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Posts tagged: Norm Semanko

Trillhaase: R’s Debate ‘Weirdest’ Stuff

JEERS … to Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko. Last week, his party's central committee met in Boise and debated some of the weirdest stuff imaginable — declaring the courting of foreign investment to Idaho “subversive,” demanding the firing of any university president who resists arming college students with concealed guns or labeling Idaho “the Free-Market State.” So what happened? For some reason, Semanko's GOP website won't tell you. But we will. Foreign investment is safe. The guns on campus measure failed. Free-Market State? That passed/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Do you have a cheer or jeer to give to an elected official this fine Friday the 13th?

Ambitious Semanko Loses In Eagle

Despite a stern anti-incumbent mood nationally, two West Ada County mayors easily survived rigorous attempts to paint them as spendthrifts in troubled times. Two-term Mayor Tammy de Weerd in Meridian parried attacks from former GOP Sen. Gerry Sweet that she was more interested in building a Taj MaCityHall than boosting the local economy. Eagle Mayor Jim Reynolds, challenged by a sophisticated opponent in lobbyist and City Councilman Norm Semanko, faced allegations of misspending $990 from the coffee fund. At 72, Reynolds appeared avuncular and kind, in contrast to the raw ambition of Semanko, 44-year-old Idaho Republican Party chair and a losing candidate for Congress in 2006/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Shouldn't the head of the Idaho Republican Party be able to win a mayor's race in Eagle?

Jeers — To Semanko & GOP Cronyism

Jeers … to Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko. For the poor schmucks who buy his malarkey, Semanko is all about getting “back to the basics; less government intrusion in our lives, more personal responsibilities and individual rights.” When your back is turned, Semanko is busy gobbling up your taxes. It's not enough that the Idaho Water Users Association - a nonprofit group that draws some of its money from cities, irrigation districts and water districts - pays Semanko $160,000 a year to serve as its executive director. The nonprofit also holds a loan on his Boise home. It started out as bridge loan for $136,000 a decade ago. Since then, Semanko borrowed another $40,000 and today he owes $161,305. Even in Idaho - which is becoming accustomed, if not downright desensitized, to the muck of Republican cronyism - this cozy arrangement reeks of self-dealing/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More Cheers & Jeers to come.

Question: Why do Idahoans put up with this nonsense?

Edit: Semanko Loan Questionable

The large and lingering loans Norm Semanko owe to his employer are legal. But when that’s the best that can be said about the practice, you’ve got problems. Semanko’s employer — the nonprofit and taxpayer-supported Idaho Water Users Association — should not be financing mortgages and home improvement projects for Semanko, its executive director. It’s an inappropriate way to spend the taxpayers’ money. And it’s a practice that is increasingly falling out of favor. Publicly traded companies can no longer bankroll executive loans, under a 2002 federal law passed in response to the Enron scandal. Other states have extended this ban to include nonprofit organizations, an example Idaho should follow. To be fair to the water users association and Semanko, their loan arrangement predates the regulatory-reform movement/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you make of Semanko's explanations for this loan?

Water Users Play Bank For Semanko

The nonprofit Idaho Water Users Association, partially supported by taxpayers, listed its assets last year as $453,906. More than one-third of that amount is money its executive director, Norm Semanko, owes the organization. “This isn’t a new thing,” said Semanko of the loan, which was made a decade ago. The money Idaho Water Users loaned Semanko — $136,000 in 2001 and an additional $40,000 in 2007 — was used for a downpayment on a home and to make home improvements, among other things, Semanko said. The loan is entirely legal, said Semanko, an attorney. True, but the practice is illegal in New York, Tennessee, Illinois and other states. After Enron and other accounting scandals a decade ago, the practice of making loans to directors or executives was outlawed nationwide for publicly traded companies and strongly discouraged for nonprofit organizations/Cynthia Sewell, Statesman. More here.

Question: Does this pass the smell test?

Richert: Semanko Full Of Baloney

There’s no point in letting the corpse cool. At 5 p.m. Tuesday, a bipartisan citizens’ commission hit its final deadline, with no plan in hand to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative districts. At 5:53 p.m., Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko issued a statement kicking the dead body — and declaring the redistricting process a waste of public money. You see, Semanko isn’t worried about getting fellow Republicans elected. Perish the thought. He’s worried about you and your taxpayer dollars. What a guy? No. What a crock/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you want the Idaho Redistricting Commission to have more Republicans than Democrats, as GOPoobah Norm Semanko suggests?

