‘In Search of Civility’ Tackles Partisanship & Power in 2nd Episode

Feb 11, 2021 | News

Free Chamber-sponsored series hosted by bipartisan former elected officials streams 2/16. 

BOISE – Who sets the tone – and the agenda – in Idaho politics depends on who holds the power. 

Yet, even in a state dominated by one party, where Republicans have held power for the past 30 years and where Democrats have not had a legislative majority since 1958, the past year increased polarization between factions. Examples include alt-right extremist Ammon Bundy zip-tying himself to a chair inside the Capitol, substantive power struggles between Idaho’s executive and legislative branches, and numerous bills introduced using a privileged procedure because committee chairmen refused to allow hearings. 

The connection between partisanship, power, and civility in our democracy is the topic of the second episode of the Boise Chamber’s new web series, “In Search of Civility,” produced in partnership with the Association of Idaho Cities and Smith + Malek Attorneys. The series is presented by Dawson Taylor Coffee Roasters and Idaho Central Credit Union, sponsored by Erstad Architects and Power Engineers, and the media partners are Idaho Ed News, the Idaho Statesman, and the Idaho Press.

The bipartisan series includes two Democrats and two Republicans. The Democrats are former House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding and former Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo, and the Republicans are former state representative Kelley Packer and current Republican candidate for Idaho Lieutenant Governor and former state representative Luke Malek. 

The live-streamed episode is Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m. Mountain Time. It can be viewed on the Chamber’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/boisemetrochamber, as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube. Additionally, it will be live-streamed on our media partners’ Facebook pages. The event is free and open to the public, and no registration is required. 

“America’s increasing partisanship has created a ‘good versus evil’ political situation,” Erpelding said. “This is exacerbated when legislators refuse to acknowledge that compromise is the foundation of American government. Additionally, party purity tests have become the norm on both sides pushing elected officials into an untenable situation and driving dysfunction.” 

“Most Idahoans care about bread-and-butter issues and want elected officials, especially at the local level, who will simply get stuff done and make sure basic services work smoothly,” said Lachiondo. 

“Politicians often forget who they work for and get caught up in the games that partisanship tends to provoke,” added Malek. “Idahoans want problem-solvers who care about educating our kids and protecting public health while continuing to safely re-open our economy and get everyone back to work.”

“While there will always be tough issues and a need for tough conversations, we need to work on normalizing those hard conversations, remembering that another human being sits across from us in every discussion,” said Packer. “We need to allow the conversations to take place, work to find common ground & always have solutions as our end goal.”



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