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Crystal Hill, Jacob Flamm, and Bradley Wolfe among 9 candidates running for Rexburg City Council

Crystal A. Hill, left, Jacob S. Flamm, Bradley V. Wolfe
REXBURG — Nine candidates have filed to run for three open City Council positions in Rexburg.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each one. Their responses are listed below, were required to be 250 words or less, and were only edited for minor punctuation and grammar. Three candidates featured in this article include Crystal A. Hill, Jacob S. Flamm, and Bradley V. Wolfe who is an incumbent. Read about the other candidates here and here.
Elections are on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Hill: I am a transplant from sunny St. George Utah. I married a local and moved up to Rexburg 9 years ago. My husband Jake and I have 6 children between us – a “yours, mine, and ours” situation. While the weather took some adjusting, I came to fall in love with this welcoming community. We have enjoyed serving in our community by opening our home a couple of years to the dancers in our very own Idaho International Dance Festival, and have enjoyed the benefits of lifelong friendships in many other countries, as well as deepened friendships with our lovely people of Rexburg. I am always inspired by those who selflessly volunteer their time and talents, and am in awe of the time and planning that go into any occasion. I have a profound respect for our everyday heroes who are our volunteer staples.
After dedicating countless hours working on larger scale campaigns, attending conferences, networking and being heavily involved in the inner workings of statewide politics while living in Utah, I have witnessed my ideas run statewide. I attended Governor’s balls, and many other exclusive opportunities to speak with and counsel with those in office, and to hear ideas of hopeful candidates. My experience provides a great advantage of knowledge on how local government works from the ground up, and a deep understanding of why it is so crucial to keep our house in order as well as the importance of being involved at a citizen level.
Flamm: I grew up in St. Anthony but because both sets of my grandparents, as well as the Flamm family business, was in Rexburg I spent much of my childhood here in Rexburg. I attended Ricks/BYU-I where I met my wife Krista, and then went on to further my education in Mortuary Science in Cincinnati, OH with a plan to help expand the family business. I worked in the funeral industry for a time, but a genetic eye condition changed our plans. For the last 12 years, my wife and I have built a small international business from the ground up, manufacturing and retailing home décor. I handle the management/business side of things while my wife creates and designs our products. This business has been a great blessing to our family by allowing us to raise our six children here and hiring other stay-at-home moms who have worked with us over the years. Despite the limits on my vision, I have found ways to participate in the community by coaching little league teams and supporting the arts and music programs that my children have participated in. As one of my lifelong loves is old cars, I have helped organize and coordinate our local Cruise Nights at Arby’s every Thursday night during our summer months.
Wolfe: We have lived in Rexburg for 16 years. My wife Jill and I have six children and we are expecting our 14th grandchild. I attended Ricks College. I have worked in the family business almost all of my life and took over the business after returning from my mission in Argentina in 1974. Since living in Rexburg, I have served on the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce for 12 years and also served as president of the board. I have served on two boards of the Madison Hospital including two years as Director. For the last 8 years I have served on the Rexburg City Council where I have worked directly with planning and zoning, urban renewal, the golf board, the airport board and the police department.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Hill: I mulled this question over for many days. While it may not be a popular answer, I would feel remiss if I gave anything different.
By far, My greatest personal accomplishment has been finding and rooting my testimony in the Lord, and our Father in Heaven, and becoming a recommended member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was in my early 20s when I found myself divorced with two young children. I was utterly broken and fragmented from an abusive relationship which left me completely devoid of peace. I grew up with great friends of faith that were wonderful examples to me.
I began going to church, and made many wonderful connections with the people. I started to find myself and began to heal. I learned that the atonement wasn’t only for sinners, but was also for people who were hurting; people who needed arms wrapped around them while the Lord took the weight. I began to crave having His spirit close by. I began walking fine lines to keep Him close to me; I made lifestyle changes and set goals to learn and understand what it meant to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. I have found myself these many years later still yearning and pushing myself to root deeper and deeper in my understanding and commitment. I find myself hungering for more- always seeking to gain more knowledge and wisdom and insights of understanding. I have far to go, but my greatest goal is to BE LIKE HIM.
I am everything and every accomplishment because of this.
Flamm: I am most appreciative of my wife, my children and my heritage. The duty I feel toward God, country and my fellow man are the focus of what I most hope to accomplish. I am proud of my education and related awards. I am grateful that with the credit of divine intervention, I have successfully run a debt-free business for over a decade, a very difficult accomplishment but very rewarding. I have found success in many other endeavors that I have put my mind and effort towards. One thing that I have accomplished over and over again is an ability to adapt to any given situation. I believe that being on the City Council is much less about what I have accomplished and more about what can be accomplished for the residents of Rexburg. I will simply say that together we can accomplish whatever we set out to accomplish.
Wolfe: Without a doubt… My family!
What are the greatest challenges facing your community?
Hill:

