Candidates share views at Farm Bureau forum
Perhaps no one seeking any of the county positions in the Republican primary was more blunt about his reason for running that Bingham County prosecutor candidate Cleve Colson.
"I don't think the current prosecutor is doing a good job," Colson said of incumbent Scott Andrew.
Andrew pointed out that he has successfully fought off two attempts to split Bingham County into more than one legislative district.
During the forum sponsored by the Farm Bureau on Wednesday, candidates had three minutes to state their positions and then had the opportunity to answer questions from the audience.
Sheriff Dave Johnson and opponent Craig Rowland fielded questions about enforcement and communications after their presentations.
"I want to get inmate workers out to try to beautify the county," Rowland said. He also said he wants to see deputies dealing with criminals rather than spending so much time on traffic enforcement.
Johnson pointed out that a marijuana bust up Wolverine Canyon in 2009 was the result of good communications with the public. He also pointed out that the county is limited by law on which inmates can be used on work release as well as budgetary constraints.
Perhaps the hottest issue of the evening was the new planning and zoning ordinance.
"As I look around, there are a few hotspots, one of them being planning and zoning," said county commission candidate Mark Bair.
Merril Blake and Steve Kauer, two other commission candidates, spoke passionately against the new ordinance.
"The ordinance is a piece of crap, to put it simply," Blake said. "We need to rescind planning and zoning."
"I'm almost totally against planning and zoning," Kauer said.
Blake and five other men are running for the District 1 seat being vacated with the retirement of Cleone Jolley. Incumbent Ladd Carter is facing two other men in the District 3 race.
"We have to have some restricts or everybody would run amok," said Kirk Ogden, a District 3 candidate.
"We have to have some measure of rules so we can treat each other civilly," Carter added.
"I would like to maintain the lifestyle that's here," Carter said. "There are some areas we can improve on. I want a chance to do them."
Most of the men were speaking for the second time on Wednesday. All the commission candidates had addressed the Greater Blackfoot Association of Realtors meeting about six hours earlier.
There they were asked to delineate positive things in the county, changes they would make and their qualifications.
"Blackfoot has done an admirable job with urban development," Bair said. "I hope we can do similar things in the county.:
"We need to cut government, cut taxes," Kauer said. "We have unalienable rights to our property."
The candidates will have another chance to address the public next week when the Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce sponsors forums on April 24 and April 26.
The primary election is May 15. Since there are no Democrats running for the county positions, the men who win will become the county commissioners in early 2013.