The five candidates vying for incumbent Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad’s seat are not your usual suspects when it comes to politicians – none of them have ever run for political office before.
“It’s hard to be a politician and a businessman,” Laoboonmi joked.
Laoboonmi is the owner of Sam’s Gun Shop, and one of the six candidates who feels the only way change will come about is if he wins the seat.
He said he doesn’t feel as if small businesses in Pocatello receive the support they need, saying he wishes the city would contract with more local businesses.
Chad Horst, a current police officer with the Pocatello Police Department, recently announced his candidacy, saying he also feels changes need to be made.
“I have basically seen a lot of stagnation in the town,” Horst said. “The population is not growing like we want it to and we don’t have a good tax base.” He said he hopes to reduce the levy rate, make the community attractive to businesses, make the living wage affordable, and providing good jobs to students in the community before they graduate.
Community volunteer and executive director of the program “Foster Grandparents” Tammy L. Bartlett agreed with his platforms, stressing: workforce retention, job diversity, funding for city departments, and responsible growth.
“I want to make sure all areas of our city are taken care of, not just the new parts,” Bartlett said. “You don’t have to run for mayor to help your community, but it provides a bigger platform for me. I have a vision for Pocatello to be an innovative community, where people actually look to us for different ideas.”
Community volunteer and long-time social worker Jamie Hudson said she noticed a big need for social services regarding mental health, those addicted to drugs, the homeless, and the veterans.
“Crime is on the rise, and in fact, we’ve been deemed one of the highest places for drug trafficking, so if we have the drug and alcohol problem, we’re going to have to have the facilities for people to go to get the help they need,” Hudson said.
For the fifth election cycle in a row, one familiar name will make yet another appearance – Sierra “Idaho Loraxx” Carta. And keeping with tradition, his platform is still the same as it has been for years.
“People just don’t understand what I do, here,” Loraxx said. “I’m a think tank, I’m a problem-solver.”
If Blad wins the ticket on the November 7, 2017, election, he would be the first mayor in Pocatello to have won three straight terms in a row. His win in the November 2013 against previous Pocatello mayor Roger Chase was drastic, winning 66 percent of the votes.
Before winning the 2010 mayoral election, he also had not been involved in the political arena, working as a small business owner.