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Bannock County Commissioner candidates for District 3 answer questions for Local News 8


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Local News 8 sat down to talk to the candidates running for Bannock County commissioner. Ken Bullock and John Crowder are running for the Republican nominee. David Archuleta and Tamara Code are running for the Democratic nominee. Below is a transcript of their interviews that you can watch.

Ken Bullock

1. Why are you running for county commissioner?

That's a good question. probably because I feel like I have a lot to offer. I've been in governmental accounting and positions for 25 years as a mayor for 22 years and a commissioner for two. I feel like I have the experience and the background, and the interest, to make a difference in Bannock County. 

2. What are the biggest challenges facing Bannock County?

One of the things that we have going on in the county, as we have unprecedented growth. We need to make sure that with that growth, we're also maintaining all of the other services, including job offers, good housing. I have three sons who I worry about them and their grandsons. My grandsons. Someday, with limited housing and affordability, we've got to make sure we have a balanced Bannock County. I think the decisions that are being made right now are affecting not only now, but in the future. Proper budgeting, proper growth, proper decisions being made, with personnel. I think I have an opportunity to make a difference in the future with my background. 

3. Are you confident you would have a strong working relationship with the other commissioners?

I've always had great opportunities to work with a variety of people throughout the state to multiple states. I don't have any reservations at all about working with the good, wonderful people that are already existing in Bannock County. My ability to pass on my ideas, listen to others is probably one of my greatest strengths to be able to take what we have. See if there's some better options, decide upon them, and move forward as a united effort. 

4. What does Bannock County mean to you?

I was born and raised in Bannock County. I've raised all my family here. Educated. Benny County is where I grew up, where I choose to be. My background is rural. I grew up working for farmers, I understand them. I understand the issues of working together with cities and county to make sure that, housing, developments are all in compliance with what everybody would like to see. 

One of the hardest things I see is we have unprecedented growth. We have subdivisions being applied for. There's a lot of issues to go in, why some are approved, why some are not. I think that's, the future is now, helping us move forward, keep up with other areas of Idaho and keeping Bannock County a wonderful place to live. People are moving here because we have a good, wonderful place to live. We need to keep that, and welcome the growth, but also maintain the integrity of the past and making it a wonderful place to raise families, to foster business, to make people happy and enjoy the environment we have here in Bannock County. One of the things I think that we really need to be paying attention to is being aware of where we are and how wonderful of a place we have to live. People have discovered us now in southeastern Idaho. We like to maintain that, but we'd like to continue to be able to invite growth, invite opportunities for existing businesses to expand, to encourage new businesses to come to us and help us and give us a stable economy through the future. And I think with proper management, proper oversight, we can do that in southeast Idaho. 

John Crowder

1. Why are you running for reelection?

I'm running for reelection for the same reason that I ran the first time, and that is to ensure that our residents get property tax relief. That is the biggest issue that I hear about. And that's what I ran oun of my first term. I'm happy to say that in my first term, we actually were able to deliver property tax relief in Bannock County. We reduced the taxpayer spending ask. There may be other counties that have done that, but I'm not aware of any in the state of Idaho. And I want to continue to be able to deliver property tax relief to our residents while still providing the goods and the services that they deserve. 

2. What do you feel like you have accomplished in your time as commissioner?

Like I said, during the first term that I served, we did actually deliver property tax relief to the citizens of Bennett County, and we're actually able to reduce spending. And I know when I ran the first time, people questioned if that was even possible to reduce spending. And that's what we have control over as commissioners. We have control over the spending. The same as any other government agency. That's a taxing district. So, that's probably the biggest thing that we've accomplished. And we've been able to redistribute funds from the ARPA is another major accomplishment with the elimination of the forensic lab project, which initially people thought was a good idea, but it turned out to be quite costly and for very little benefit. And we were able to redirect those funds to take care of projects that were going to be necessary with the sheriff's department at the jail for the next decade. We're able to help the Veterans building, do the, take care of all the repairs that had been deferred for many, many years. And we're running into trouble there. And we were also able to deliver to the citizens of Downey, the fairgrounds down the there have not been maintained in the past as well as they should have been, but we were able to put some of the ARPA funds that we got back from the forensics lab toward that as well. So we've accomplished quite a bit with the APRA moneys directing them to things that I think are going to be truly beneficial for Bannock County residents. 

