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Betty Richardson

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A group of thousands of women in one of the reddest states in the country are doing what they can to help get Joe Biden elected president, writes Post Register reporter Nathan Brown. Idaho Women for Biden has both a Facebook group and an email list for women who don’t use Facebook. Betty Richardson, who co-founded the group with Kassie Cerami, said it had 7,793 members as of Thursday and is still growing.

“I really believe that it’s important for people to follow their convictions and to stand up for what they believe in, and that’s one of the things that we’re hearing from the women in our group over and over again,” Richardson said.

Richardson has long been active in Democratic politics in Idaho. She worked for U.S. Sen. Frank Church and Gov. Cecil Andrus and headed the Ada County Democrats before being appointed U.S. Attorney for Idaho by President Bill Clinton. She has also run for Congress and state Senate. However, she said the group is mixed politically, with its members including former Republican state legislator Judi Danielson.

“This is a lot of women having conversations with other women,” Richardson said. “This is a lot of word of mouth, just talking to each other, telling our stories. Our group is made up of Democrats, Republicans and independents. It’s very ecumenical, politically.”

Danielson, of Adams County, was a moderate Republican who represented several rural counties north of Boise for three terms in the state House and three-and-a-half in the Senate, leaving in 2001 after being appointed to the Northwest Power Planning Council. Danielson said she thought of herself as a Republican for her entire life until Trump and doesn’t view him as one. She expressed dismay at statements he has made about veterans, from his 2015 swipe at rival John McCain when Trump said “I like people who weren’t captured” to a story in The Atlantic last week that says Trump called Americans killed in battle “losers” and “suckers.” (Trump says the story isn’t true.)

“I’m sad for the demise of the Republican Party, but everything that the Republicans stood for is not what he’s done,” Danielson said. “You know, they used to be conservative, fiscally conservative. And the way he speaks about other people. I’m so disappointed in how the coronavirus has been handled, a lot of people didn’t have to die. I’m concerned about his appointees (and) what he’s done to our government. I said when he won, ‘OK, we’ll give him a chance, the checks and balances will work.’ Well, they haven’t. Never could have imagined.”

Cathyanne Nonini, of Coeur d’Alene, was a Democrat when she was younger but has been a mostly straight-ticket voting Republican since the late 1990s, campaigning for GOP candidates and playing her violin at Republican events. She reluctantly voted for Trump in 2016 even though she didn’t like him. Now, she said, she plans to “work as hard I can to get Biden elected.”

“I just think that Trump is a misogynist,” she said. “He’s a hypocrite. He was pro-choice before he ran for president. He lied about the whole COVID thing.” You can read Brown's full story here at postregister.com, or pick up today's Sunday/Monday print edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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