Shelley native Merrill Blake, a businessman and entrepreneur, is running for Bingham County Commission Seat 1 as a Republican. That seat is currently held by Cleone Jolley, who is retiring.
"I am running for county commissioner because my 40-plus years as a successful businessman and as a volunteer in my community have given me the experience and knowledge needed to step into the position of county commissioner and be effective on Day One," Blake said.
Blake said he is a fiscal conservative who feels county government is growing larger while the incomes of the local taxpayers is stagnant or shrinking.
"While the market value of our homes has depreciated approximately 9 percent in the last year alone, property taxes and Bingham County's budget which those taxes support continues to increase.
"We need to consider across the board budget cuts with the possible exception of fire and emergency medical services," Blake said.
Blake said he will articulate his vision of a more efficient, leaner, more fiscally responsible and less intrusive county government during his campaign.
He said he also intends to address the impact of the current Planning and Zoning ordinances on individual rights, wind farms being too close to homes and the current business climate in the county.
Emphasizing his many years in the community, Blake expressed his concern with the current trend of individuals moving into the area expressly for the purpose of running for office.
In addition to his business experience, Blake said he has 10 years of unpaid public service as an EMT wth the Shelley-Firth Quick Response Unit, six years on the Shelley School Board and 12 years as a member of the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission.
"Giving myself in service to community and church has always been an important part of my life," he said.
He retired from his farming and construction business in 2011 for health reasons. However, he has received successful treatment and said his health is fine and he's ready to work hard at a Bingham County commissioner.
"I want the voters to know I have never been diagnosed with cancer as was rumored and have have no physical limitations on my ability to serve as commissioner. This is an ideal time for me to get to work and fix problems in the community I love," he concluded.
He and his wife Windie have five children and nine grandchildren.
They live in the Jameston area.