NewsTalk 107.9 invited members of local city races to answer a questions about their platform. Candiates were also invited to submit an optional stump speech video, which link will appear under the candidate’s name if they submitted one. This post is updated as more candidate submit their answers.
Barbara Miller , for Idaho Falls City Council Candidate Seat 3:
When our State, City and School Districts instituted mask mandates and lockdowns and our churches were closed in 2020 I was very surprised. I wondered where the Constitution and the pioneer heritage that had built Idaho had gone. It seemed to me that it was being replaced with a “you have an obligation to take care of me” attitude.
I had joined what I thought was a local social media site called Neighborhood. On that site I began to see posts about diversity, equity and inclusion targeting our City. I later discovered that Neighborhood, which everyone locally was being encouraged to join, is run out of San Francisco, CA.
I ran across the Imagine IF Comprehensive Plan being implemented by the City and looked at the survey questions. They included a wish list of social programs and an inquiry into whether people felt included and welcome in our City. Meanwhile the streets were riddled with potholes that were not being fixed, snow was not being removed and high density housing started popping up everywhere. I don’t know about you but nothing says “small town” (the preservation of which is the avowed goal of the Imagine IF Comprehensive Plan) like high density housing and social programs. Moreover, this entire Plan was implemented based upon only 670 survey responses, some of which were directed to, and came from, residents outside the City limits. That is only 1% of the population of the City. I wondered how the rest of the 99% of the people felt about this Plan. Come to find out that most people know nothing about it and have no desire to see their beloved City so drastically changed. Come to also find out that Greater Idaho Falls Transit (GIFT) (the government sponsored public transportation that is just the Targhee Regional Public Transport Authority (TRPTA) that went brankrupt re-branded) was handled exactly the same way with targeted surveys that had to be run at least 2 times in order to drum up enough “need” for it.
Seeing and feeling like it was all coming apart at the seams, I felt compelled to get involved. I joined the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee and became the Treasurer. I was also a delegate at the last convention in Twin Falls. I was awarded the Bonneville County Republican officer of the year in 2022. I realized that many people, as was I, are just too busy to pay attention and decided to sacrifice of my time and put my experience to good use and run for office.
One of the biggest problems facing our country as a whole at this time is the pivot from the government creating a defensive framework for the exercise of an individual’s rights, to the government using taxpayers’ money to create their vision of a socialist utopia. The biggest issue facing our City at this time is the pinch between growth and the economy. We have all felt the impact of double digit inflation (Bidenomics) and climbing interest rates so everyone is looking for more income and “help” to cover the expenses. On the other side of this is the increased burden on City infrastructure from the rapid growth that we have been experiencing. Since it is impossible for the government to provide everything for everybody and all government money/ help comes with strings attached (like matching funds), it needs
to stick to its proper role, and allow social and cultural organizations to do their job. The lure of vast sums of taxpayer money to advance “pet” projects that certain government officials deem to be “good” seems to be virtually impossible to withstand, but must be avoided if we are to stem or prevent our descent into a socialist utopia.
I was shocked to hear that the City had not been collecting impact fees from the developers of many of these high density housing projects, many of who are from out of state. Impact fees are charged to cover the added burden placed upon infrastructure like roads and sewers (and should also include schools) caused by the development, especially concentrated development like high density housing. Many of these developers have been from out of state, thereby allowing them to take their profits out of state and leave the City residents holding the bag of over-burdened sewer systems, streets and schools. I would definitely look at the impact fees being charged and also see if the developers are being required to look into and address any impacts to traffic and infrastructure their development would have. Actual notice of these developments must be given to surrounding residents and affected parties and they must have an opportunity to be heard and have their concerns addressed.
With the state of the economy, the City needs to distinguish between needs and wants. The City should focus on retaining and growing its tax base (i.e. small businesses) and not on providing social services and programs. Social services and programs cause the recipients to turn to the government instead of to each other and actually sever the bonds and ties necessary for a healthy and functioning society. Social programs and public-private partnerships cause division between citizens and special interest groups as they are pitted against one another vying for the public funds.
I would also like to see more co-operation between the City, County and School Boards, in order to avoid unnecessary redundancies of services and infrastructure. I would like to see more of the preserve, maintain, reduce, reuse, repurpose philosophy implemented.
My platform is The Proper Role of Government. The role of the government is to protect the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of their own happiness (property acquisition and retention, and the product of their labor). It is a defensive stance not an offensive one. The government does not have the obligation, nor should it, to make your life better (with someone else’s money). That is wealth redistribution. The government’s role is to provide the framework wherein you can make your own life better. As noted above, the government should not be in the business of providing social services and programs; nor should it be in the business of changing culture. We need to pay our City firefighters, police and necessary departments the money that they need and trust them to find places where they can conserve and stop spending on glorified wants.
