It’s official: I’m a Democrat

Here’s how it happened:

I thought I was accompanyng my wife, Diane Ronayne, to the Idaho State Democratic convention this past weekend in Moscow, where she was an Ada County and Second Congressional District delegate. When she came back from registering Friday morning, she handed me a name tag and a folder and announced that I, too, was a delegate. I’m not sure who actually made me a delegate, but I decided not to make a scene and go along for the ride.

Several times in Idaho I have been called a communist in public. Now, it’s official; I’m a Democrat. I actually helped get the term “climate change” in the party platform, which some, no doubt, will see as evidence for the veracity of those former allegations. In some quarters, regulating the private exploitation of natural resources, land-use planning and public schools are communistic ideas—which, of course, they are—communal efforts to address the common good. Recognizing human caused global warming is perceived in those quarters as a United Nations Agenda 21 plot for world domination.

At Friday morning’s hearing on the first draft of the Democratic platform, a delegate recommended including “action against carbon-induced global warming” in the natural resources stewardship plank. It was one among a couple dozen suggestions from delegate members. At the Saturday morning hearing on the second platform draft, I was among several delegates who rose to speak.

I complimented the platform committee chair for the artful job her group did in incorporating most of the suggestions made the previous day, but called her attention to awkward phrasing of the sentence inserted to address global warming: “For the sake of future generations, we are committed to taking proactive measures to prevent and mitigate climate disruption.”

“I know we’re trying to avoid the term ‘climate change,'” I said. “However, climate cannot be ‘disrupted.’ Climate is the average pattern of meteorological variables such as temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation, etc.” I suggested that the phrase “the harmful effects of climate change” be substituted for “climate disruption.”

“The deniers are not going to be voting for us anyway,” I concluded. When the final draft was adopted unanimously Saturday afternoon, it contained the recommended amendment, minus the word “harmful.”

As has been widely reported, the convention was a love fest—quite a contrast from the Republican convention the week before, which failed to adopt a platform or elect a party chairman. Since they did not adopt a platform, the Republicans are stuck with a 35-page relic that emraces such Tea Party idiocy as repeal of the 17th amendment, which removed election of US Senators from state legislatures and gave it to the people.

The new Idaho Democratic platform is a one-sheet, two-page document that expresses the values Democrats share. It does not get embroiled in the policiy debates about how we act on those values. That theme—spelling out Democratic values and acting on them—was echoed in a rousing keynote address by Ed Rendell, former district attorney and mayor of Philadelphia, and attorney general and two-term governor of Pennsylvania (2003-2011).

Gov. Rendell emphasized the risks that acting on those values sometime requires. He illustrated be reviewing his daring first-term success raising Pennsylvania’s $5.15 minimum wage by 40 percent—to $7.15 in one year!

…which brings me to a trip several Idaho Democrats are making around the state today, June 24:

Foprmer 2nd District Congressman Richards Stallings, who is campaigning to regain his seat from Mike Simpson, is joining Lt. Gov. candidate Bert Marley and US Senate candidate Nels Mitchell
in a series of news conferences across southern Idaho. They terminate their trip on the Statehouse steps at about 4:15 p.m. They are proposing raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

Former US Rep. Stallings called to say he’d like folks to show up in support of the minimum-wage announcement. (see letter below)

He also agreed to come to Boise—tentatively Friday, Sept. 5—to meet with some friends at my home—especially those who helped save Hulls Gulch. (Directions & more info to follow for those who express interest.)

A couple decades back, Rep. Stallings played an important role in sealing the deal that saved Boise’s Hulls Gulch from development  He got us $900,000 of Land and Water Conservation Funds to make the complicated three-way land swap work.

Richard would bring real integrity back to our 2nd District representation in Congress; that’s why I’m supporting him.

Please, take the time to read his letter and/or visit his website; I think you’ll agree with him. He doesn’t pull punches (like voting to shut down the government in a cynical attempt to cripple Obamacare, then 16 days later, when INL workers are about to be furloughed, voting to end it).

Stallings for Idaho


There is a crisis in Idaho. This is a crisis that is not caused by nature or terrorists, but by insensitive and mean spirited elected officials. This crisis is getting little or no press coverage and this crisis has NO ONE who is drawing the public’s attention to it–until now!!

Tomorrow, June 24, the Stallings for Idaho campaign, accompanied by Nels Mitchell, our Senate candidate, and Bert Marley, candidate for Lt. Governor will hold a series of press conferences across the 2nd CD to draw attention to this crisis by launching the R.T.M.W (Raise The Minimum Wage) crusade.

The current $7.25 minimum wage has forced tens of thousands of minimum wage workers to survive in poverty. According to the state, we have 29,000 Idahoans working at minimum wage and another 140,000 whose day to day lives would be drastically improved if Congress raised the minimum wage to $10.10. This simple act would add $5400 annually to those making $7.25 an hour and benefit at least 176,000 Idahoans. It would reduce the cost for federal food stamps, and benefit every community because these hard working folks would spend their additional funds locally. Families would have more time for their kids and, perhaps, allow them the opportunity to put extra dollars towards better job preparation and education. I believe this simple act would go a long way to restore the American dream for thousands of our fellow Idahoans.

I need your help! In fact I need the help of every Progressive, Democrat, Independent, and concerned Republican to help end this crisis. We need volunteers to assist with the voter registration effort and we need funds to hire some of these minimum wage folks to engage their friends and the public.

The Stallings for Idaho campaign has recently hired two single moms to help us find and register minimum wage workers to vote and, when we raise the necessary funds, we will hire more. We would like RTMW workers in every community as our goal is to register 5,000 new voters in the 2nd Congressional District.

A $10 contribution will hire a single mom, or a college student for one hour. A $100 contribution will put someone to work for ten hours. Please help, as your gift will be used exclusively to assist with our RTMW campaign, and 5,000 new single issue voters will help progressive candidates throughout Idaho. If you can volunteer please email us at

Sincerely, Idaho’s Congressman
Richard Stallings
P.O. Box 154
Pocatello, ID 83204

3 thoughts on “It’s official: I’m a Democrat

  1. I’m grateful to my husband for gracefully accepting the role of delegate and following his conscience, as ever, when it came speaking up about the platform wording on climate change. He is a man of conviction, foresight and intelligence. I’m delighted he is putting all of these qualities at the service of Idahoans in this way.

    • Wow! …such a glowing endorsement, and from my wife, yet! Oy vey! Unfortunately, conviction does not necessarily fit one for elected office as demonstrated by my brief term as an elected highway commissioner. Thanks for your support, through it all!

  2. You were ahead of your time as an Ada County Highway District Commissioner, my dear. Thanks to you (and Susan Eastlake), all new major roads must have enough right-of-way for bicycle lanes. I sure wish you were back on that commission NOW, to rectify the mess they are making with bike lanes in downtown Boise!

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