TWIN FALLS • Small phrases can have big impacts.
That was the recurring theme surrounding platform discussions on the first day of the Idaho Republican Party’s state convention, which runs through Saturday in Twin Falls. The debates were a warm-up to today’s onslaught of meetings, where convention participants will consider adopting proposed platform changes and resolutions.
Thursday, the first day of the convention, offered a light schedule, with campaign lessons and a Platform Committee meeting where participants broke into subcommittees to discuss proposed changes.
Platform planks are party positions on major topics, but don’t necessarily result in state policy changes.
The Idaho GOP’s platform has received attention in recent years for changes including abolishing the 17th Amendment, which allows citizens to elect their United States senators, and support for a closed primary system.
Though the Thursday subcommittees took votes on changes, nothing will be finalized until Saturday, when all the convention delegates vote on the document.
Still, Thursday’s discussion provided debate on hot topics, including eliminating support for “sound currency,” which supports backing up all U.S. currency with gold or silver. After a long debate, the committee voted to keep the plank. Participants also voted to get rid of the phase “naturally born” that preceded the party’s definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That descriptor could exclude transgendered people and people born with certain medical conditions.
A section called “Integrity in Government,” often referred to as the Republican loyalty oath, was taken out entirely after it was pointed out that the oath is already in the party rules.
But those and other topics may again come up for debate at today’s Platform Committee meeting, where committee members can object to any section’s changes.
Not every discussion on Thursday was a fight over what the platforms should be. Sometimes, delegates struggled over wording, repetition and where in the platform the article could go.
And while there was rarely a consensus on contentious issues, subcommittee head Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said the discussion went well — even when she disagreed with the vote outcome.
“I was pleased with the civility and discourse,” she said.