A Talk with Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Volunteer Coordinator
The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Volunteer Coordinator visits with Idaho Speaks and discusses issues important to Idahoans. Steve Vanzeveren shares information on how to get involved with the Republican Party and get your voice heard on issues important to you and your community.
Web Address for KCRCC: kootenaigop.org
This episode was supported in part by Zenith Exhibits Studios. Visit www.zenithexhibits.studio to learn more about how Zenith Exhibits Studios is helping Kootenai County and Conservative Issues.
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Ed Bejarana 0:06
Welcome to Idaho speaks a censor free zone for conservative ideas. With big tech and mainstream media fighting to silence conservatives. I decided to create a communication channel devoted to issues important to Idahoans conservative Idahoans. I’m not ashamed of my conservative beliefs and I know you are not either tune in each week to hear local and state issues and hear candidates firsthand speak about how they will represent you. The Idaho voter. Idaho speaks where issues take shape. Welcome to Idaho speaks. I’m Ed and I’ve got in studio with me today. Steve Vanzeveren. He is actually he’s cut you wear multiple hats. With the committee. Well, first off, Steve, thanks for coming in studio today. I appreciate it.
Steve Vanzeveren 0:59
Thanks for having me.
Ed Bejarana 1:00
We’re going to talk about the Cooney County Republican Central Committee now, for many of you listeners out there, you probably don’t even realize that there’s quite an organization involved in political races. There, there really is a body that exists at a county level. And this is all 3000 plus counties throughout America. There’s a republican side, there’s a democrat side, and many counties even have independence and libertarian central committee’s, that their job is to organize local issues, organize people running for office, do door knocking campaigns. One of the primary roles in a central committee, it goes by different acronyms and different names based on different states. But I’ve always known them as PCPs precinct committee people, I guess, here in coatney, Republican Party, we call them precinct committee members. But these are actually these are elected representatives. You go on the ballot, you run for the position, and you’re you’re elected to serve as a precinct committee member. Or at least that’s how it was in Oregon when I’ve served as a precinct committee person. I assume it’s the same here.
Steve Vanzeveren 2:19
Yeah, pretty much.
Ed Bejarana 2:20
So. Steve, his job with the committee is threefold. He’s the volunteer coordinator. He works on the committee to recruit candidates and future precinct committee members. And then he’s also on the public outreach committee. And that’s kind of why we’re here today. Idaho speaks, while not affiliated directly with the Central Committee, this is not a central committee communication channel. This is a private business, my private business, I am partnering with the County Republican Central Committee, because conservatives just don’t have a viable way to get their message heard. We’ve got a natural bias against us when when you say Steve, there’s a natural bias against conservative points of view and a local press.
Steve Vanzeveren 3:13
Ed Bejarana 3:14
Yeah. So Steve, first off, tell us just a little bit about yourself how you got involved in the Central Committee itself. And then we’ll, we’ll kind of take a look at the three different committees that you’re you’re serving on
Steve Vanzeveren 3:25
now. Thanks for having me. We came up here to visit some old friends back in 2012. We loved it. We were in the San Francisco Bay Area, all our lives and it became more and more liberal and wasn’t really what we were looking for. So we came up spent two days went back home and put our 30 day notice in and moved on up. I opened up a restaurant downtown corridor lane for about four or five years. And while I was there, I was kind of blissfully ignorant. I didn’t think about politics. I didn’t think about all these things going on. Just renting my restaurant. I sold that in 2018. And as I kind of re acclimated to the world, I saw things going on that I didn’t like and a city that it turned into the city that I didn’t move to. So I kind of figured I needed to start fighting for it. I had figured everybody else would and it would just be the same as it was. And so I called up a guy who was my wife’s first boss up here, his name is Bjorn hamdeen. And he ends up being pretty high up in the GOP scene here. And I asked what I could do and he said, Hey, we need a delegate for the state. convention. So went down to Boise area and went and saw that process I took my sons down. So they get a witness how government works because they’re not really being taught that here in school. So I pulled the boys out and of school and then I go Got more involved, I started going to the local clubs and getting my picture out. And then I was asked to serve on the Diversity Committee, which is the one we were talking about that locates and vets candidates. After that, I actually ran for office for the Soil and Water Board. And I was not successful, but my two counterparts were successful. And then we also got two people elected to the north Idaho college trustee board, and they, they beat out two longtime liberals. So we’re able to not only get them elected onto that trustee board, but we actually took over the board with a majority. So now we can make sure that things that our values are in line with what what the decisions are making, as far as what curriculums are being chosen, and how they’re spending their money. So recently, was brought to my attention that the volunteer coordinator position was open. And I said, Well, that’s something I’d like to do. So I when life org and did the interview, and and I’ve been tasked with that,
Ed Bejarana 6:11
and congratulations, Here you are. Thank you. So tell me, what does the Volunteer Coordinator do for the kuti County Republican Central Committee?
