Op-Ed: Chuck Winder is Abusing his ‘Power’ to Squash Dissent

Op-Ed by Kent Marmon

A few days ago, Senate Pro Tempore Chuck Winder wielded his “power” in two letters. One to Senator Scott Herndon and one to Senator Glenneda Zuiderveld. In each letter he demanded that they apologize for saying things about their fellow legislators – to “respect the legislative process.” What Herndon and Zuiderveld said was truthful, but Winder didn’t like it.

This is the same Chuck Winder who called members of the Idaho State House of Representatives “purveyors or craziness and mischief.” He also told the Idaho Capital Sun in March of 2022 that, “There are a lot of bills, more so than normal, that are in drawers on our side of the building. I think most of them will stay there, so I don’t think you’ll see some of the craziness that the House seems to like to do get very far in the Senate.”

Two of the bills he was talking about were passed by the House in 2022. One was H666, a bill that would require librarians to move books defined in Idaho law as pornographic and/or obscene from children’s sections of public and school libraries. The other, H675, forbade hormonal therapy or gender reassignment in children.

Of the Library bill, Winder said, “I assigned it to (Senate) State Affairs for a good reason, so hopefully it will go there. We’ll talk to our caucus about it, we’ll make sure they’re aware of what the options are, but I don’t think it advances.”

As you might remember, Senate State Affairs was under the chairmanship of former Senator Patti Anne Lodge, who was famous for shoving a lot of bills “in the drawer” at the behest of “leadership” so the bills could not receive testimony or debate on the floor of the Senate, even though the House had passed them.




Bills that got shoved into Patty Anne Lodge’s drawer included:

  • House Bill 439: Changing the deadline for unaffiliated voters to affiliate with a party by the candidate’s filing deadline.
  • House Bill 475: Removing a section of Idaho Code that makes it illegal for groups to parade on streets with firearms. Opponents say the bill would open the door to private militias in Idaho.
  • House Bill 531: Requiring approval from the Idaho Historical Society before a division of state or local government can permanently remove historical monuments or memorials.
  • House Bill 547: Making it a misdemeanor to turn in absentee ballots for any person who is not a relative or roommate.
  • House Bill 631: Prohibiting the state of Idaho and any of its political subdivisions from mandating the use of face masks, face shields or other face coverings for the purpose of preventing or slowing the spread of a contagious disease.
  • House Bill 665: Removing the Idaho attorney general as a member of the Idaho Constitutional Defense Council.

So, we continue to have state-defined pornography and obscenity on open display in libraries and available to our minor children for check-out.

The “craziness and mischief” of the House spilled over into the Senate in 2023, because a library bill to restrict access to such books did make it through both the House and Senate in 2023. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by the Governor and failed an override in the House by one vote.

So much for protecting the innocence of our children, but apparently, that was too close for comfort and Chuck Winder and his IACI “handlers” don’t like that.

In fact, they (Winder and company along with special interest groups like IACI) are no doubt feeling attacked and are downright scared of the people in Idaho who elected both Scott Herndon, Glenneda Zuiderveld, and other liberty conservative Republicans to represent the best interests of the people in the Idaho Legislature.

Winder is using the power of his office (Senate Pro Tempore) to go after his political rivals – even going so far as to remove Senator Zuiderveld from her Vice Chairmanship of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for doing nothing less than educating her constituents about what’s really going on, instead of working for “leadership” – or for the many special interest groups like IACI who believe it’s they who should control the actions of state government..

It could even be said that Winder is being a hypocrite. A year ago he said State Representatives were being crazy and mischievous, yet now he’s telling both Herndon and Zuiderveld that they should never speak ill of any of their fellow Legislators.

Of the letter from Winder and her removal as Vice Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Senator Zuiderveld says, “Regardless of what actions the leadership takes, I do not work for them; I work for you, the people. I will not allow intimidation to silence me. I would rather be persecuted by man for speaking the truth, than judged by God for staying silent.”

Hooray for her!

These two Senators are under attack by leftists who want to continue to grow government, trample on your rights, raise your taxes, create new government (Socialist) programs, and restrict your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The list goes on and on.

There are other Senators who speak out against things Chuck Winder wants, but he doesn’t need to send threatening, intimidating letters to all of them. Political Action Committees friendly to Brad Little and his IACI friends can do that. One of these PACs recently attacked Senators Chris Trakel, Brian Lenney, and Tammy Nichols, saying that they were trying to turn Idaho into San Francisco. This was done though a “hit piece” put out by “Idaho Liberty PAC” – a deceptively named PAC that receives funds from other PACs and organizations through what amounts to money-laundering scheme.

The so-called “Idaho Liberty PAC” spent nearly $50,000 on hit piece literature and paid people to distribute it door-to-door in these three Senators’ districts! The content of the hit pieces distorted the voting records of the Senators so badly it would be well within anyone’s rights to say they were full of lies.

These politicians who place R’s after their names but vote like Leftists are desperate, my friends! Many affiliate with the new “Main Street Caucus,” who claim the conservative label but will do anything to cover-up their truly “crazy and mischievous” activities to mislead you into believing that they are the “good guys.”

The five Senators I’ve mentioned who are being attacked are actually listening to and working hard for YOU –  the people of the State of Idaho. They openly state they do not work for IACI, special interest groups, or political action committees. Like any other animal acts when their survival is threatened, swamp creatures in the Idaho legislature will attack.  And that’s what you’re seeing in Chuck Winder’s threatening letters.

The only special interest that anyone serving in our legislature should represent is YOU.


Editor’s note: Kent Marmon is a candidate for Idaho House Seat 11-A.

The views and opinions expressed by contributors to True Idaho News do not necessarily reflect those of Shadowtrail Media, LLC, its founders, or owners.