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Richard Larsen: Bannock County Ballot Synopsis

November 5th, 2012 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

Looking over the ballot for Tuesday’s election there are a few items that should be considered before we cast our ballots. We’ve already addressed Propositions 1, 2, and 3 regarding the Students Come First education reform. If we’re not content with the status quo, these are “must pass” propositions. As Idahoans, we mustn’t be intimidated by the out-of-state interest groups that have poured so much money into defeating the education reform. Only 2% of the funding against the measures came from within the state. That should speak volumes to us. They don’t care about Idaho education they care about power.

There are two constitutional amendments on the ballot as well. SJR 102 amends Section 5, Article X of the state Constitution to authorize the state Department of Corrections to manage adult felony probation and parole. This is logical, and maintains operations as they should be, and have been handled, and should be approved.

The second is HJR 2aa which amends the Constitution to protect hunting and fishing rights for the state. Idaho, surprisingly, is one of few states that doesn’t already have such rights guaranteed constitutionally. Not only should the right be protected for sportsmen interests, but also it’s the most efficacious means of protecting and maintaining ecological balance in the state. This also should be approved.

For the citizens of Pocatello, there’s a request to authorize issuance of bonds up to $2.8 million for the purpose of constructing a new animal shelter. This is long overdue, and hopefully will be approved.

For congressman from the 2nd Congressional District, I’m sorely disappointed in the lack of fiscal restraint that Congressman Mike Simpson has displayed. He either needs to learn how to say no to spending bills, or be replaced by someone who can. But his opponent this year, Nicole LeFavour, is clearly not the one. Even if she was more fiscally conservative, which she is not, the last thing we need is more congressmen from Nancy Pelosi’s party to return the Speaker gavel to her. As long as Pelosi is in House leadership, control should never be returned to her party.

For Legislative District 28, Jim Guthrie should be our new senator, and Ken Andrus should be retained in the House. Both have done a superb job in Boise and should be retained. Newcomer, Kelley Packer, is a breath of fresh air as a candidate for House Seat B. She’s thoughtful, deliberative, and thorough, and extremely approachable. She’ll be a great addition to our solid representation from Bannock County.

The Legislative District 29 races are crucial for Pocatello proper. Greg Romriell, (Senate), Dave Bowen (House Seat A), and Craig Cooper (House Seat B) would be incredible assets and exemplary representatives of the interests of Pocatello. I hold in great respect some of their opponents, but two things lead me to support these gentlemen. One, even though they’re newcomers to state politics, they’re extremely well versed, knowledgeable, principled, and aware of the challenges facing our state and our community. Two, none of them represent the party that endorsed and supported, at the state level, the worst piece of legislation ever drafted at any level of government; Obamacare. Idaho Democrats, when they voted unanimously in support of that reprehensible piece of legislation, precluded me from supporting anyone from their party at the state level for some time.

The County Commissioner race, I’m convinced, is critical for the county. The commissioners up for reelection, Karl Anderson and Howard Manwaring, have accomplished so much in their short time on the commission. They have reduced the county budget, and spent even less than budgeted, this year, $3 million less.

The county is out of debt for the first time in years, and efficiencies within the county operational apparatus have never been at this high level. After examining in depth what they’ve been able to accomplish, and what their plans are for continued improvements and fiscal propriety, both of these commissioners must be retained.

Our Bannock County Sheriff, Lorin Nielsen, even though he is unopposed, needs special acknowledgement for the outstanding job he’s been doing in that position. In my estimation, he epitomizes the thoughtful, conscientious, and thorough local sheriff. I can’t imagine anyone doing that job better.

The Prosecuting Attorney position has been a handpicked crony position for as long as I can remember. Kent Reynolds affords us a unique opportunity to elect someone that brings a fresh perspective, a lifestyle that is congruous with Bannock County residents, and according to a longtime attorney here, has “a hundred times more criminal law experience than his opponent has.” I know some of our local police officers support his opponent, but that’s to be expected, since his opponent has been the city attorney and as such, represents the local constabulary. They don’t like Kent, because Kent wins his cases. Seems to me that’s exactly what we want from the chief law enforcement officer for the county! I have found many more policemen who support Kent privately, than oppose him.

Whether you agree with my assessment of the races and the issues or not, you owe it to your community, your state, and your nation, to get informed, and then vote.

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