Pocatello and Chubbuck City Elections Are Critical
- 4 November 2013 by Author 0 Comments
Pocatello and Chubbuck City Elections Are Critical
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 11/03/13
Even though many of my columns are designed to bring attention to problems and areas of concern, I am, by nature, an optimist. I tend to look for the good in people and situations. Perhaps that’s why so many of my missives end up being critical; looking for the good makes the pejorative more glaringly obvious.
The Pocatello and Chubbuck elections next Tuesday provides a case in point. I know most of those running in both municipalities, and prefer to focus on the reasons to vote for someone, as opposed to voting against their challengers.
The Pocatello elections regrettably provide the opportunity for both approaches to the respective candidates. On the negative side, is a group that calls itself Concerned Citizens for Honest City Government that has identified eleven reasons to vote against two incumbents on the city council and one of the mayoral candidates. I’ve not researched the allegations, and, consequently, cannot personally vouch for their veracity or validity. Based on personal recollection, they seem plausible, but I’m sure there’s another side to the story. There always is.
But let’s look at the positives of why to vote for some of the candidates. Brian Blad is running for reelection as Pocatello’s mayor. Although Brian had a steep learning curve coming into the post four years ago as an outsider, he’s more than compensated by learning everything he can about city operations from the ground up. He’s proven to be competent, capable, and empathetic to a degree not common among elected officials.
As well as he’s functioned in his official mayoral capacity, perhaps the area he has done the most good has been as the head cheerleader for the city. He was one of few mayors around the country to go personally to Washington, D.C. to fight to retain key Postal Service operations and jobs here. And he did so successfully.
He’s been proactive in recruiting private sector jobs to the city, and has successfully assisted in the creation and retention of 2,200 jobs in the Gate City. That’s no small accomplishment during a time when most of the nation has been losing jobs.
Bannock County Commissioner, Howard Manwaring, acknowledges the significant role Brian has had in job creation. He said recently, “While most places in this country are struggling economically, we have been able to create many hundreds of new jobs in Pocatello. Brian Blad is one of the main players working to make this happen.”
There are also three candidates for City Council that share Brian’s commitments to job growth and economic development. Craig Cooper for Council Seat 4, Michael Orr for Council Seat 5, and Charlene Young for Council Seat 6. It would be difficult for Blad to continue to enact the policies and initiatives to ameliorate the city without council support, and these three would provide the requisite support.
Craig Cooper is as decent, honest and capable man as you could find anywhere. He’s proven as a city councilman and a former Bannock County Commissioner his commitment to government efficiency and economic development. And although I don’t know Orr and Young nearly so well, I know they share the vision and commitments that Blad and Cooper hold. They would be a superb team dedicated to the citizens of Pocatello.
The Chubbuck races pose a bit more of a challenge, not so much from an ideological, but from a stylistic and personal level of leadership. If I lived in Chubbuck I’d have absolutely no reservations whatsoever in supporting Kevin England as mayor. He’s brilliant, understands not just issues and their implications and ramifications, but his style is comfortable and non-confrontational. He’s the kind of individual that doesn’t care who gets the credit for accomplishments, as long as they get done, and they’re efficacious.
Kevin would continue the dynamic, synergistic relationship with Mayor Blad and the Bannock County Commissioners that has been so evident the past few years, even from a layman’s perspective. The level of cooperation has been nothing short of remarkable, as companies have been recruited, jobs created, and efficiencies improved. It’s clear that with Blad and England as mayors, that same attitude will continue, for it seems self-evident that what benefits Chubbuck, Pocatello, or Bannock County, benefits all.
The Council seats in Chubbuck would be difficult for me to choose. They have eight competent and qualified candidates running, but can only vote for two. Of those running I’d be hard pressed to choose between Craig Parrish, Josh Ellis, and Earl Phippen. All three are good, honorable men that would serve Chubbuck well.
Local elections, from a purely numerical standpoint, are much more easily affected by voter turnout. These are important local elections, and we should all study our options, and go to the ballots on Tuesday prepared to cast an informed, and perhaps influential, vote.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at email@example.com.