Steve Vanzeveren 6:20
Well, we’re still trying to figure that out, they just created the position last December, I believe. And so I’ll be the first one to do that. What the kind of vision for the committee is, and after talking with Brent Reagan, who’s our chairman and a couple of other people, our goal is to shift the focus from the national stage and focus on our local area. We’re not worried about the news and all these things, we can’t control that and it’s bent towards a liberal, liberal slant. So we’ve decided to just double triple all our efforts and focus on local races. And also, building a volunteer army. Basically, we want to put a firewall build a firewall around kootenay County, to stop the spread of any, any liberalism or whatever you want to call it that’s coming in. And we want to start taking over the boards and stuff. So we can weed those people out, we want to make it uncomfortable for them to tell anybody that they’re liberal. So then we hope to kind of perfect it, and then export it to other counties and states and nationwide, because I believe, the GOP at the top, you know, in DC, if you look at it, you know, I’ve kind of lost faith in some of the leaders. But Idaho as a whole, if you look at our our GOP, the planks of what Bill, what makes us it’s great, it’s probably one of the best in the country, and then coming down to the county level, and it’s even stronger. So yeah, right now we’re focused on building, I want to get about three to 500 volunteers that I can put in a database and when something comes up, or we need volunteers to typical volunteer stuff is working phone banks, walking the precincts when the election comes up, we take our pamphlets and stuff and go out and talk to each person in that precinct. And let them know, this is you know, who we kind of want would like to see elected. And it’s your choice, but this is who we’re backing, and a lot of people look to the committee’s Democrat and Republican of how to vote. So working the fundraisers, working, the little things we have, I want to drive drive attendance, or volunteers into the local meeting scene, we have a lot of meetings, the packet arm club, the reagan club, john birch society, and I just want to grow those numbers. So we’re out there, and we’re fighting every day.
Ed Bejarana 8:50
So the idea here is they don’t necessarily need to be running for office to get involved. They just need to raise their hand and say, there’s some things that I can do, like, you know, I can bake cookies for cookie sales, or, or I can work a registration table and, and get people into the event and or I’m i’d love the walk, I’d love the exercise, give me a walking list and some handouts, and I’ll go door to door these are all all things that you as the Volunteer Coordinator would be coordinating, collecting the names and contact information of those people who want to get involved, but they don’t necessarily they don’t want to run for office at this point. They just want to be more active in their community, right?
Steve Vanzeveren 9:34
Yes. Now there’s there’s a tons of ways to get involved. If you don’t have the time, we do take donations. That’s always a great way if if you see what I see the problems that are on the horizon, and the kind of decay that has happened to cordyline and hate in these areas so far. And the short eight years I’ve been here. Feel free to do that. If you have time, and you want to get out there and make a difference. Yeah, you will Contact me and we kind of Foleo kind of where where you want to go if you don’t want to walk. Yeah, we have phone banks, we have meetings that people need to sign into. So you’d be at registration. poll workers, there’s always a shortage of poll workers here and Cooney County. It pays doesn’t pay great, but it’s, you know, it’s one of the things that’s your civic duty.
Ed Bejarana 10:21
Sure, you know, how much money the way I look at it. Exactly.
Steve Vanzeveren 10:23
All right. Well, let’s
Ed Bejarana 10:25
talk about the the Diversity Committee, the recruiting of the candidates, and the precinct committee members. Tell us just a little bit. So let me let me lead into this one here. So we’ve got somebody who’s either lived here all their life or moved here recently. And they they don’t want to let Idaho slip from being Idaho. They don’t want to California, Kate, Idaho. They they want Idaho to be Idaho. And they feel like they have the energy to get involved run for office and serve as an elected official. What do they do? How do they get involved? What’s the first step working with the Central Committee?
Steve Vanzeveren 11:08
First step is to contact us I would do some research on the position you are thinking of running for. If you want to be mayor, if you want to city council. I mean, we’re focusing on county level from from mayor, city, county commissioner, down to dog catcher, because every one of those places, decides how they’re going to spend our money, highway district, fire districts, all these things. So you don’t even have to have experience per se in those you just have to be willing to learn and show up for the meetings, which are once or twice a month with what most of those, and you get in there and you learn on the fly. If you have experienced then it’s a great thing if you were a fire chief than fire district would be a great thing for you.
