Local Issues and Candidates
- 2 November 2008 by Author 0 Comments
Local Issues and Candidates
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 11/02/08
“Tip” O’Neil, the former Congressional Speaker of the House once said, “All politics is local.” While of questionable grammatical structure, the statement is nonetheless correct. As often as we grapple with the national issues on these pages, it all ultimately comes down to the local level where the impact is genuinely felt.
There are some issues of local concern and some candidates on the local level that can make a difference to us in Eastern Idaho. One of the primary issues facing us is the future of Portneuf Medical Center. Having read everything available on the issue before us on Tuesday’s ballot, I have come to the same conclusion as Craig Bosley, whose judgment I respect immensely. He said in a column a short time ago, “I believe the advantages of the partnership are many, and Legacy’s new model of partnering with a community hospital is precisely what we need and what we want. We have an opportunity to work with ethical people, an ethical company and actually create the best of both worlds. Let’s do it.”
There are few people I respect and admire as much as Ralph Lillig (District 29 Senate). How many people do you know who have been in four branches of the U.S. military? Ralph has done that, and served also with distinction in law enforcement in California. Although a transplant to Idaho, Ralph has core values and the integrity for the office that would make him a superb Senator representing Pocatello.
I was very impressed with Chris Stevens (District 30, Seat B) a couple months back when I met him. He’s a young, dynamic man with his head on straight, which is refreshing this day and age. He was criticized a short time ago by an ideologue who took umbrage at Stevens’ campaign slogan that had “Freedom” at its core. That’s exactly the kind of focus we need our legislators to maintain. Our nation was founded on principles of freedom and minimal governmental intrusion in our lives, and I appreciate his focus on principles dear to our founding fathers’ hearts.
That reminds me of when my father was first elected to the Legislature in about 1962, the Idaho Constitution stated that the Legislature would meet for no more than 60 days every 2 years. He used to always say that it should have stated “the legislature shall meet no more than 2 days every 60 years,” to keep government out of our pockets and out of our lives as much as possible.
Another young man took the time to stop by my office for a lengthy visit a while back. James Dorman (District 29, Seat B) seems to have the same values relative to government’s role as Mr. Stevens, and I was immensely impressed with his commitment to service. Men and women who have served in the military have a unique perspective on the role of government and an appreciation of the freedoms we enjoy here. Having served in Iraq, Mr. Dorman commands my immediate respect, but his apparent sound judgment resulting from that service simply confirm that he would serve the people of Pocatello well. Besides, I will take a soldier over an attorney anytime, when it comes to judgment and values.
I have to confess I don’t know Paul Romriell, candidate for Sheriff. But I have known Lorin Nielsen for nearly 30 years. Lorin, in my estimation, is the epitome of a superb sheriff. The programs for youth he has instigated and his outreach programs, and his openness and approachability combine with his integrity to make him a tremendous asset to the area. I’m grateful for him being willing to take the job for another four years, at least.
One of my heroes in local government is no longer involved in governance. Jim Guthrie was an outstanding County Commissioner and it was our loss when he didn’t run for reelection. We would never have had the budgetary fiascos and assessor office debacle if he was still there. Steve Hadley has done a superb job trying to hold the line on spending and maintaining public accountability of the Commissioner’s office, but he can’t do it alone. His opponent proved a couple weeks ago that he has no idea how the property tax system works, so he isn’t even viable for a position like County Commissioner. Not only does Steve need to be retained, but he needs some help. Karl Anderson is a capable and studious man who would serve Bannock County well. I’m always partial to those who have run businesses and know how to meet budgets, run an enterprise, and make executive decisions. Karl brings that expertise to the Commissioners office.
Ken Andrus (District 29, Seat A) has been a tremendous resource to me and many others in Eastern Idaho. As the only member of the majority party from Pocatello he has been invaluable with his connections, knowledge, and ability to get things done behind the scenes. We’re fortunate to have him representing us.
For the U.S. Senate race, I probably align better ideologically with Rex Rammell. But in politics one can’t afford to be a purist; practicality and reality must weigh heavily in our decisions. Rex can’t win, and can only take votes away from Jim Risch. The last thing the country needs is to have Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in total control. It is crucial that Risch be elected, not only for his views and expertise, but to prevent a filibuster-proof majority from being attained in the U.S. Senate.
If you’re an informed voter, be sure to vote Tuesday. If you’re not, do something else. We don’t need ill-informed or uninformed voters choosing our leaders.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.