John McGee must resign his Senate seat at the soonest possible time. He has brought about "behavior unbecoming the Idaho State Senate" by his actions this year - and proper government demands that he leave office.
His service in the State Senate and on behalf of the people of Idaho must immediately be ended.
I've been in politics almost as long as Idaho State Senator John McGee has been alive.
I've seen seasons change and styles change. I've seen candidates come and go - some become elected officials and I've seen some leave office. Lots of them. My three-plus decades in politics took me to Washington DC, Boise and in earlier years, to Sacramento.
In those days of the seventies and eighties, I witnessed the emergence of a neo-conservative group of "freshman" House members (in CA they call it "The Assembly") who named themselves "The Cavemen". Led by then-Minority Leader Pat Nolan, these GOP-ites began with a noble cause and ended in dissarray, chaos and prison sentences. Liberties were taken and excesses were achieved. All by young men, mixed up with power.
They had to be fired.
Years later, Pat and I regained our friendship. His current work on behalf of others is today more meaningful than anything he did in office. Others have made their lives truly count, once out of office. While in office, they simply were too big for their britches.
Now, I see a similar thing happening in Idaho.
Though the public policy positions that both The Cavemen and John McGee advocated were/are conservative and could have helped many taxpayers, their behaviors were/are unacceptable. I saw the Cavemen leave by either resignation or by expulsion.
And John McGee should resign now.
Why, because John McGee took a per diem and slept in his parents' house? That's legal- and WAY wrong in appearance - but no, not just that. (BTW - why was this young husband and dad leaving his young wife and young children and staying at his folks' place in Ada County each night? No job is worth those mixed up priorities, right? C'mon a little more than 20 miles away?)
Why, because John McGee is using the retirement system to his benefit by including the per diem in his dollar amount for retirement benefits? I'm not sure that this charge has been shown to be so, but if it IS true, NO, not just that.
Why, because John McGee was charged in June 2011 in a bizarre DUI/Grand Theft arrest? No, not just that. Though having his arrest become a joke on the Jay Leno Show gave Idaho another unneeded black eye.
Why, because John McGee defended himself by an even more bizarre defense position (something like knocking his head....) before he plea-bargained? No, not just that. Though, I'm still wanting to know the medical condition of his head banging, by the way.
He must leave office.
Because along with ALL those other things, I was told today by two very reputable sources that John McGee as a part of GOP Senate Leadership last year agreed to fire a key administrative secretary in the Idaho State Senate because she had been arrested on a DUI. (I am keeping her name anonymous for her sake and for her reputation.) BTW, she did not contact me, nor did anyone connected to her.
Senator McGee joined with GOP Leadership when they apparently announced to the Senate and others that this young secretary's firing had been brought about because of "behavior unbecoming the Idaho State Senate"
That point alone tips the scales for me.
A secretary with a DUI - most likely a young woman, I would imagine. Someone with little kids? Not sure. Someone with no power? That's FOR SURE.
I don't know her. Yet, the year-old news is new to me today. Obviously hidden - probably right in front of me...and yet I am furious with this.
I am furious that no grace or second chance was given to her a year ago. No offer of seeking a recovery plan and keeping her job? Apparently only the door was shown to her.
As someone who has worked for years in one form or another with over 15,000 substance abusers, I am aware of the positive recovery rate for those arrested for DUIs. People overcome addictions.
In past DennisMansfield.com posts on John McGee, I've used funny cartoons and cute expressions to ask whether State Senator John McGee should leave office. At one point I even blogged that I probably would offer no further comment on Mr. McGee.
No more of that.
Grace must be extended now to his young family and to him; they need that at this very moment.
And maybe one day, years from now, like those young too-ambitious lawmakers of other states, John McGee may be able to help people in ways far more important than what he did in the Idaho State Senate.