Press "Enter" to skip to content

Cheatum, Morrell vying for House Seat 28A vacated by Armstrong

Richard “Rick” Cheatum (left) and Dawn Morrell | Courtesy photos
POCATELLO — A pair of Republicans will battle for the House Seat 28A, which is to be vacated by three-term incumbent Randy Armstrong.
With Armstrong not registered to run for re-election his seat will be filled by a new representative, either Rick Cheatum or Dawn Morrell. As there are no opposing party candidates, the race will be decided during the Republican primary. sent the same eight questions to both candidates. Their answers, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less.
District 28 includes all of Franklin and Power counties, and parts of Bannock County.
The primary election is on May 17. The general election is on November 8.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
CHEATUM: I moved to Pocatello from Kansas in 1977 to manage a radio station. My working career has provided experience in broadcasting, automobile sales, and credit unions. I retired 5 years ago. I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism.
I have been married to Debra, a Pocatello native, for 30 years, and have a daughter, Nicole, and step-son, Tony.
Since moving to Pocatello, I have been very active in the community. I have been a member of, or business representative to, the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce; a Chamber Chief since 2010 and past Chief of Chiefs; past member of the Chamber Board of Directors; member and past-president of Portneuf Valley Partners; Idaho Central Credit Union Board member and past Chair; member and banquet emcee for the local chapters of Southeast Idaho Mule Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Safari Club International. I am an enthusiastic hunter, shooter and reloader and a life member of the National Rifle Association, and the Pocatello Field Archers.
I announced my candidacy for the Pocatello City Council at my retirement party and was successful in the election in 2017. I was elected to a 2nd four-year term in 2021, and chosen as the President of the Council. I was also elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Idaho Cities in 2018 and have served two terms representing District 5, southeast Idaho.
MORRELL: I was born and raised in S.E. Idaho. I grew up North of Pocatello and graduated from Highland High School.
At the age of 22, I joined the active-duty United States Army. I am a Desert Storm era veteran and spent time deployed in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
I am recently retired from the US Postal Service. In my past, I’ve spent time volunteering with my church organization to teach religion and addiction recovery at the Pocatello women’s prison. I served as secretary of the Bannock County Republican Central Committee for several years and was elected as a precinct committeeman to represent my precinct with the Republican party as well.
I have been married to my husband Joe for 18 years, and we currently reside in Bannock County, near Inkom, ID. Joe and I purchased a small family business from my parents, and Joe currently operates and manages our business (Old Town Gunslingers) in Historic Old Town Pocatello.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
CHEATUM: I am very proud of my family and the life we have each made.
Some of my career accomplishments include being named Top Small Market Salesperson for Honda Automobiles in the Northwest Zone 4 times. I started an indirect lending program at ISU Credit Union, now Lookout Credit Union, and put $44-million in loans on the books in 23 months.
I was named Volunteer of the Year by the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce; twice given the Award of Merit by the Regional Supervisor for Idaho Fish and Game District 5; named Volunteer of the Year by the Idaho State University College of Education.
Above all, I am proud of making many friends in my personal and career endeavors.
MORRELL: Serving my country in the United States Army, overseas, during Desert Storm, and achieving the Expert Field Medic Badge on my first attempt at Fort Hood, TX.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
CHEATUM: I am a registered Republican, and proud of my moderate conservative political stance.
I do not bring a formal platform to my campaign for the Idaho House. I promise to listen to constituents, read the legislation proposed, ask questions until I understand what effect my vote will have on the entire state of Idaho, and then vote for pragmatic solutions, not on the basis of ideology.
MORRELL: The Republican party state and federal platforms embody the tenets of my beliefs. I am a conservative, constitutional republican and my vision for Idaho would compare closely to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and his policies in the state of Florida.
I would like to see Idahoans embrace school choice and potentially a voucher-style system to help our young people receive the education they deserve and need to compete in today’s world. I will stand strong for individual and medical freedoms as well as for parental rights.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
CHEATUM: 1. Growth. Idaho is facing a wave of immigration from what I have heard termed ‘refugees’ from other states. Our state fiscal policy has produced one of the most vibrant economies in the country and is attracting businesses and individuals in un-precedented numbers. Our challenge is to manage that growth for the long-term benefit of the entire state. That growth has caused a housing shortage, labor shortage, and incredible pressure on our infrastructure. However, I don’t think anyone really expects this boom cycle to last more than a few years and we need to be prepared to weather the inevitable slow-down that will occur. At both the state and local jurisdictions, we need to pay off debt, take care of long-term maintenance issues, and not overextend current budgets that cannot be maintained when a cooling economy occurs.
2. Water. Much of Idaho is a high desert and developments need to utilize xeriscaping techniques as much as possible to minimize the drawdown of our ground water. The need to conserve water usage will become even more apparent if years of low snowpack continue.
