Bonner County Elections
Hear from candidates in contested elections in Bonner County
Although it’s been a fairly quiet election season in Bonner County (compared, say, to the primary elections), nonetheless there are some hotly contested races for voters to decide this November 6.
Over at the Federal Building, two commissioner seats are up for grabs. The election for District One will bring a new face to the county table, when voters choose between former Senator Joyce Broadsword, the Republican candidate, and local farmer (and retired teacher) Steve Johnson, who’s running as an Independent.
The District Three race is a surprise since the primary: current Commissioner Lewis Rich, who lost the Republican nomination in the primary, has declared as a write-in candidate against the Republican winner, Cary Kelly, who won the primary in a tight race.
Over at the Sheriff’s office, current Sheriff Daryl Wheeler is facing off against former deputy Rocky Jordan. And in the quietest race yet (though one that can have a major impact on Bonner County residents), it’s a three-way contest for the position of County Prosecutor, with incumbent Louis Marshall (R) coming up against former Prosecutor Tevis Hull (who is currently Chief Deputy Prosecutor in Boundary County) (I), and Independent candidate Michael Waldrup, a local attorney and former Deputy Prosecutor.
At the state representative level, Democrat Andrew Sorg is up against incumbent Eric Anderson (R) for the Representative 1A position, though Sorg is not running an active campaign. Representative 1B George Eskridge is unopposed, as is Senator Shawn Keough.
It’s fair to say that every candidate, in their own words, is a Boy Scout: loyal, faithful, true. They are leaders, who will spend your money fairly yet keep your taxes low, and they believe in good roads. To learn anything beyond that is a challenge for a humble little publication like this one, and each election it’s a struggle to decide exactly how to present information.
For the 2012 general election, the decision was to ask each of the candidates to explain to you just how they differ from their challenger(s); what sets them apart, and gives you a reason to choose one over the other. Without further ado, here are their answers.
Running for Bonner County Prosecutor (Rep., incumbent)
My record is very clear and I hope people make an informed decision on November 6. This community is still small enough where almost everyone knows an officer or someone in the criminal justice system well enough to ask them direct questions about the work I do. This is not a job for a politician. It is a job for someone you can trust.
First and foremost, I listen to investigating officers when making decisions. I deeply respect the work they do and I am very thankful they support me. Second, I listen to victim advocates and the stories of the victims, themselves. If I believe there is probable cause to support the charge, typically I file it. I don’t worry about losing the case or whether the suspect has money or influence. I believe all people should be judged equally under the law. I think this distinguishes me as a prosecutor. I also am always open to opinions that may differ from mine.
The job of prosecutor is arguably the toughest job in local government. You are tasked with making decisions that inevitably make some people angry, sad or disappointed. It is critical for the prosecutor to make these decisions based on the facts and law.
I believe the area that separates me the most from the other candidates is my stance on people who hurt children. I have consistently fought for tough sentences against child molesters and have been successful far more often than I have failed. As President of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association, I have lobbied for tougher penalties for offenders who hurt children. I fully supported Senator Joyce Broadsword’s legislation to put more teeth into the injury to child felony crime.
While I was greeting people at the Bonner County Fair this year a young girl who had been the victim of a horrendous crime by a family friend came by and talked to me. Sgt. Phyllis Jay and I had to try the offender twice, but the second trial ended with a guilty verdict and life sentence. It struck me that even with all the pain the young lady has had to go through, at least tonight she can sleep safely. That is the reason I want to continue fighting for this community.
Running for Bonner County Prosecutor, (Ind.)
To the fine citizens of Bonner County: I am running for local office because I strongly care about the Bonner County community. I want to help make Bonner County a better place and I have the tools and understanding to get it done. I grew up here and I am familiar with local concerns and issues. I am the best candidate for the job because of that familiarity and because of the experience and knowledge that I can bring. At U of I Law School I tried out for and got one of four spots on the school Trial Team. The training and experience we received on Trial Team was invaluable in starting a career as a criminal and civil trial attorney.
In addition, when I was a deputy prosecuting attorney, I had the privilege of being selected for numerous trial advocacy trainings at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina. Those trainings are some of the very best that an attorney can receive. Later, when I worked at a large private firm, I had the opportunity to be involved in high level negotiations with state and federal agencies such as Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho DEQ, US Fish and Wildlife, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and EPA. Those negotiations concerned land and water use issues and taught me a great deal about how to effectively coordinate common and competing interests.
For the last seven years I have been successfully running my own legal practice. As a candidate I bring my business understanding, my trial trainings, the many jury trials I have been a part of, and the experience of high pressure negotiations. All of those things, together with the fact that I am actually from here, make me the most qualified person for the job.
I am running as an Independent candidate because the position of Prosecuting Attorney should not be partisan or about catering to political agendas. It should be about protecting our citizens, getting the bad guys and supporting victims.
