Several characteristics define good leadership from elected officials.
l They listen to their constituents and make decisions based on the greatest good.
l When necessary, they put aside their personal preferences and allegiances for that greater good.
l They understand their boundaries and respect the responsibilities of others.
l They are open and honest in explaining why they decide or vote the way they do.
Based on that criteria, our area has pockmarks of poor leaders, people who overstep the clearly defined duties of their jobs and people who put minimal effort into repaying voters’ belief that they’d work hard to do what’s right.
They aren’t alone among the ranks of poor leaders in Idaho. But there’s reason to believe better leaders are on the way.
A group calling itself The Take Back Idaho Committee is stepping up to stomp out the extremism that plagues the consistent common sense governance our state is known for.
“The recent disruptive legislative sessions have pointed to the desperate need to replace dangerous extremists in the Legislature,” Committee Chair Jennifer Ellis said recently. Ellis is a rancher and former president of the Idaho Cattle Association.
“Instead of putting forward positive ideas to improve the everyday lives of Idahoans, these politicians waste valuable time and taxpayer money. This vocal minority has replaced civility and common sense with conspiracy theories, fringe views, and cheap political theater.”
Sound familiar? It sure does.
The citizen committee’s goal is to recruit and support better leaders statewide — an effort that is under way in Kootenai County and throughout the northern part of the state. This isn’t some distant horizon they’re aiming at, either: The immediate target is the May 17 Republican primary election, and potential recruits are being contacted.
While this first wave won’t include local nonpartisan races like North Idaho College trustees or school and library boards, the new committee will provide The Coeur d’Alene Press with information helping voters choose the candidates most likely to shun extremism in favor of legislation that supports families, businesses and honorable institutions and individuals like public schools, hospitals, mental health care providers and more.
Ellis referred to the goal as “restoring a sense of community and common purpose in Idaho.” Those once were Gem State hallmarks. By replacing radical legislators with competent leaders, those scuffed and spit-on hallmarks can shine again.