Ed Bejarana 11:53
Well, and let me speak to that a little bit. Because I was a city councilor. And I served on the budget committee, I served on the planning committee, I served in many capacities when I was in Fairview, Oregon, back some of you listening to my voice right now are really happy I left because well, I yield a lot of power. I accomplished everything that I set out to accomplish. And that was the chagrin of the people who wanted to spend more money foolishly, who wanted to limit business activity who wanted to restrict Second Amendment rights. There’s people out there who are actively working to change the political ideology of the arena, so that it meets their liberal orthodoxy. And without good people like you the listener, getting involved, the people that are going to be running for the seats are those who want to take away the conservative values that is traditionally Idaho. So is there a website they can visit? Is there an email address that folks should note, if they are interested in running for office,
Steve Vanzeveren 13:01
definitely, I would go to coatney gop.org. There’s a volunteer tab that will take you to actually a short little survey, asking you what your different preferences are of how you want to get involved, from walking precincts, to phone banks to that type of thing, and you click whatever you want, and it comes straight to me. And then I’ll make contact with you and see what the best time of your best use of your time and talents will be.
Ed Bejarana 13:26
Perfect. Now with regards to public outreach, oh, my goodness, right now we in fact, just before you came into the studio, I had another gentleman, and we were talking a lot about social networking. And the the whole idea of public outreach has just got to have been turned upside down. Since I’m a lot older than you, but you’re not a spring chicken either. I mean, the the the whole process of public outreach is just completely changed. Can you can you talk a little bit about what the public outreach committee goals are, and the processes by which you achieve those goals?
Steve Vanzeveren 14:06
Definitely. Now, this is a newly formed committee, they’ve saw a need. So they’ve kind of filled it. There’ll be five or six of us on that committee. And basically, we’re going to figure out ways to get our message out to the populace how to be able to get it out in real time. So and this kind of ties in with the volunteer thing, where I have a database that I can go, Hey, we have a county wide mask meeting, we need 500 people down there, tell them no, we don’t want that. Or, or whatever. And so, you know, if they only have two or 10 people at their meeting, they kind of feel the need or the ability to do whatever they want. So if we can mass text everybody or email, hey, we need everybody down here. We need to show them you know, and and right now there’s that many people but we’re all kind of fractioned off into Little, everybody’s trying to start their own group and which is great. But I would like them, we need to have one focus. So if we can get everybody in the database, whether whatever group they’re from, and I can let them know, Hey, we need to get down here and take care of this, then all of a sudden we have it, we want to write the editor during, you know, during that election, they have something bad to say about one of our candidates, well, they get a lot of letters from other, you know, from the other side, but we don’t as as conservatives, I think some people are scared to say anything, I think the typical makeup of a conservative is not to complain, is to just go in there and get the job done the best we can to 100% of our ability, and and we take it, now’s the time that we all need to speak up. And we’re going to let them know that we’re not going to take it anymore. So that editor at the local newspaper here is going to get 500 angry letters, you know, the City Council, I had one of the city councilmen say, Well, I haven’t got any letters from people that are against the masks. Well, that’s because we don’t do stuff like that, right? We don’t catch them in the restaurant and, you know, assault them or yell at them. So but now is the time. And I’m not saying we need to assault anybody. But now’s the time that our voice needs to be heard.
Ed Bejarana 16:20
So let me let me kind of synthesize this and see if I’m hitting the mark. Right. So what we really need to do is we need to magnify our voice, as conservatives, we need to organize and move kind of in the same general direction. And that’s what the public outreach committee is trying to do to kind of make sure everybody is rowing there, or in pushing the boat in the same general direction, right?
Steve Vanzeveren 16:47
Yeah, definitely there basically that that guy in the boat you’re talking about with a megaphone from, you know, the 20s, you watch those things and stroke, stroke stroke, that’s, that’s what their function will be. And get to get the message out, get the directions out. And it’s not a point where everybody’s looking at each other going, Well, what are we supposed to do, or I didn’t know we were supposed to go down there.
