SO, WHAT’S THE REASON FOR ALL THIS RUCKUS?
It is probably no accident I find myself in the crosshairs. The week before the 2017 legislative session, I helped release a new website, Growing Freedom for Idaho, which was created to help citizens keep an eye on what is happening in Idaho legislature and follow who is responsible. This effort coming on the heels of my Engaged Citizen talks I conducted last year around the state, my efforts are seen as yet another challenge to the establishment because it shows citizens how to be informed and become engaged in the political process here in Idaho.
On December 1, 2016, I was in a private conversation with Rep. Judy Boyle at the legislative re-organization meeting in the lounge. In the course of our discussion, I made an indignant comment about House Speaker Bedke arbitrarily pulling me, without cause or explanation, from the committees on which I had served for two years, while another legislator who had been caught in an extramarital affair with another legislator, had been promoted to a committee chairman position. Admittedly, it was a harsh remark and in hindsight, I should not have said it but it seems like leadership would rather discredit the messenger than deal with the message.
This statement has since been taken out of context, repeated, reworded, and disseminated by many in an apparent well-planned effort to escalate tensions and cause controversy.
On January 11th, (41 days later ), I was summoned to a meeting in Speaker Bedke’s office, on the grounds that Rep. Boyle had been offended by the comment I made in December. Rep. Boyle was present and confronted me about my comments. After learning that she had been offended by my comments, I immediately and sincerely apologized to her, letting her know that I had been referring specifically to two other legislators and their appointments. She rebuffed the apology, saying that I should have sensed her anger at the time by her body language. The Speaker and others in the House leadership spent the better part of an hour berating me with their views of my actions. We eventually discussed several paths forward but there was no clear directive given to me in writing to bring this issue to closure. I told them I would think and pray about the matter as to who all I needed to apologize to because I felt uncomfortable apologizing for gossip for something taken out of context.
That night someone in our meeting chose to leak to the media the headlines “Representative Heather Scott faces possible sanctions for saying House members advance through sexual favors.”
Also on January 11, Representative Christy Perry shared a letter she wrote to the House leadership with the media that viciously attacked my character. The letter can be viewed here: [Click Here to View Christy Perry’s Letter] My public response to this hurtful slanderous letter by Rep. Perry to the Speaker:
A letter to Speaker Bedke by Rep. Perry, full of innuendos, baseless accusations, and slander, which should have remained confidential, was provided to the press by Ms. Perry on 1/11/17. It amounts to a character assassination and seems designed to malign my reputation, marginalize my effect on legislation, cause fellow legislators to shun me, and depict herself as some sort of victim, presumably to draw attention away from her personal moral and ethical issues which came to the public’s and the legislature’s attention last summer. Rep. Perry seems to be incensed to the point of hysteria by many purported issues concerning me but has never contacted me about any of them. Among them are her versions of behavior diagnoses, her professed fear for her physical safety, and her objection to the many Engaged Citizen talks I have given around the state. She also makes reference to my “damaging historical state property” in 2015.
Rep. Perry’s caustic statements appear designed to cause maximum upheaval in the House, to divide the legislature, and cast suspicion and derision on anyone speaking truth to power and thereby challenging the status quo.
On January 12, Speaker Bedke, before giving me fair opportunity to fulfill his vaguely suggested remediation steps and without due process, stripped me of all my committee assignments, an action for which there is no appeal. It had the effect of preventing my influence or vote on any legislation before those committees, which is the crucial point whether a bill dies or goes forward to a vote on the House floor. I am therefore deprived of an important function to serve my constituents and can only vote on the House floor. His actions are unprecedented and have never been administered to this degree in the history of the state of Idaho.
On January 16, I was deeply gratified when five legislative House colleagues courageously stood up against Speaker Bedke’s abuse of power and requested that Speaker Bedke remove them from their respective assignments until we were all equally represented on committees. He refused. Idaho Statesman Article
MY RESPONSE TO THE LEGISLATORS STANDING UP FOR ME ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:
Standing on truth and principle is hard and at times scary. It is easy to stand with the crowd; it takes courage to stand alone. The support of citizens and legislators from across the state and country has been humbling! Thank you so much.
The shut up-and-comply pressure from the establishment has been intense.
