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State Senator removed from vice chair role over newsletter

Idaho Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Winder
Posted at 10:05 PM, Nov 13, 2023

President Pro Tempore of the Idaho Senate Chuck Winder has removed Senator Glenneda Zuiderveld (Twin Falls, ID) from her position as vice chair of the Health and Welfare Committee following the release of a controversial newsletter.

Senator Zuiderveld's Oct. 29th post on her Substack details increases in Idaho's spending, framing the People of Idaho as 'David' and the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry as 'Goliath'. In the article, Senator Zuiderveld calls for people to examine the IACI scorecards of Idaho Senators to identify who stands for Idahoans and who "might further the interests of global corporations."

State Senator Scott Herndon (Sagle, ID) was also contacted by Senator Winder about a similar post on his website, which was critical of state spending and of other senators.

Senator Winder sent letters to the two senators condemning their critiques of their colleagues. "As President Pro Tempore, I have a duty to protect the integrity of the legislative process and members of the Senate who are unfairly attacked," Senator Winder wrote in his letter to Senator Zuiderveld. "When such integrity is threatened, I may exercise my authority to remove Chairs and Vice Chairs who fail to conduct themselves in a manner expected of an elected official."

Senator Winder did not pursue a formal ethics complaint against the senators but claims that if the misconduct continues, he will be left with no choice.

Both senators are members of the Idaho Freedom Caucus, a conservative organization dedicated to "safeguarding the freedoms and liberty of Idahoans." In a press release responding to Senator Winder's letters, the IFC explained that they view Senator Winder's actions as a coercive effort to impose conformity in Idaho's Senate.

In response to Winder's letters Senator Herndon claimed, "This is a direct attack by one senator to erode our ability to serve the people of Idaho who elected us. Our duty is to inform and give voice to the people of our districts, not to amplify the views of Senator Winder. His hostile comments, which are factually inaccurate, are degrading and disparaging.”

Senator Zuiderveld commented, "Regardless of what actions the leadership takes, I do not work for them; I work for the people. I will not allow intimidation to silence me.”