After more than a month of political infighting, the Idaho Republican Party has a new leader. Steve Yates is an Idaho Falls businessman and a former aid to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The party he is leading has been in shambles since its June convention, where the party didn't elect any party officers or pass any platforms. The GOP hopes Yates will be the one to put them back together.
"I don't see my role as chairman as imposing my own views, but I hope to work with a good team across the state. It is only with that effort that we are going to make good progress," Yates said.
Members of the party said Yates faces plenty of challenges in his new role. His next hurdle is figuring out how to build the party back up. He said brainstorming with other leaders about party-building and reform is one way to tackle the problem. He will do this at the Republican National Convention, which he travels to Tuesday. He also said government transparency is high on his list.
"I hope people will begin to hear communications from the party and from the leaders that make them happy to associate with the Republican Party. We want to get more voters anxious to come to the polls and help good talent," said Yates.
He will also talk with regional and county chairs about their priorities. Meanwhile, many in the party, like local party activist Sheila Olsen, said they're optimistic he will help move the party forward.
"He will bring an expertise that few of us have and has the ability to bring people together," she said.
Bonneville County GOP Chairman Doyle Beck also agrees.
"He seems to be a straightforward, up-front, straight guy who is willing to follow rules," said Beck.
He was at the meeting Saturday when Yates got elected and said there was no infighting this time.
"The meeting had a resemblance of a willingness to follow rules"
At that same meeting Republicans also elected four other party officers before adjourning.