Candidate for: Bonner County Commissioner, 2nd District
Years of residence in Sandpoint and Bonner County: 33
Marital status/family: Married, 2 grown children
[email protected] or 448-2407
Education: Utah State University, Aeronautics
Recent or pertinent employment history:
Public offices held:
Nonprofit groups, service or professional organizations to which you belong:
VFW; Chamber of Commerce; Bonner County Waterways Advisory Committee; Priest River Airport Board; President, Head of the Pend Oreille Regatta
1. Why are you running for public office?
I have been serving the people of Bonner County for the last 33 years on various committees and boards and I want to take it to the next level as their Commissioner. I felt my County experience, business experience and leadership experience would be an excellent fit in the position of Commissioner.
2. Describe the top three to five issues you believe are most important; why you believe they are important; and your position on these issues.
1. Jobs and business development. These two issues go hand in hand. We need make Bonner County and Idaho competitive with our neighboring states to attract businesses to Bonner County. We need to take a look at the property tax on business equipment as part of that review.
2. The County needs to take a proactive position on the intrusion of the Federal Government in our economy using "land grabs" under the guise of environmental issues. The Federal Government needs to coordinate their policies and management practices with local governments on any land use issues that impact the residents of Bonner County.
3. Affordable housing: Bringing in jobs does no good if the employees have no affordable housing. Land use codes need to be reviewed to insure that the County is not standing in the way of providing that affordable housing.
3. At local candidate forums, many of the candidates have identified the economy and job creation as issues of concern Ė especially with the impending closure of Coldwater Creek and the loss of 300-plus jobs. Do you consider this an important issue for county commissioners to deal with? What specific actions would you advocate to improve the economy and jobs?
I addressed this in the previous question as one of the issues facing this County. In addition, the County needs to work with the Economic Development Corporation and the State to insure that the business climate is friendly not only bringing in new businesses but encouraging local start ups. If the State controlled the lands currently controlled by the Federal Government, we could better manage the timber on those lands for the benefit of the State and the local timber industry increasing jobs.
4. Train hazards: An increase in coal trains through Bonner County has potential safety and environmental impacts, and with new shipping terminals proposed on the coast the coal trains traffic could more than double by some estimates. With 132 railroad crossings in the county, the increased train traffic stands to create traffic delays and safety hazards; in the past six months two young women have been killed at unprotected rural railroad crossings in the county. Additionally, Bonner County has seen an increase in the number of trains carrying highly volatile oil, creating a potential public safety hazard. Do you believe the county commissioners should be active on the issue of increased train transport through our county? What is your position on coal and oil trains? I support the MA-5 designation of wilderness area for Scotchmans Peak. Itís 88,000 acres is a jewel that needs to be protected. 70 percent of the nutrient level in Lake Pend Oreille comes from the Clark Fork River. I do not want the Lake to go the way of Lake Coeur díAlene in terms of pollution, especially heavy metals. I oppose the Rock Creek mine in spite of the fact that it would provide jobs in Montana.
Oil and coal trains are a commerce issue at the State and Federal level. Bounty County can influence several things in regards to their impact.
1. Insure that the latest technology in rail cars is used to transport hazardous materials through our County
2. Have Bonner County Emergency Management be totally prepared to deal with a hazardous materials disaster
3. Work with the railroads to minimize the impact of increased train traffic at crossings especially on Boyer
4. If there is a hazard presented by the coal trains with dust, insure that it is mitigated.
5. Do you support or oppose wilderness designation for the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Area? Do you support or oppose the proposed Rock Creek Mine in Montana, which has potential effects on water quality in Lake Pend Oreille? And why, in each case?
6. What role should the county commissioners play in the management and development of the lake? Also, describe your position on the Rock Creek Mine and control of invasive species in the lake, such as Eurasian Milfoil.
The Lake is an issue that is near to my heart. I live on the Pend Oreille River so I have a personal stake in the lake level, the condition of the lake and the problem of invasive species. I have served on the Bonner County Waterways Advisory Committee for 14 years. It takes an active role in helping to manage the Lake. One of the issues that we have dealt with over the years is milfoil. In 2002 I helped found the Milfoil Eradication effort here in Bonner County. Eventually we got state funding for 3 years and were at the 85% level for eradication. State funding dried up and we have slid backwards ever since.
The state has to restore funding at the 2005 level so that we can regain control of the milfoil problem. As I stated in the previous question, I oppose the Rock Creek mine.
I support the MA-5 designation of wilderness area for Scotchmans Peak. Itís 88,000 acres is a jewel that needs to be protected. 70 percent of the nutrient level in Lake Pend Oreille comes from the Clark Fork River. I do not want the Lake to go the way of Lake Coeur díAlene in terms of pollution, especially heavy metals. I oppose the Rock Creek mine in spite of the fact that it would provide jobs in Montana.
7. Do you feel the county has struck the correct balance between taxes and services? If you intend to reduce taxes, what specific services would you eliminate?
Reducing taxes is hard to do. I wonít promise that. What I can promise is that revenue will drive the budget. The County should do what it can to minimize the rise in taxes that the state mandates relative to property value. Much of the tax bill that Bonner County residents receive is not direct taxes on assessed valuation but other fees such as solid waste, library, road and bridge and cemetery. The commissioners should insure that those fees are used to the best advantage for the taxpayer.
8. What do you believe is the correct course for the county in the SilverWing lawsuit?
The County should continue on itís current course of defending itself against this suit. Originally the suit was for $26,000,000. The latest settlement offer to the County was $4,500,000. The County wants to prevail and pay nothing.
9. Do you support allocation of resources to the Bonner County Fairgrounds, and at what level Ė higher, lower or the same as currently?
I do support funding the Bonner County Fair. The Fair received $316,189 for FY14. I support the funding at that level for now.
10. What differentiates you from other candidates? Why should people vote for you?
My years in Bonner County - 33 years vs. my opponents 3-1/2 years. That history gives me the long term perspective on the County, and itís people. I have owned 4 businesses including 2 start up businesses, one here in Bonner County. That gives me an understanding and perspective on small business which is the driver of our economy.
Over the years I have served on many county and local committees and boards. I have served the last 14 years on the Bonner County Waterways Advisory Committee and currently serve on the Priest River Airport Board. That gives me a wealth of knowledge on County operations and budgets and has allowed me to work closely with the Commissioners over the years. Lastly, I have 22 years of military leadership/management experience and the decision making acumen to prevent Bonner County from making the mistakes that have generated lawsuits and cost overruns. I want to bring a no drama, business like and conservative approach to County Government.