Our community is so wonderfully unique. What sets us apart from most areas is our love and kindness for one another- we could definitely use a fan to that flame after these few difficult years.
I would like to see our city being run with more discipline, pride and efficiency. I would love to see leaders holding their employees to certain standards and practices.
I have been privy to hear many stories of locals, as individuals as well as business owners, feeling disconnected or irrelevant when they present an issue or an idea to departments or to council. I have heard many say that they don’t “have the right last name” or that they don’t know the right people to pull the strings – meaning that they feel that it is all about who you know, rather than fairness and justice across the board. Policy and procedure are in place for these very concerns, and I would love to see them followed much more consistently. Mutual understanding and respect are key to a cohesive society.

Flamm: Rexburg is experiencing a variety of challenges with the ever-increasing population – from infrastructure, building and rebuilding roads, traffic congestion, planning and zoning for multi-unit housing as well as maintaining quality residential living and budget allocation. One of the issues that concerns me the most is the mishandling of LID’s that have resulted in exorbitant personal expenses for city residents.

Wolfe: Planning properly for growth. Maintaining a comfortable savings for the future.
How is your experience better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than your competitor(s)?
Hill:

The sense of “community” is at my very core. I long for it, and strive to do my part on a daily basis to achieve my goal of putting good out into the world in hopes of a positive ripple effect. I love to plan events and love any excuse to get people together for a common good.
I have an understanding and experience of local and statewide politics. Also, my life experience has encouraged me to understand where boundaries and consistency are crucial in leading and influencing to aid in the proper end result. I believe that sometimes hard choices need to be made upfront to prevent unnecessary hurt or failure down the road.
Mediation and resolve have always come naturally to me. I recognize the importance of both sides of an account being expressed to understand how to move forward in a way where both parties feel heard and respected. I want to honor the people of our community as well as our municipality by being a voice and arbitrator for one and the other. My goal is to work to find the best possible outcome where both ends feel satisfied with the result, regardless if it is the way they had originally imagined or hoped. I wish all involved to be presented with the bigger picture, and to feel comfortable in understanding the motive of the decision.

