By Wayne Hoffman
Rep. Kelley Packer’s recent unprovoked attack on the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation shocked many. More disturbing, however, has been her decision to continue misleading her constituents about IFF — and her voting record.
Packer is entitled to her opinions, but she owes it to the people in her district to be straight with the facts. Let’s start with a recent message I delivered via phone to Packer’s constituents. My message said, Packer “voted to increase your taxes. Kelley Packer voted for corporate cronyism. She voted to regulate bake sales. She even sponsored a bill to license sign language interpreters. Rep. Kelley Packer voted to implement Obamacare in Idaho and says she’d do it again if she could.”
On Facebook Packer responded to my phone message. She wrote, “Nothing in this 45 second report is accurate or factual … it’s just his interpretation of what should and shouldn’t be.”
Former president John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things.” And it’s a stubborn and undeniable fact that Packer voted for all of the things my message highlighted. Let’s review her Republican-in-name-only (Rino) actions, as outlined in my phone message.
Packer has voted to increase taxes for all Idahoans. In 2015, she joined with Democrats and moderate Republicans to support House Bill 312, which increased gas taxes and vehicle registration fees.
She has voted for corporate cronyism. In 2014 she supported House Bill 546, the result of which is: Giving millions of tax dollars to politically-connected big businesses at the expense of smaller entrepreneurs and established Idaho businesses. Not to mention at the expense of every-day working people who paid those taxes.
In 2015 she voted to regulate bake sales. Bake sales. Had House Bill 187 passed, people would have had to register their home kitchens with state officials if they wanted to supply cakes and pies for events.
Packer was the lead sponsor of 2015’s House Bill 152, which would have required sign language interpreters to get a government license in order to work in Idaho. Thankfully, Gov. Butch Otter vetoed the measure.
In 2013, Packer voted for the state insurance exchange, a major component of Obamacare. She has since voiced support for Medicaid expansion, another facet of Obamacare. As concerns Medicaid expansion, Packer said, she’d vote for it if given the opportunity.
Let the record show, all IFF has done is lay out these and other truths; Packer could have simply explained her positions. She could have been honest with her constituents, with all Idahoans. Instead, she distorted, she denied, she created strawman arguments, she lied.
Parker goes further. She wrongly attacks IFF with an assertion that we’re breaking the law by lobbying, advocating, and educating on behalf of Idaho taxpayers. In brief, no, we’re not.
Why is Packer angry with the Idaho Freedom Foundation? She’s upset because we monitor what lawmakers do — not just what they say. Packer wants her constituents to believe she’s fighting against Big Government in Boise. But, she’s not. Let’s be frank: Believing something to be true is not the same as it being true. Parker’s a vehicle for special interests who want higher taxes, more regulations, and special favors.The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s policy research, watchdog work, and Freedom Index scorecard hurts Parker’s personal narrative. In truth, she’s just another Big Government Rino Republican who’s counting on the good people of District 28 to be in the dark about her liberal voting record.
Wayne Hoffman is president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.