Senator Brian Lenney in committee during 2023 Legislative Session

Conservative Senator Punished by Republican Pro Temp Chuck Winder

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BOISE, IDAHO – Idaho Senator Leader, Chuck Winder, is wielding his authority to strip conservative Republican Senators from their leadership positions.

Senator Brian Lenney, serving Idaho’s Legislative District 13 in Nampa, Idaho, received a letter in his senate email from Winder, which stated he had been removed from his Vice-Chair position on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee.

“I haven’t had a conversation with Senator Winder in over seven months, and without warning, or detailed reasoning, this news lands in my inbox,” Lenney stated in reference to Winder’s emailed letter.

“Let’s be clear, Senator Winder is neither my boss, nor my dad,” Lenney responded. He further emphasized, “I serve the people, not Senator Winder. I remain committed to standing up for conservative principles, and opposing any power play that seeks to silence, and control me, or my votes in the Senate.”

Earlier this week, it was made public that Winder first stripped Senator Glenneda Zuiderveld, who serves the people of Idaho’s Legislative District 24 in Twin Falls, Idaho, of her Vice-Chair position on the Health and Welfare Committee.

“Regardless of what actions the leadership takes, I do not work for them; I work for the people. I will not allow intimidation to silence me,” Zuiderveld stated in an announcement from the Idaho Freedom Caucus on November 13, 2023.

Winder has not yet responded to Kootenai Journal inquiries concerning his actions to remove Lenney and Zuiderveld from their roles as Vice-Chairs on Senate committees. Lenney and Zuiderveld are both members of the Idaho Freedom Caucus, which was established after a group of junior Senators replaced more liberal Republicans in the 2022 Election cycle.

Senators from all over Idaho have been in Boise for pre-legislative meetings this month, preparing for the First Regular Session of the Sixty-eighth Idaho Legislature, which convenes on Monday, January 8, 2024.