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EAST IDAHO ELECTS: A dozen candidates for Pocatello City Council

Pocatello City Council candidates

POCATELLO — The city council election is heating up with a dozen candidates running for seats one, two and three in Pocatello.

Two incumbents and 10 newcomers are running for Pocatello City Council. Incumbent Jim Johnston is running for reelection for seat one and Roger Bray is running for reelection for seat three. Beena Mannan announced last month that she would not seek reelection for seat two.

Herbert R. Knight has also withdrawn from the race.

Including Johnston, four people are running for seat one. Three people are running for seat two and six people are running for seat three, including Bray. has reached out to Paul Schmidtlein, Dale Spencer, Lance Kolbet and Idaho Lorax but has not received a response from the candidates.

Seat 1

W. James “Jim” Johnston (Incumbent)

Jim Johnston

Jim Johnston was appointed to the Pocatello city council in 2011. Since then he has been reelected twice and has served on the council for eight years. Johnston believes tax rates are one of the biggest issues facing the people of Pocatello. To address that, he proposes consolidating Pocatello and Chubbuck into one city.

“They are the two biggest expenditures in Bannock County. If we could consolidate services … I think we would save — in my opinion — about $12 million,” Johnston said.

Learn more about Johnston at his website

Dale G. Spencer

According to, Dale Spencer is a nuclear safety instructor at the INL where he has worked for the past 15 years. He is also the on the Pocatello Arts Council, the Vice President of the Westside Players, and President of the Temple Emmanuel Synagogue.

Spencer does not have a website or candidate social media account.

Christine “Chris” Stevens

Chris Stevens

Chris Stevens moved to Pocatello 11 years ago from the Midwest for a job opportunity. After retiring she decided to stay in Pocatello because she loves the community. Steven says she believes one of the biggest issues for Pocatello is the underrepresentation of those in the community who are living at or below the national poverty level.

“I don’t believe those voices are really heard at the city level. I’m committed to being a voice for those people,” Stevens said.

Learn more about Stevens at her Facebook Page Chris Stevens for Pocatello.

Paul L. Schmidtlein

No information was available about this candidate.

Seat 2

Lance Kolbet

According to, Lance Kolbet ran for Idaho State Senate in 2010 and 2018 and also served as the chairman for the Bannock County Republican Party. Kolbet also owns University Financial Group.

Kolbet does not have a website or candidate social media account.

Claudia Ortega

Claudia Ortega

Claudia Ortega is originally from Argentina and has lived in the United States for the majority of her life. After living in California for a number of years she moved to Pocatello with her husband a little over three years ago. Ortega started a petition earlier this year to recall the Bannock Counter Assessor over rising property taxes.

“I think we need a change in who the city government is comprised of and how it does business. I believe the people have a voice and the voice deserves to be heard and I’m willing to be that voice,” Ortega said.

Found out more about Ortega at Facebook Page Claudia Ortega for Pocatello.

Colton T. Peterson

Colton Peterson has worked in a variety of different fields including truck driving, construction and currently works out of his home. His main concern for Pocatello is the safety of its citizens and making sure its first responders are compensated fairly.

“I actually want to listen and do my best to solve the community’s problems,” Peterson said. “I’ve been in on a lot of council meetings throughout my life. I think there comes a time when councilmembers and mayors just stop listening and start worrying about other things instead of the community.”

Peterson does not currently have a campaign website or Facebook page.

Seat 3

Roger Bray (Incumbent)

Roger Bray

Roger Bray is serving his third term on the Pocatello city council and is running for reelection. Bray is also a local pastor. Bray said he started the Habitat for Humanity in Pocatello. While he’s served on the council he feels one of his biggest accomplishments on the city council is reworking the city’s compensation plan for its employees.

“We have a number of people who struggle in Pocatello and they’re not being responded to with a lot of sympathy or sensitivity with regard to the fact that our taxes are not being managed the way I think they should,” Bray said.

Find out more about Bray on his Facebook page Roger Bray – Pocatello City Council.

Idaho Lorax Carta

Idaho Lorax Carta

Find out more about Idaho Lorax Carta on his Facebook page Idaho Lorax.

Ethan Ennis

Ethan Ennis/div>

Ethan Ennis is a Pocatello native who has been working with the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce for around five years. He said he decided to run for city council after speaking to various leaders within the community who said they felt the city council needed a younger candidate’s energy.

“I don’t have a political agenda. That is one of the most important things I would like my voters to know. I am a registered independent and I work with everybody,” Ennis said.

Learn more about Ennis on his Facebook page Ethan Ennis for Pocatello City Council.

Arlen M. Walker

Arlen Walker

Arlen Walker is a retired Idaho State University professor who has lived in Pocatello for 54 years. Now that he’s retired, he does a lot of volunteer work and is the president of the Bannock County Historical Society. Walker said one of the biggest issues he’s concerned about is the lack of high paying jobs in Pocatello.

“I’d like to see the economy change like getting an industry in town that’s actually going to employ people at something above minimum wage. Most all the jobs that you see advertised and around are pretty much subsistence wage,” Walker said.

Learn more about Walker at his Facebook page Arlen Walker, Pocatello City Council, Seat 3.

Donald “Don” Zebe

Don Zebe

Don Zebe graduated from Idaho State University with a bachelor’s in business in 1980. His professional career has taken him to work for companies such as GE and Oracle. He has since been back living in Pocatello for the past 15 years. He believes the biggest issue facing the city is the job market.

“For a city to grow — and when I say grow, I mean smart growth — we need to collectively attract new businesses to the community that provide top quality, high paying jobs. When you bring more companies and more jobs, smart jobs, it increases the tax base which would, overall, have an effect on taxes for all citizens,” Zebe said.

Learn more about Don Zebe on his Facebook page Zebe for Pocatello City Council.


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