I am a first generation immigrant from Austria and my first language was not English. I therefore embody and have lived the American experience. My parents immigrated to California when I was 3. I became an Escrow Officer, gaining real estate experience; then a practicing attorney in California for over 5 years. I was also the student body association president at the law school I attended. My husband and I then moved to Omaha, NE where we both worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. I worked in the Labor Relations Dept. and worked with Unions. We then purchased a small Harley-Davidson Dealership (that is all that we were able to borrow and could afford), in Coos Bay, OR. My husband and I grew that dealership to become a top 25 producing dealership in the country, earning a Gold Bar & Shield award.
My husband, having grown up in and around Idaho Falls, and with his parents here, always wanted to come back to Idaho. You can take the boy out of Idaho but you can’t take the Idaho out of the boy. So, in late 2006 we sold the dealership and moved to Idaho Falls and have been here in the same house ever since. We have an investment company with assets and businesses here in Southeast Idaho, which I manage.
As a private business owner you are the executive. It is your money you are spending, not someone else’s money. The problem with City Council members who have only worked for someone else (or not at all) is that they do not know where the money comes from and have not felt the pain personally of financial mismanagement of taxpayer monies; and as a result you have things like TRPTA that went broke and has now been re-branded as GIFT.
I think that all of my work and life experience would be useful on City Council; especially having run multiple private successful businesses from the ground up. I know that as the business owner you do not get paid unless your business is successful. A successful business owner also takes care of the customers and employees first and themselves last.
My opponent seems to be asserting that one of his best qualifications for the position on the City Council is that he is a great financial advisor. I do not doubt that. However, I have no interest or desire to be your financial advisor (asserting that I know best how to spend or “invest” your money). I fear that such an individual will offer no opposition to our radical Berkley educated Mayor who it appears is trying to turn our City into Boise or San Francisco.
My goal is for the government’s spending to be limited to those services that are necessary and proper so that the citizens of the City can keep more of their own money to spend as they see fit. I also have no desire to tell you how to live your life or what medicine you should take. As noted above, the government’s job is to defend and protect your rights not second guess them because the government knows better.
Dawna Howard, for Idaho Falls City Council Candidate Seat 5:
I am running for city council because i have spent the last year monitoring local meetings and noticing the lack of transparency in budget numbers and communication amongst city employees. I have an accounting degree from ISU with an emphasis on auditing and I understand spotting unnecessary unneeded expenses from budgets of businesses. I did governmental auditing while attending college and then carried it forward for several years until my employment with USPS became to rigorous to keep it up. I founded Concerned Citizens of Idaho Falls in July of 2022. I am just a person with knowledge of ethical business practices who loves where I live and am willing to sacrifice my time for the residents of the city.
The biggest issue facing the city is lack of first responder personnel. Many will say it is growth but with my organization Concerned Citizens of Idaho Falls…(cited on my FB page) the growth within the city of Idaho Falls has only grown 10% in the last 11 years. ( Do not confuse growth within Bonneville County). Most people do not feel safe in their communities, lack of police force, lack of street lights, high crime area. The backbone of EVERY city is the first responders. Their budget should be looked at first for hiring and retention. Detailed budgets detailing unnecessary/unneeded expenses should be relinquished and put into first responder departments. When we have safe communities…then growth will happen.
I believe in limited government. I believe in following the constitution and following natural law. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Rights are either God given as part of a divine plan or they are granted by government as part of a political plan. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by the government then we must accept the corollary that they can be denied by the government. We should be advocating for small business, provide them with tools to be successful and advocate for them to remain in business. Innovation comes from being able to bring to life your dreams and having a city that supports and opens the path for you to do so.. not the stumbling block stopping you from achieving your goals.
What sets me apart from my opponents is my ability to recognize and analyze expenses, my energy and passion for Natural Law and giving my grandchildren a great place to live and grow. I am not a politician, I have no desire to be one. I am not beholden to any money as no one has paid me off to represent them. I am a voice of the people who elect me. I am your friend, neighbor and advocate. I have spent the last year attending as many public local meetings as I possibly could to understand and comprehend the role the city council contributes to the city. A vote for Dawna Howard means a vote for change! Fresh eyes brings change! Currently the boards are appointed and some have served for more than 20 years. The same council person serves on the same boards for the duration of their term. That needs to change! We need to elect the boards, hold them accountable for their decisions and we need council members to rotate between departments and boards so they can bring a fresh perspective to old recurring problems. I will ACT for Idaho Falls…Accountability, Communication and Transparency.