Flamm: Having lived in and around Rexburg for most of my life I not only know the people of Rexburg, I feel it is my due diligence to honor the legacy of my great-great grandfather, who was also the first mayor of Rexburg. With my unique career background and training, I am very capable of neutralizing highly stressful situations. I understand the importance of listening and reaching out to all members of the community. Being a people person, I have had the opportunity to visit with many locals about their concerns. I have run into repetitive complaints about a lack of communication and empathy between the city council and the citizens of Rexburg. While I know city council has only the best of intentions, many of the repairs to city streets have resulted in high personal costs to homeowners, some have been forced to take out second mortgages. Too often these repairs have led to additional problems. The solution should never be worse than the problem. When these residents have gone before the city council they are met with disdain and dismissed, which only creates a distrust and divide in our community. It is far more difficult to regain trust than it is to maintain it. Rexburg is not Washington D.C., Salt Lake City or even Driggs. We are Rexburg, we are a unique people who are more than qualified to come together to create our own solutions rather than simply replicate what has been done in other cities.
Wolfe: Having spent six years working with planning and zoning and working through eight budgets and understanding the process and complications helps to understand needs and the process to achieve them.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Hill: I pride myself on being willing to understand and see both sides of an argument or situation. What is best for the community as a whole or even as individuals is of utmost importance to me – regardless of my personal viewpoint. It is imperative for a council member to be unbiased and willing to be a mediator between people and state- to hold no personal agenda or to be susceptible to favoritism. To also be compassionate and understanding to make sure everyone feels like they have a voice and are heard- regardless if the outcome is in their favor or not. No one should walk away feeling as though they wasted their time in speaking with the council who is appointed to represent THEM! Being clear and communicating reasons the council opposes a situation should be a courtesy that all are entitled to.
Flamm: As a city council member, you are a voice for your constituent’s period. That means you will inevitably run into situations where you will disagree. Disagreements are, however, healthy, and I believe if handled appropriately they can and will only strengthen relationships and resolve. Some of the people I respect and admire the most have differing political views, but that only makes me love and appreciate them more. I love knowing how and why people think and see things differently than myself and that means creating an amicable place to communicate our perspectives openly. I find that after such debates we always discover that we agree or have common ground on more things than we first realized. City council needs to be more open to the public and the public needs every opportunity to be more open with city council.
Wolfe: It has always been my platform to listen to all views regardless of political stances and to the best I can to promote what is best for the community.
What are your views regarding the role of the media in covering your city? How can you best work with local reporters to ensure coverage of the issues?
Hill: The media has an advantage to shed light whether good or bad on a situation. I am a firm believer in transparency and for people to have a knowledge of what is going on in their community; provided the reporter takes careful consideration as to what collateral damage could befall innocent individuals and have the foresight to understand what they are reporting could have both positive and negative impacts for the community, and to be mindfully discreet.
Should the reporter stick strictly to facts- whether good or bad, rather than take an opportunity to embarrass or slander, I would welcome collaboration and working together to create a synergistic relationship between the city and media to keep the community informed; by sending out press releases and to answer questions that are pertinent to what is going on inside of our city.
Flamm: The media is the primary source that is turned to for local news and information. Media coverage should always be informative, not opinionated, by always presenting the facts from all sides of an issue and leaving the conclusion to the mind and discernment of the reader/viewer. I do believe that the media can and should assist the city council with more transparency between our city council and residents, by keeping citizens up-to-date on all local issues, and what solutions/projects are on the table for such issues, as well as an open invitation as to how an individual can get involved in or with those proposed solutions. This can be accomplished not only through the standard news networks but through social or other forms of informative media.
Wolfe: I think honestly and transparency is always the best route on both sides. I encourage participation from the media.
What measures, if any, do you believe your city should implement amid continued COVID-19 concerns?
Hill:The Mayor is the “President” of the city – if you will. The CEO. He has taken an oath to uphold the constitution, and I would be honored to stand with him in putting my foot down against tyranny, should that continue to be his direction. As far as COVID-19 mandates are concerned, I uphold that individual entities should have the right to choose what is best for them. I have seen firsthand what vaccination mandates have done to highly populated areas. As I visited San Francisco in late September, I was disheartened by the eerie feeling of a ghost town. Many restaurants and shops closed surprisingly early each night. Most restaurants did their best to accommodate those unable to enter for lack of proof of vaccine by taking up a few parking spots to offer outside seating. I can only assume those costs were substantial to the business. I could only imagine the devastating effects our local businesses would have should certain mandates be enforced here. I believe wholeheartedly that businesses have the right to decide what is best for their establishment- mask or proof of vaccine, or nothing of the sort. I am appalled at the way our federal government is handling the situation by demanding certain steps be made and infringing on our rights.
Democracy noun-Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
Flamm: Health and safety are vital to the survival of any community and I appreciate the informative steps our city council, mayor and health department have taken in light of COVID-19. When it comes to medical issues, there is, unfortunately, no one-size-fits- all solution as everybody is different. For example, I have two children with severe food allergies that could have lethal consequences, which means they have to eat differently than my other children. Health decisions are to be made between an individual and a trusted health physician. For this reason, I am an advocate of medical freedom. There are many available options for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and each person has the right to determine which is best for themselves. If a person chooses to not mask or vaccinate, it doesn’t automatically mean they don’t care for your health or the health of others. It is not the prerogative of the city council to enforce burdensome mandates including misdemeanors and fines to non-compliant citizens or threatening businesses with revoking their business licenses, as was proposed last year by our own city council.
Wolfe: At this stage I feel we should encourage safety implementations whenever possible and be an example.
If you received a multimillion-dollar grant to use for the city in any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
Hill: If possible, I would spread it across many of the departments or other areas that are in need of upgrades – look for the need in multiple groups to aid in efficiency as well as boosting morale. Also, I would love to establish a few community staples, whether they be events or structures to assist in bringing our community together.
However, if there were to be someone thing that the city would need, or that could help the citizens, I would consider putting it all in one place. It would depend on the needs at the time or foreseeable future. I sure know the pulse of the community is for an indoor pool and rec area. I would love to see that myself if all other areas of importance were taken care of first.
Flamm: Of the many different projects and needs that the city currently faces it would be wise to survey the residents to see if there is one project in particular or a desire to spread out those funds in a manner that resolves multiple needs. It really comes down to the most pressing issues at hand, perhaps the interchanges or appropriate traffic signals or even getting a head start on repaving some of the roads that are in disrepair. Ultimately, we should seek the input of the residents. Most if not all grants have caveats and require it to be used for a specific purpose. For example, a few years back a grant was considered for Second East, a street that could always use attention, however, this grant required the street be turned into a one-way street. Just because something is made available to us does not mean it is in the best interest of our community.
Wolfe: The very first thing that comes to mind is street improvements. That said, it’s always on my mind to be sure we are safe and have ample water, sewer and power needs met. If it was available, parks and recreation facilities would get some of my attention.
The post Crystal Hill, Jacob Flamm, and Bradley Wolfe among 9 candidates running for Rexburg City Council appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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