3. Do you have a good working relationship with the other commissioners?

I think so I found them both to be very easy to work with. I think Ernie has been, very good. Chairman. The main thing you want out of a chairman of any board like this is to ensure whether they agree with you or don't agree with you, that they make sure everybody gets a chance to speak. And I can say that's 100% Ernie has done that. And even when he's been on the opposite side, he's made sure I get my peace in. And, I've got along well with Commissioner Huff as well. None of the commissioners agree on everything, and I think that's a good thing. It gives a variety of thoughts, a variety of ideas, and it's up to each of us to sell our ideas to the other commissioners.

So I've been able to work very well with both of them. 

4. What does Bannock County mean to you?

Well, I tell you, I love Bennett County. I love the people about it. County. Most of all, I moved here to Bennett County. I've lived in many places across the United States, California, New York, Florida. I was born and raised in Alaska, and I can tell you that the people of Bannock County are the friendliest people that I have ever come across in my life. I love the scenery. It's just a great place to live, a great place to raise your kids. And I want to do my part to help keep it that way. 

David Archuleta

1. Why are you running for County Commissioner?

I was a tribal court judge for 12 years, serving both here at Fort Hall and, Wind River. I helped reorganize their court as an associate tribal court judge. I grew up here in Pocatello. I've watched the county change throughout the years, though I have concerns. I've got concerns about the wellness center. I think the wellness center could be run better. It could be marketed a lot better. I am very concerned about issues I see such as fentanyl. It's a real issue in our area, and we have some good programs. But I'm also one who believes that if we create more creative programs and that it can address those problems. One of the main reasons I decided to run is because we need a little more, diversity on the county commission. I mean, right now we have three Republicans, so we don't have any of you except theres. And we have a lot more people in Bannock County who have different views than theirs. And again, two reasons. Also, I want to make sure that I serve with dignity and respect for people. and again, we’re very diverse community, Pocatello, Bannock County, all of it's a very diverse area. And yet it's not reflected by the elected officials we have currently on the county commission. 

2. If elected, what would you like to prioritize as a county commissioner?

Well, first of all, I believe in building bridges to get things done. I've been a member of the school board at, Fort Hall for the last three years. During that time, I was able to create a partnership between Intel and the schools. So we actually brought a new program in where the kids get to learn. INL provides funding for a class in the trades so they can learn a trade. Also, we have an agreement with them that at the end of that, at the end of them going through that program, they'll get hired by INL. That's one of my achievements. I want to do the same type of thing for the county. You know, we need to look at partnerships. We heard this years and years ago. Government, the government needs to partner with private industry. Well, yes. In some cases it works very well and it can work well. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I have concerns as well. I want to look into the situation for low cost housing in our area. Rentals are so horrible right now. It takes five people living in one small apartment to make the rents in our area, and we see more and more, construction going on. The biggest question I have, too, is where are we going to get our food? This is farmland we're building on. So these are the type of questions and concerns that I'll bring to the Bannock County Commission. The other big issue that I have, and what my goal is, is to get a forensic center here. After being a judge for 12 years, I know the importance of having a good forensic center, having good autopsies and making sure right now our county coroner and his staff have to travel to Boise to get these, autopsies done. And we see more and more fentanyl deaths and things like that. Every one of those, you have to have a chain of custody. And so they have to remain in Boise while those autopsies are being done. So it costs money not only to transport people there, but to wait for their autopsies. And that's time and staff money that we're spending. Two weeks ago, I was over at the mayor's, Scholarship Award in Perth, Idaho, and I had three different county commissioners, and three different mayors come up to me and talk to me, telling me, Dave, we need our forensic center. We need you to support that. So I do, but I also want to look at crunching the numbers to make sure that it's affordable not only for us, but the other counties involved. 

