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KIFI/KIDK Voter Guide: Lorin Nielsen

2020 Voter Guide lorin nielsen head shot
Lorin Nielsen

BANNOCK COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Three men are facing off for Bannock County Commissioner District One. Former Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen is among the candidates eyeing the seat.

Nielsen started working as a deputy at the BCSO in 1978, and spent 26 years as Sheriff. During his time as sheriff, he was elected as the President of the Idaho Association of Counties and served in the National Association of Counties.

Why are you running for Bannock County Commissioner, District One?

Nielsen: “I feel there’s some things in the county that need fixing. Several elected officials and others are saying we need to have some continuity. There’s some divide there. One of the things I pride myself on when I was Sheriff, when I started, none of the law enforcement were working together. I’m talking a while ago. 

But we’ve been able to get it so that in southeast Idaho, and eastern Idaho for that matter, we work together. When we have an issue, we work together. There’s no use buying--as you remember, our SWAT vehicle. Big, expensive, $300,000. Well, if all of us go in together on it and we share it back and forth, that makes more sense than everybody buying one, because most of them can’t. Some of the smaller counties couldn’t afford one if they put their whole budget to it. But we can help them when they need it because they don’t need it that much. I think we need to have a cooperative government... 

Let’s sit down and work these things out. That’s what I would like to see. I would like to see more collaborative government. And it can be done, if we put party politics aside, we can get something done. 

And you’re running as an Independent, right?

Nielsen: I’m running as an uncommitted, but an Independent is what most people are used to. I did that on purpose. I feel that by doing that, I can take the best of both sides. It seems to be if you pick one, then you’re automatically against the other. So I did that on purpose. I know the good sides of both of those parties and I feel I can be someone who can listen and understand and work together on both sides instead of the hostility that does exist in city and county government, to where it shouldn’t be at all.

What issues specifically do you hope to address if you’re elected?

Nielsen: I see something that isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, there’s not someone you can blame, but our economy has been growing--even during covid, it hasn’t taken a big shot like others--but that means people are moving in. 

In the national rate, Idaho is where everybody is moving to. We haven’t caught up with that. We don’t have the housing, so the properties we do have are high, because we’re assessed by what your neighbors property values are. It’s pushing the fixed income, those who have retired, right out of the market. Even our rentals are hard to get. 

It’s not an easy answer, but I know if we can sit down and get everybody together, let’s start working on what’s best for everybody, and what’s best for everybody is to get some housing going up. They are starting to do that, but we also need affordable housing...

Our property taxes have got to be looked at. I know the money has to come from somewhere, but what I’m looking at is the people who come from other states to visit and recreate here, they pay sales tax. We could take some relief off our property taxes. We need to look at all of these options, and there are more… We can’t run local government 100% on property taxes.”

Article Topic Follows: Bannock County Races

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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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