I believe we should be fiscally conservative and socially responsible. If I am elected I will make better use of your tax dollars by focusing on violent crimes and helping and supporting victims. I will free up valuable time and space by starting a law enforcement diversion program for nonviolent offenses. Research has shown that diversion through treatment saves taxpayer dollars, leads to less repeat offenders, and eases court congestion.
I will put the focus on prosecuting crimes of violence and property crimes. I will put more energy into helping victims of crimes and more energy into community outreach. I want to restore that sense of community with law enforcement that was here when I grew up. Our fine citizens need to know that local law enforcement takes its duties to protect and serve seriously. I also want voters to know that I will not do private work from or at a public office. What it boils down to is that I intend on bringing common sense and ethics to the job. I hope I have your vote on November 6.
Tevis Hull (this information is available online only, as Mr. Hull's response was not received prior to our deadline)
Running for Bonner County Sheriff (Rep., incumbent)
Two words describe the difference between me and my opponent: Experience and Leadership.
First the experience. I hold all Idaho POST training certificates: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisor, Management and Executive. All of my education is tied to real life experience. My certificates are tied to multiple years of on-the-job practice. I have 26 years of law enforcement experience under my belt. My opponent has some experience as a reserve, a few years as a deputy and an online degree. Theory without practice does not hold up in the real world.
Under my leadership as your sheriff for the last four years, I have successfully managed a $5 million dollar budget, increased first responder critical skills training, prioritized successful investigations of major crimes, reorganized the work spaces to make them safer and more effective, and reduced the number of positions at the top, in order to put more deputies on the streets where they are needed. I did all this while managing to be accessible and responsive to the community.
To increase transparency, my office produces a quarterly, online newsletter and an annual report which can be viewed by the people I serve at www.bonnerso.org. This was not attempted by previous administrations.
I am valued by my peers. I currently serve as the President of the Idaho Sheriff’s Association and successfully passed two important pieces of legislation which help protect the public. This spring I was a speaker at the Western States Sheriff’s Association and addressed the issues of the 10th Amendment, Interposition and how to be a Coordinating Agency.
While travelling down south to oversee a meeting for the Idaho Sheriffs, I noticed something very interesting. In each county a similar type of sign was posted. “Remove the Corruption, vote for “--.” These signs appear to be a boiler-plate theme to remove incumbent sheriffs. My opponent uses similar rhetoric in his literature.
On the subject of decision making, my answer is the same as it was in 2008. “Under my leadership, all members of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office will focus on doing the right thing at all times—today and in the future. We will consult and plan before we act and decide.”
Running for Bonner County Sheriff (Const.)
Everything I do in my life has a theme running through it. I want to make my family proud, make God proud. I owe so much to my family; right down to the fact that I have wonderful children, perfect grandchildren and thanks to my favorite grandma, who was Native American, I learned tolerance. I was brought up to believe respect is something to be earned and I will be going in as Sheriff knowing I will need to earn the respect of the deputies and prove to them they have my respect. Morale is a very big deal to me. Morale in the administration is very high right now, but to me the people who put their lives on the line every single day deserve to love their jobs again. Another theme in my background is the belief in education and training; most people would be surprised at how much training their deputies already have and most of them are on a constant quest to obtain more.
My budgetary priorities are different; we are in tough economic times and money needs to go to the troops for their training. There is certain mandatory training for the Sheriff and Under Sheriff but most of the training should go to the deputies. We’ll hit areas like domestic violence, handling sexual assaults and working with the mentally handicapped. We’ll advance our training toward juveniles who make mistakes and help them get their lives back on track instead of ruining their lives.
We don’t need a plane and we don’t need a lab. Fuel money we put into the plane is of better use in the vehicles. Fairchild and the Civil Air Patrol are there for us any time we need them. I’ve been talking to some of the departments and will continue the talks about the money we can save by pooling our purchases. We also need to train together because we work together in incidents such as bomb scares and shootings. Insurance money for the plane will buy enough bullets for our people to be able to practice their shooting and continue to successfully qualify.
We need the right kind of reserves; those who do as I did and qualify to be Level one, Level two and Level threes. These reserves who achieve the highest status must pass background checks and go through an oral board. They must graduate from the reserve academy and successfully undergo training by at least two field training officers.
We will re-explore the concept of resident deputies; budget wise I don’t know yet if it’s feasible, but because we cover 19,000 square miles, it needs to be considered.
We need the Bonner County Search and Rescue and I will work to mend fences with them. We need the respect, trust and involvement of the community. Please visit my website at www.rockyjordan.com for more about me; email me or call me with your questions. The Sheriff’s Office belongs to the people.
Running for Bonner County Commissioner, 1st District (Rep.)