Semanko Hails Recall Luna Failure

Chairman Norm Semanko, of Idaho Republican Party, issued a statement re: failure of Recall Luna drive, which reads in part: “This is a huge blow to the anti-education reform establishment.  The Union leadership’s efforts to use scare tactics and spread misinformation in order to maintain the status quo and to place Union interests ahead of the true recipients of public education, the students, have failed in Idaho.  This confirms that the will of the people was made known in the 2010 elections, a year that proved most successful for the candidates of the Idaho Republican Party.” (H/T: Idaho Conservative Blogger, more here)

Question: Is the Idaho Education Association a legitimate target for Semanko's comment since it didn't take part in the Recall Luna effort?

Bill Sali Beat ‘Em Both

At a congressional forum in 2006 in Post Falls (from left): Robert Vasquez, Sheila Sorensen, Norm Semanko, Bill Sali, Dave Olson, Cecil Kelly, Keith Johnson, Andy Hedden-Nicely and Skip Brandt. Larry Grant missed to forum. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Idaho's current Democratic and Republican party chairmen shared a stage for the first time today at the Boise City Club, and some sparks did fly. The two started off with a shared experience: “We both lost to Bill Sali in 2006,” said GOP Chairman Norm Semanko, who lost to Sali in the 1st District GOP primary that year, while current Democratic Chairman Larry Grant fell to Sali in the general election.  “Norm and I did both lose,” Grant said, “and you might conclude from that that the penalty for losing a congressional race is to become the chairman of the party”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Who would win a WWF cage match between Norm Semanko and Larry Grant?

Semanko Joins Luna Blame Game

Idaho Republican Party State Chairman Norm Semanko, pictured, issued the following statement in response to the recent incidents of harassment toward Superintendent Luna: “This is what happens when you step out and fight against the status quo.  As Idahoans we cannot let these scare tactics win,” said Semanko.   “The Students Come First plan has obviously touched a nerve and rightly so. We know the opposition’s rhetoric and misinformation has gotten us to this point today, and we cannot let these hostile tactics win in the end.  We must do what’s right for Idaho students”/AP, via Betsy Russell's Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Is it just me or is Luna, with gale wind help from Gov. Butch Otter and GOP chairman Norm Semanko, trying to make himself out to be the victim here? Gracious, I once had all four tires of my car slashed at Flathead High in Kalispell, Mont., during a barbershop quartet concert. Now I wonder if you the school union thugs from the Flathead Valley were mad at something I'd written.

Semanko: Idaho D’s Left Of Obama

In a statement issued in defense of Superintendent Tom Luna's reform plan for public education, state GOP chairman Norm Semanko wrote, in part: “On Friday, the Idaho Democratic Party came out against Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna’s plan asking, “why should any parent, student or voter put the slightest faith in any idea proffered by the architect of such failure?” and saying the plan may include “ ’new’ ideas but they certainly are not good ideas.” Sherri Wood, the head of the teacher’s union, called the plan “draconian.” Sadly, the Idaho Democratic Party, which once succeeded in electing individuals to statewide office, has withered away into a wholly owned subsidiary of the teacher’s union. The party is so out of touch, and so beholden to the teacher’s union bosses, that it now sits well to the left of President Barack Obama on education issues. More here. H/T: Kevin Richert.

Question: Do you think the Idaho Democratic Party “sits well to the left of President Barack Obama on education issues”?

Semanko Named RNC Counsel

Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko has been appointed as general counsel for the Republican National Committee, according to RNC chairman Michael Steele. In a news release, Steele said: “I am delighted to have someone with not only the legal and political acumen that Norm possesses, but also someone who has invaluable experience serving as a state party chairman and member of RNC Budget Committee. His exceptional qualifications will ensure the committee’s sound legal footing and make sure that the resources are in place to continue to build on this year’s historic elections.” The RNC General Counsel is a volunteer, unpaid position. Full release here.

Question: Do you support this appointment?

‘Fire Pelosi’ Bus Rolls Into Caldwell

Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party Norm Semanko leads the GOP candidates off the “Fire Pelosi” bus as U.S. representative candidate Raul Labrador follows behind Saturday morning at the Canyon County Republican headquarters in Caldwell, Idaho. (AP Photo/The Idaho Press-Tribune, Mike Vogt)

Question: How well does the “Fire Pelosi” bus gimmick work in Idaho?

