Opinion: Taking a look at outside influence on Idaho politics

One fact about Idaho holds to a principle regardless of party. Idahoans do not need the influence of outside states and their politics. The responsible parties continue to push Idaho towards the extremes versus addressing the actual problems facing Idaho. It’s time to push out and hush the outside and inappropriate influences within Idaho.

Let me introduce you to the least known of the two. According to the Idaho Freedom Foundation website’s “about section,” Fred Birnbaum has been a Boise resident since 2000. Fred serves the Freedom Foundation as the legislative affairs director. To be clear, this is the director of Idaho legislative affairs. However, Fred is a Utah resident and has been for quite some time. Fred has been spending his time attacking the rights of Idaho women, blocking task forces and changing laws that will impact generations of Idaho families. Right now, Utah resident Fred Birnbaum is attempting to fight against funding that supports research meant to save mothers’ lives.

Of course, most Idahoans are familiar with Wayne Hoffman. However, allow me to reintroduce you to Washington resident Wayne Hoffman. Wayne was not registered to vote in the past Idaho election, so many decided to dig in and figure out why. Well, he decided only his heart could remain in Idaho, but he would prefer to live in Washington. Wayne has created such a pig pen of political mess, that even he cannot stand to live in Idaho. Don’t be fooled by his purpose, though. A paycheck is a paycheck, and he runs the Freedom Foundation, not the Washington Freedom Foundation. Wayne has taken advantage of an environment fresh to marginalize voters. Using outside funding to create a measurement system, a system our legislators prioritize over the people’s voices. Now he expects us to watch him do it from another state as if he sits in a raised control tower.

There are visible consequences when people attempt to stand against the Freedom Foundation. Have you met Dustin Hurst? This is the muscle of the Freedom Foundation, the one they can send after you, not worried about the long-term implications or how it will be written in Idaho history books. Recently you could observe him bullying Mary Souza for not voting the Freedom Foundation way. I recently had a run-in with @HurstforIdaho. When confronted or unable to defend his point of view, he quickly suggested we have a boxing match. We all remember this guy from our high school days, and now we know where he went.

Don’t mistake the Freedom Foundation way for the conservative way. This group is focused on their small minority group leading and influencing the majority of Idaho. They are slowly leaving the state as they make it unbearable for themselves, hoping we will not notice. These out-of-state and inappropriate influencers need to have their game shut down and stop using Idaho citizens as pawns designed to help them collect their paychecks.

Dan Barker is a leadership management consultant and the vice chair for the Bonneville County Democratic Central Committee.