(Idaho Freedom Caucus Press Release, November 15, 2023)
Senate Pro Tempore Chuck Winder doubled down on his authoritarian stance by abruptly removing Senator Brian Lenney from his Vice Chair position on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee. The decision, delivered via email, lacked clear justification or prior dialogue, casting doubt on the fairness and openness of the process.
This is the third instance where Senator Winder has targeted the speech of Idaho Freedom Caucus members with little reason or evidence. It appears that Winder’s continued harassment is based on our members’ more conservative political perspectives. He seems to be attacking any legislator who resists his intimidation and bullying tactics.
Winder’s latest actions reveal a troubling pattern—unilaterally disciplining Senators critical of Idaho’s spending increases and reliance on federal debt. Timed at the onset of an election season with numerous contested races, his behavior raises concerns about his attempts to influence the electoral process.
Senator Lenney stated emphatically, “I haven’t had a conversation with Senator Winder in over seven months, and without warning or detailed reasoning, this news lands in my inbox. Let’s be clear: Senator Winder is neither my boss nor my dad. I serve the people, not Senator Winder. I remain committed to standing up for conservative principles and opposing any power play that seeks to silence and control me or my votes in the Senate.”
The Idaho Freedom Caucus opposes Winder’s authoritarian tactics, aiming to enforce a single narrative and stifle debate. Using his leadership position to penalize opposition raises concerns. Even though we disagree with Senator Winder’s tactics, we expect these disagreements will not hinder our proposed legislation.
The Idaho Freedom Caucus remains undeterred. Our dedication to Idaho’s people and principles of transparency and accountability remains unshaken.