Ed Bejarana 17:08
Well, and so now let me go ahead and put in a shameless plug. Idaho speaks is also a place where issues and ideas can be shared. And as Steve kind of alluded to, as conservatives, we don’t have the natural tendency to get out there. And, and verbally scrape it up, if you will, with the opposing side. I’m a political activist have been my entire life. And I’ve been to a lot of rallies where, you know, I come home hoarse, and without a voice, because I’ve been screaming it up yuck. And so what we’re talking about here, is there’s other ways to support the endeavor, their sponsors for Idaho speaks, their sponsors for issues, supporting those sponsors, even if it’s silently, just making a donation to them, you’re supporting those people who are out front fighting. So even if you don’t get involved, if you don’t run for office, if you don’t get out on a street corner and, and wave signs or if you don’t work, the registration tables, even if you just write a check for $5 and and donate it to the cause to support those who are out there running for office who are out there, waving signs and going to the meetings, what you’re doing is you’re multiplying their effort, and you’re giving them a sense of validation. That really keeps them going. Let me let me share one story here because when I first got involved in local politics, it was after witnessing a city councilor, literally extort support for an issue from a local business person. And I decided right then and there that I was going to get this person out of office. So I got involved, I found out who was running against her. Her name was Barb Jones, very happy to announce that not only did Barb Jones get surprised by somebody else running against her, but we beat the hell out of her. We got her thrown out of office. And I was proud of that. And the candidate who I supported, his name’s Ken later confided in me. He said, Ed, you know, seeing you out there fighting for me, seeing you in the community, raising your voice and bringing up the issues, gave me strength to continue on. Steve, you ran for office, you know how lonely it is. When you’re out there beating on doors, and trying to get people to support you. You’ve got the weight of the world on you, and sometimes that $5 check to help support them is all that is needed to get them emotionally over the hurdles that they’re struggling with. We’re not looking to get the next president to the United States elected, we’re looking to get the next school board, the next county commissioner, or the next city councilor elected, because that that’s the farm League, if you will, the, that’s the pool of candidates that run for state office and then run for national office. And if we don’t get good people in those seats right now, right here, then we don’t have a chance for the future.
Steve Vanzeveren 20:39
Now as totally correct, we’re building a foundation, you build a house on a faulty Foundation, it’s just going to collapse. And like you said, those people we build the foundation, they bloom into some type of a, I don’t like to call them politicians, but statesmen that move on to higher offices. And like you said, whatever you can do, that’s your voice. And right now, there’s so many people hurting after all this, and their voices aren’t being heard in Washington, even from our own people, like Mitch McConnell, all these people, Mitt Romney, they just don’t hear it. Because there’s no way that we know, all these people have the same ideas we are and then we see them go counter to what we want. We need to start holding our local politicians, all of them accountable. Whether it’s primary in them, a lot of them run unopposed, which means we can run somebody against him in the primaries. Or just letting them know, I was on today with a local. I think she’s a state senator. You know, they’re supposed to be they had a town hall meeting last October, and the house, the State House voted to end it. And they sent the bill on next to the Senate, and they tabled it. And they came to this one. And they sat there right in front of us and said don’t worry, we already have something written. And right when we get in session, it’ll be the first thing we do. Well, the guy who wrote the one, once they pulled it out, all sudden, he pulled it back? Oh, no, it’s not good enough. It’s like, well, you wrote it, though. Like why would you write something knowing you were gonna pull it? You know, meanwhile, they’re passing a lot of make sure that pot stays illegal here and in in Idaho, however you care about that. I really don’t care. But there’s these things are very important, like, overreach of a governor, not even just mask or not mask, it’s the overreach in the violation of our state constitution. So we need to be, you know, like I said, with these volunteers who say, Hey, everybody, right, this lady, and then she, they take the heat, they take the heat, but as long as they they’re doing what the will of the people are, then there won’t be any heat. Right. All right. So holding them accountable is a big thing. But also, like you said, ushering in the next the next group that’s going to take over for them. Hopefully, they get good enough that they’ve moved to the, you know, like restful shows great on most things, and he moved up to the state us reps, right? Well, Labrador, moved up. So hopefully, that’s what we see. But if you’re not going to play ball, and you’re not going to live by the principles of the people that you represent, then you need to go.
Ed Bejarana 23:22
Excellent. Well, Steve, it’s great to have you on the show. Look, I’d like to have you back on a regular basis, kind of update the listeners with what the Central Committee is working on issues that are important candidates that you are looking to support and present to the to the people.
Steve Vanzeveren 23:41
Definitely and just to say it one more time, you guys can go to kootenay gop.org. There’s a volunteer tab. Take the short survey, let me know what you’re looking to do. We have three elections coming up. We have the levy and bond issue in March. And then in May we have some smaller local positions, highway district, the hospital district, and a couple others and then in November, we had the big one with the City Council, and the mayor and school board very big and a school board elected that will do the will of the people. So once again, Cooney gop.org and thanks for having me.
Ed Bejarana 24:22
Great. Thank you, Steve. Have a great day. We’ve reached the end of the episode but not the end of the issue. Please share this episode with your friends and family. If you have questions or would like to share your own issues and ideas, visit www dot Idaho speaks calm and click share and issue. Your state your voice Idaho speaks
Transcribed by https://otter.ai