J. Gugino

Reclaim Idaho Blog

Reclaim Idaho is a grassroots organization with over 2,000 volunteers in over 25 Idaho counties. We believe in the power of Idahoans, coming together, to tackle tough problems facing the state.

Jeremy Gugino

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Reclaim Idaho Blog

Reclaim Idaho is a grassroots organization with over 2,000 volunteers in over 25 Idaho counties. We believe in the power of Idahoans, coming together, to tackle tough problems facing the state.