Left-Wing Groups Threaten Local Business Owners, Community Event Cancelled
Editor's note: Although this press release is for the southern part of the state, it's nothing that Kootenai County hasn't and won't experience as well. As we continue to look at politics locally it is imperative that we keep an eye on the rest of the state.
(Boise, ID) The July 21st District 17 “Meet Your Candidates” event has been cancelled. It is a sad day in Boise, Idaho when extremist left-wing groups threaten business owners when expressing their first amendment rights. This upcoming week, District 17 Republican candidates were going to be at a local hangout near a couple of businesses to host and welcome members of the community, support the businesses, and bring awareness to the November 2022 election. Unfortunately, a small group of vocal radical leftists have employed fear and intimidation tactics to shut down this event. This cannot and should not be tolerated, and a police report is being filed requesting an investigation.
On Saturday, July 9th, the candidates and several volunteers began distributing flyers in the area to promote the event. This would have been their fourth such event. Monday morning, July 11, April Larson received a call from the owner of one of the businesses requesting that they move or cancel the event. She was told that over the weekend, multiple harassing and frightening phone calls and threats had made the employees feel unsafe. Because organizing these events takes time and money, moving the event is impractical and the difficult decision was made to halt distribution of the flyers and cancel the event.
Republican candidate for Idaho Senate, in District 17, Ben Chafetz said, "My campaign is here to offer an alternative to the status quo which has punished the constituents time and time again. These 'disruptors' are the very reason that I am running. They have become a tool of the very ideology they claim to oppose. The aim of fascism is to force the people to conform to what the state, and corporations working with the state, desire. Fascism utilizes the elimination of choice and free speech by way of censorship. These harassers have alleged that my fellow candidates and I are 'Christian fascists,’ yet they embody the fascism they purport to oppose. I know that this is not the type of home we want for ourselves in Idaho. I know that the people of Idaho support free, direct, and thoughtful political discourse and I aim to provide it."
For the past two months, this group of thoughtful Idaho conservatives, have been making a major grassroots effort in bringing awareness to the upcoming election. For the first time in over 15 years, these candidates have a viable chance of effecting change in the longtime Democrat district.
“It deeply saddens my heart that instead of opening doors of dialogue, honest debate and communication, we have a small minority of people sinking to verbal abuse and using terminology and racial words to tear us apart. My heart has always been for unity, bridge building and conversation in a healthy way. These angry and aggressive people do not represent the spirit of kindness and respect that I have experienced as I walk through the neighborhoods and talk with those who call this district their home. I am proud to be part of District 17 and am working hard to support and serve our community,” said April Larson, Republican candidate for House Seat A in District 17.
She adds, "From the beginning, the business owners have been wonderful and very clear that they wish to remain politically neutral. They do not endorse any of our campaigns but have still been welcoming. They are the perfect example of tolerance and inclusiveness that the Boise Bench prides itself on. While to some, it may seem we are ‘caving,’ to bullies, my campaign will honor the request of our local business owners and wants no part of them becoming collateral damage at the hands of hate groups.”
All three candidates felt called to run in District 17 so that voters could have a clear choice in November. While they are running independent campaigns, they have been working together in a spirit of collaboration on these events.
District 17 has been a Democrat-held district, and many with opposing views have expressed that they have felt silenced and unrepresented for almost two decades. This campaign is not only about inspiring and uplifting, but about preparing for the future for conservative Idahoans here in the Boise area, and in Idaho at large.