AM: Semanko, Labrador, & ‘Fire Pelosi’

The “Fire Pelosi” bus turns the corner in front of the Canyon County Republican Party headquarters Saturday, October 9, 2010 at the Canyon County Republican headquarters in Caldwell. More here. (AP Photo/The Idaho Press-Tribune, Mike Vogt)

Semanko Wins Debate Spin Contest

Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko used 408 words to tout the success of Gov. Butch Otter in Thursday’s debate with Democrat Keith Allred, the first of four between the pair. Asked whether he wanted to reply, Allred spokesman Shea Andersen managed only 64 words of praise. In this case, at least, the Democrat proved more economical/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you have a reaction to the governor debate in Idaho Falls Thursday?

Idaho Blogs: Idaho R’s Strike Back

The political war of words between the state’s top party leaders continues today, with Norm Semanko, Idaho Republican Party chairman, issuing a statement sharply critical of Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Keith Roark’s guest opinion last week, which was entitled, “You Have Been Invited to Leave the Idaho GOP” and derided the “fringe element now running the Idaho Republican Party,” saying Idaho voters are “tired of one party rule and your loyalty oaths.” Semanko called Roark’s statement “sad” and an “attempt to mislead Idahoans and spread falsehoods about what took place at the Idaho Republican Party State Convention in Idaho Falls when he wasn’t even there”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. (Also: Semanko paints Dems as party with loyalty requirement/Brad Iverson-Long, IReporter)

Question: Do you think Idaho Democrats have an informal loyalty oath (as Semanko claims in the Idaho Reporter link above)?

Semanko Blasts Obama, Minnick

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko had harsh words for President Barack Obama for the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to sue Arizona over new laws designed to stop illegal immigration. He also levied criticism at Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick, who also opposes the federal government’s lawsuit. “It is a signal of the madness infecting the Obama administration and the Democrat-run Congress that instead of spending more money fighting the known crisis that is illegal immigration, it is squandering precious tax dollars in court fighting a state trying to do something about the problem,” Semanko said in a news release/Brad Iverson-Long, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you support or oppose the suit filed by the federal government in an attempt to stop Arizona from enforcing its new immigration laws?

Semanko Applauds GOP Convention

As the party of ideas, we are not afraid of having these discussions, and we hold our Convention deliberations under the full scrutiny of the media. Contrast that with the Democrats who just a few weeks ago banned the press from attending their platform discussions. As the party that is saddled with the crippling agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, it is understandable why they wouldn’t want Idahoans to hear their discussions. Staying faithful to their liberal allies in Washington, D.C., Democrat state legislators have openly spoken in favor of tax increases during the current recession and have also voted against the Health Freedom Act, thereby aligning themselves with the eventual federal takeover of our health care system/Norm Semanko, Idaho GOP chairman, via Idaho Conservative Blogger. More here.

Question: Are you as impressed with the Idaho GOP convention as party chairman Norm Semanko is?

GOP OKs Semanko For 2nd Term

When Norm Semanko was elected as chairman of the Idaho Republican Party in 2008, a deep division was created within party membership. The divide may have been closed Saturday as Semanko was unanimously re-elected to the post. Semanko faced no opposition in his re-election bid, even though delegates from each county in the state had the opportunity to nominate someone of its own choosing. Delegates had only good things to say about Semanko, who some referred to as a person who has bridged the divide between those who supported him in 2008 and those who supported former chairman Kirk Sullivan/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Has state GOP chairman Norm Semanko brought together the factions of the Idaho Republican Party? Or have the Tea Party/Libertarian/Rally Right elements united after they drove off the moderates?

GOP Chairman Wants Your Input

Dear Friend, As Chairman of the Idaho Republican Party, I need your help. The Idaho Republican Central Committee and I realize that we can always improve how we listen to our supporters, how we communicate our message to all Idaho Republicans and how we put our resources to work as we serve Idaho. We are here to reaffirm our Party’s core values; and we are looking for your input in ways to enhance those values. We want to ensure that we understand which are the most critical changes needed in our Party. We also want your ideas for the most necessary changes required to promote responsible government/GOP Chairman Norm Semanko, in e-mail to Idaho Press-Tribune newsroom. More here. H/T: Editor Vickie Holbrook.

Question: Is Semanko jumping at shadows here? Obviously, the Idaho Republican Party continues to dominate state politics. What do you consider to be the party’s strengths? Weaknesses?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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