Since I started my time as chairwoman of the Idaho Republican Party, I’ve put a lot of miles on my rig. I’ve crisscrossed the state to attend Lincoln Days, county GOP meetings, and community events.
I’ve also had the opportunity to travel out-of-state for Republican National Committee events. Just last week, I traveled to Oklahoma for the RNC’s spring training.
Like many people in Idaho, I’m loathe to leave our beautiful home — even if just for a few days. But the travel I’m required to do to strengthen our Idaho GOP, like the miles I’ve added in traveling our state, has carried with it a surprising joy.
At the RNC meetings, I’ve met and come to know Republicans from all walks of life, representing a real range of perspectives. In our discussions and deliberations, it’s become clear that ours is truly a Big Tent movement and that the fight to protect American jobs, honor the history of the framers and our founding documents, and defend our fundamental liberties is shared by Republicans from across the country.
I’ve learned from Republican leaders in Nebraska about their fight to protect the principles of their state party while growing their presence in areas of their state where Republicans are a historical minority.
And I’ve learned from Republican leaders in Iowa about how they’ve come to build an organization that deploys the skills and talents of the grassroots, rather than just relying on paid consultants or hired political mercenaries.
The RNC meetings are a good stress test for the initiatives and strategies we are using here in Idaho to grow the party and articulate a message that resonates with working men and women. We are proud of our collaboration with the RNC—especially considering that, over the past ten months, the Idaho GOP continues to exceed all metrics for growth and outreach.
But all of this pales alongside the opportunity to work and learn from men and women who have dedicated a good portion of their professional lives toward ensuring our nation remains a free and prosperous republic. That’s been a real joy and a surprising gift that I’ve gained from my experience as Idaho GOP chair. As Republicans of all perspectives turn their eyes toward a presidential nomination process, I hope that this surprising joy can inform and inspire our work here in Idaho: to unify the party, empower the grassroots to bring the message of economic and personal freedom to all who are willing to listen and save our republic. The next few months will give us much to debate and to discuss. But our party — from Iowa to New Hampshire — is the best forum for such deliberations. And that should be a source of surprising joy for all Republicans.