The five legislators who stood up on the house floor and asked the Speaker to return me to my committees so my citizens will be properly represented are COURAGEOUS. Others have privately supported, but are in fear of receiving perceived consequences. Thank you to Representatives Dorothy Moon, Christy Zito, Ron Nate, Priscilla Giddings, and Kerry Hanks. Please thank these Liberty Legislators and show them the support that you have shown me. THANK YOU!
Although I apologized to individual legislators who may have overheard my comments from December 1, on January 19th, I made an official apology within my caucus meeting to everyone in an effort to move forward and bring closure. Here is the link to my official apology.
The Speaker’s response to my individual and public apologies was null. You can view his 30-minute video response on Idaho Public Television here:
The majority of the public has accepted my formal apology and the huge outpouring of support has been humbling. Thank You, we all make mistakes, and I thank you for accepting my sincere apology. Here is the first batch of my legislative email letters concerning Speaker Bedke’s actions I wanted to share. I have highlighted some parts. [Click here to view my collection of email letters]
There is a transition of power from top-down government back to the people occurring throughout our country. This will be a painful transition for old school, establishment politicians who I believe are out of touch with today’s generation. This incident should show Speaker Bedke and others they are not all powerful and that the people have the power. Hundreds and thousands are rallying a grass roots movement against unjust government actions similar to this across the country.
The Speaker doesn’t want reconciliation but apparently wants to silence the voice of the citizens and liberty minded legislators. I didn’t go to Boise to conform to the current business as usual. I went to Boise to pass legitimate legislation and promote liberty principles. Exposing corruption seems to go hand in hand with these principles. Just because the establishment doesn’t like my style, doesn’t mean my views and the voices of the citizens should be silenced.
The same politics President Trump talked about in his State of the Union Address are the same politics I believe in and what I stand for and what Idahoans need to stand for.
I too am tired of politicians that make excuses, complain and refuse to act or act corrupt.
Eventually, evil loses! This issue is no longer about what I said, it is about what I stand for: Integrity in Government.
On Friday, January 27, 2017, I stood before the full House floor and asked the Speaker to be reinstated to my committee positions believing I had fulfilled leadership’s apology requests. I was denied and for reasons only known to leadership, my numerous apologies have not been good enough to meet whatever moving random standard they see fit to develop. Each attempt has been rebuffed, pooh-poohed, or dismissed as not sincere enough. We all know the effectiveness and sincerity of apologies are virtually eliminated when the person who is apologizing is forced to grovel. In a final effort to bring closure to this issue, I have agreed to one final apology to a specific group within the House at the request of leadership. I welcome the chance to clear the air with this group and I look forward to House leadership honoring its commitment to me to return me to my committees by February 1st and end any further punishments against me related to this issue.
After a 20-day moratorium, Speaker Bedke decided to reinstate me back to my assigned committees and restore full representation of District 1 on Wednesday, Feb 1st. This decision has been a long time coming and is good news for my district and the people throughout Idaho who believe in a republic form of government. Considering the fact that punitive actions to this extent have never been taken against a legislator in the State of Idaho, I believe this situation has highlighted the overreaching authority of the Speaker of the House, Representative Scott Bedke of District 27. The unprofessional manner in which this entire situation was handled reveals that there is room for improvement in communication, mutual respect and leadership inside the Idaho House of Representatives. I believe Mr. Bedke’s recent statement to the newspaper is a bit disingenuous considering that he refers to my statements “and actions”.
To this day, he has still not completely told me why I was removed from my committees and he allowed the situation to escalate for unknown reasons. My many apologies never seemed to be good enough to please Speaker Bedke, so I opted for a public apology weeks ago. When that wasn’t enough, I was assured that one last apology to a small group two days ago would be the final requirement. I believe this situation may have been used as a political distraction from bigger political issues, but time will tell. That said, I will continue to work hard to represent the people of District 1. I will remain positive and will continue to be a strong defender of the First Amendment — no voice or opinion should be silenced.
Throughout the constant vicious attacks, I have continued to watch or attend committee meetings and keep my constituents up to date with newsletters.
I have also tried to get the message out through radio and a few interviews.
I appreciate your support and your diligent efforts to be informed citizens.