3. As a Democrat, do you believe you could have a good working relationship with the other commissioners.

Oh, yes. I, again, I believe in the old philosophy that we used to when I first was trained to become a tribal court advocate, we used to have, go into court and our judge would tell us either we're going to battle it out that day, or let's gather by the river. I believe in the concept of gathering by the river and talking things through. I served on the tribe's water negotiation team for five years. I served on the tribe's gaming, compact negotiation team for five years. I know how to negotiate. And it all comes down to people's people-to-people experiences. And so you show respect to the people you're working with. They'll show back to you. And so I believe I have a strong ethic when it comes to that. I believe that I've worked closely with the other two commissioners to make things happen. For Bannock County. 

4. Is there anything you'd like to add?

I have an opportunity myself and my brother to meet with the Pocatello Human Rights Commission last night, and the one thing that we talked about was our community has always been diverse. We've had Hispanics, we had Native Americans, we've had Asians all brought here by the railroad. And our parents and everyone all worked together to make this a strong community. But one thing I have in my background is when I was about about 8 or 9 years old, my mother went, in 1964, the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. Well, that came to state for ratification, Idaho in 1964 had the, Idaho Civil Rights Act that was being passed at the time. My mother and several other people throughout the state went to Boise, and they lobbied for civil rights, and they got it passed. Idaho stepped up, and we moved forward ahead of a lot of other states. So I know we can do that. And that's the kind of leader I want to be, is to step up and be a leader amongst other states instead of just blindly following what's going on, because it's not good the way it's operating right now. We need to operate better and in the people's interest. 

Tamara Code

1. Why are you running to be a county commissioner?

Something I've been thinking about for the last two years. And then the week that we were supposed to file, I got a call from a very good friend of mine, Diane Bellew, and she asked me to run for county commissioner, and so I decided to do it, It should be nonpartisan because of the level that we're at. and I think that it is always a good idea to have different perspectives. It's not the whole Republican Democratic thing is. It's just it doesn't have a place at this level. All right. And if they are governing due to an ideology, I think that's bad. I think they should, govern according to what the people of Bannock County want and need.and that's why I'm running. Plus, I started watching the meetings and I'm a little concerned about them. So I would really I think we need a change. And I think that that change should be made. 

2. If elected, what are you some of the things you want to address as a commisioner?

I think that the commission needs to, get along really well because there's only three of them and they need to work together to get things finished. I think the biggest things that I'm concerned about are actually just listening to the people of Bannock County. I don't think their voices get heard as often as they should. And I think it's very important, as a commissioner, that we start listening to our constituents, all of our constituents, not just the ones that vote for us. It's very important. They have a lot to say. 

3. What are some of the biggest challenges facing Bannock County?

I know that the biggest issue is property taxes, but at the commissioner level, there's nothing we can do about that. All we can do is keep our budget in check. And actually, the county budget isn't the largest part of our property taxes. So they are doing a fairly good job about that. I know there's always ways to use less money, use less taxpayer money. You can actually do it. But the property taxes is actually the highest. Another thing is I really want progression. I would like Manatee County to progress. I would like us to get new jobs and, you know, get new businesses in here and take care of our infrastructure that's already in place. That's what I would like to see at the county level. 

4. What does Bannock County mean to you?

You know, it means a lot. I've lived here for over three decades, raised all four of my kids in Bannock County. It's been my home since I moved here, and I just never went back to my hometown. I grew up in Jerome, which was close, but Bannock County is home, and I moved away for a few years, and my only goal was to move back, to get back to Pocatello. And I lived in some of the most beautiful places in Idaho. I lived in McCall, I lived in Ketchum, you know, but I just I wanted to come back. It was very important for me to be in Benton County. That is my home. That's where I want to be. 

5. As a democrat, is it important to have different viewpoints of the County Commission?

It's actually really quite tragic that this is a Partisan race. It should be nonpartisan because of the level that we're at. And I think that it is always a good idea to have different perspectives. It's not the whole Republican Democratic thing, it just doesn't have a place at this level. All right. And if they are governing due to an ideology, I think that's bad. I think they should govern according to what the people of Bannock County want and need. I think that is the most important thing. So, I know that I will not ignore people who are not of my political party because that is a very big mistake. They have just as important of an opinion as Democrats do. Republicans and Democrats all have opinions. We need to listen to them, and we need to do what's right for them. All of them. All of them. Not just the people who vote for us. Everybody in Bannock County.

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Emma Valentine


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