NAMPA, Idaho – The Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has dropped the state’s Republican lieutenant governor from the list of speakers for a women entrepreneurs’ conference.
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is no longer speaking at the conference next month after the chamber board voted to modify the conference agenda to align it with the organization’s mission, chamber CEO and President Diane Bevan told the Idaho Press .
“It is our position to not support or create any event that may be perceived by our members or sponsors to have any political bias of any kind,” Bevan said in a statement.
The outgoing and incoming chamber board presidents had met with McGeachin earlier this month, according to the lieutenant governor’s office. Following that meeting, members of the chamber’s executive committee told McGeachin the board had decided to remove her from the conference after “consideration and deliberation.”
“I was disappointed with their decision,” McGeachin said in a statement. “However, I will continue to work with members of the Hispanic community to improve educational opportunities and business development.”
McGeachin faced backlash last month after she posted on Facebook a photo of herself with members of an anti-government group. The later-deleted post showed her with supporters of Todd Engel, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison last summer for his role in a 2014 standoff near the Nevada ranch of anti-government activist Cliven Bundy.
The two unidentified men in the photo are dressed in orange prison outfits with the name ENGEL across their chests, and they’re flashing hand signs indicating an association with the III Percenters, considered an anti-government group.
McGeachin in the post appears to make a heart sign, adding the caption, “Sending love to Todd Engel from the Idaho Capitol …”
“Throughout my public service, business career, and my personal life, I’ve always treated everyone with respect and dignity,” McGeachin said in a statement in response to the post. “Once I discovered that a few people had begun erroneously assigning sinister motives which are contrary to my true character, I immediately deleted the post.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.