There are several differences between my opponent and me. I have proven my leadership abilities in the State Senate. The biggest difference between us is the experience I would bring to the position. My years in the state legislature have prepared me to address the complex issues and needs of our citizens. For the last six years, I have been an active member of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, giving me firsthand experience in budget setting and cost cutting during tough economic times. I have been a good steward of the tax payer’s dollars—spearheading the elimination of programs which were either duplicative or no longer viable. While serving as Vice Chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee over the past eight years, my duties included chairing the meetings during rules review for the first several weeks of each session. I have served on a number of different committees, gaining knowledge and understanding of a vast array of issues.
The contacts and good working relationships I have developed with state and federal agency folks, our constitutional officers, state legislators, and our federal delegation could be of great benefit to our county.
I have a proven track record of working with diverse groups to find common sense solutions to complex problems. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Idaho in the senate, and I look forward to serving the citizens of Bonner County should my campaign be successful.
As a small business owner for over 34 years, I understand the issues faced by those trying to scratch out a living in a rural community. My family has been in Bonner County for over a hundred years. Both my husband and I and our three children were born here; we love this area and want it to be viable for our three grandchildren, if they decide to stay here to raise their future families.
Running for Bonner County Commissioner, 1st District (Ind.)
I am an independent candidate for county commissioner. Independent means I will represent every person in Bonner County, Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, and everyone in between. My opponent belongs to a party that expects loyalty to the party in all decisions. She will be considering the party’s directives at every turn. As an independent commissioner I will not be bound by that restriction.
I have a variety of experiences that make it possible for me to understand and relate to a wide cross-section of people. My opponent has been a paid politician for the past twelve years.
I was raised on the family farm with my three brothers here in Bonner County. I know and love the “Country Life” and am committed to respecting and honoring our rural character. That includes a strong commitment to private property rights, 4-H and the Fair. I have been the steward for the family farm since 1980, building our log home, maintaining the forest with selective logging and replanting, raising hay, and taking care of our cattle and horses.
I am a homebuilder. I have built and remodeled a number of homes, including my own. I have a deep respect for the “construction trades” and have witnessed firsthand the hard work and skill these workers possess. I have worked with loggers and foresters and seen up close their ability to harvest trees in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner.
I am an educator. I have worked with children grades 1 through 12, in public elementary schools for 21 years, public high school for 12 years, and a private residential school for two years. I have been blessed with a quality education beginning at Southside Elementary in Cocolalla, continuing with Sandpoint High (class of ‘68), and the University of Idaho. Education is the key to building communities and improving opportunities.
In summary, I am an independent candidate who will represent all the people of Bonner County (not just one political party). I will make decisions after considering everyone’s input.
I will behave in a respectful and honorable way so that county employees, other elected officials, and the public all know they are valued and held in high regard.
Running for Bonner County Commissioner, 3rd District (Rep.)
I had no intentions of doing a write-in campaign after the primary election. It is absolutely not a sour grapes nor knee jerk thing. I did have, immediately after the primary, many requests to run as a write-in candidate by many constituents. I delayed my decision for several months after the May election. One of my deciding factors was that my opponent never contacted me after the primary. Other than my concession phone call to Mr. Kelly, he had never talked to me until after my write-in announcement at the August Republican Central Committee. He has been seen in Mr Nielsen’s office many times, often with the door shut, on a weekly basis. Draw your own conclusions.
I think anyone who has been following Bonner County business meetings and/or attending them sees the many examples of dictatorial leadership displayed by Commissioner Nielsen. The contentious atmosphere Mr Kelly eluded to in his campaign is definitely not of my making, but Commissioner Nielsen’s! I have the utmost respect for both Marie Scott and Cheryl Piehl and always will.
If you want a Commissioner who is fair, consistent, and without bias, I believe I’m your best choice. I earned my way as a small businessman in Bonner County and have experienced Bonner County economics first hand for over 27 years. Knowing that every decision I make has possible ramifications to the working classes and tax payers in our area, and not having a huge pension to live on, means better decisions will be made by myself. I have no ties to law enforcement, the military or any large retired group who haven’t had to earn any of their comfortable retirements here in North Idaho, or even in the state of Idaho.
I believe I have earned your trust and will continue to do so. Write me in on November 6 and I will continue as Your Commissioner.
Running for Bonner County Commissioner, 3rd District (Rep.)
My opponent in the general election is the incumbent I defeated in the primary election, who is now running as a write-in candidate. The discord in county government, which existed last May, has only gotten worse in recent months. It is unproductive, time consuming, unnecessary, and has the potential to become very expensive. It has led to a breakdown of communications and coordination, as well as creating an unhealthy work environment and low morale. My opponent has been unable to work together with the other elected officials to bring about reconciliation.
In my opinion, this is a leadership issue. The first task is to build consensus for common goals—for example, to provide better service to the county. To start this process, I would have a one-on-one meeting with each elected official to discuss his/her statutory requirements, near term and long-range goals, and what obstacles are ahead. Most importantly, I would ask each one what I could do as commissioner to assist in attaining those goals. I would assure them that they are essential, appreciated, and have my full support. It will take time to build up trust and credibility by my actions and decisions, but it will happen.