3. Education. We must find a way to make our K-12 education more competitive in the world labor market. I feel there has been too great an emphasis on traditional college education and not enough on technical schools and certificate and associate degrees. Our early literacy rate must increase and part of that success will be encouraging parents to read in the home.
MORRELL: a. The threat of recession and navigating our worsening economy.
b. How we go about preserving our “Idaho way of life” as opposed to becoming “Portland-Light” by over-growing our administrative government in Idaho, and over-spending to do it.
c.How to protect individual/medical freedom, state sovereignty and parental rights.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
CHEATUM: I will listen to everyone, read their emails, and try to respond, although I know that will not be possible all of the time. I have friends on both sides of the political aisle. There are things we do not agree on, but most of the time, a reasonable discussion will see both of us reach the same logical conclusion when we know all the facts and are not basing our argument on hearsay. I have often found disagreement on issues is based on incomplete information.
MORRELL: It is my belief that when constitutional limits on government are implemented in communities, everyone prospers. However, I will always listen to anyone who feels their world view differs from mine and be considerate of their concerns and perspectives.
It is my intent to legislate the same way I present myself to voters. I am a constitutional, conservative Republican, and I commit to vote that way. I believe in compromise when necessitated, but also believe in standing firmly on the rule of law, not emotion.
What role do lobbying entities play in the decision-making of Idaho legislators?
CHEATUM: Lobbyists now call themselves ‘Legislative Advisors.” I met with about 20 of them in Boise earlier this month and found them to be genuinely passionate people interested in providing the facts about issues to legislators. In the information overload world, I do not expect to know everything about every issue that may come to a committee or up for a vote in the legislature. The legislative advisors can provide background on a bill, the reason for the need for action, or direction to find out the needed information to make a sound decision.
MORRELL: Currently, they play way too much of a role. This is one of the reasons I’m running.
I want to see “we the people” have our proper role in our own government. Lobbying interests have much too much power, and we need to minimize their ability to influence legislation so that it is below that of the people. I would like to see this system reconsidered in Idaho so that the role of lobbyists is minimized.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
CHEATUM: By being proactive in reaching across the aisle, genuinely listening to debate, and not being afraid to vote my heart and conscience. I do not look at my service in the legislature as a career move. I have no ambitions for additional service, in fact, I didn’t expect to even reach for this brass ring. As a freshman member of the House, I do not expect to introduce any legislation. The reality is most of the legislation that will be introduced next session is being drafted now, or will be before the session starts in January. I have found it takes a complete business cycle just to figure out a new job.
MORRELL: Compromise indicates that both parties are willing to listen and give a little. I will never compromise my principles, but I will always sit down at the table to engage in an honest conversation.
Robust debate is healthy and needed, but when the rubber meets the road, I will stand with the Republican platform, constitutional principles, and common sense. We all have varying views, but whether those views align with existing law and our founding documents will be the weightier measure on how willing I would be to compromise.
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
CHEATUM: I think one of our biggest needs for an infusion of money is transportation infrastructure. The growth Idaho is experiencing is putting tremendous pressure on our highways, streets, bridges, and even our secondary roads. Commuter traffic, truck traffic, even recreational traffic, is booming and causing problems with deteriorating road surfaces. Unfortunately, the engineering, bidding and construction process takes years. We need to immediately spend the money to complete a comprehensive inventory of needed state and local projects and prioritize them so they can be completed in a timely, logical manner.
Education is another area I feel needs a better funding mechanism. We need to fund every school sufficiently to eliminate the need for bond levies to operate schools. Whether rural or urban, every student deserves the same educational opportunity. We may be missing the next Philo Farnsworth or Pat McManus because they were never given the opportunity to discover their talent and calling.
I have not examined the budgets of the various state departments to look for fat. I do think we need to investigate the use of more automated processes to not only hold down increasing costs, but speed up government. Government needs to learn to move at the speed of business.
MORRELL: I’m sure Idaho government thinks it could benefit from additional state funding, however, I think there needs to be cutbacks across the board, as well as a strict scrutiny regarding the funding of wasteful programs, grants, and projects.
Idaho administrative government is growing far too large, and we need to reign it in before it becomes a behemoth administrative state government like those of California, Washington, or Oregon. I believe bloated governments spend too much time seeking ways to tax citizens to support unnecessary programs and pet projects.
The post Cheatum, Morrell vying for House Seat 28A vacated by Armstrong appeared first on East Idaho News.

Be First to Comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    %d bloggers like this: