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Incumbent commissioner faces challenger in Bear Lake County

Tracy Park, left, and Wynn Olsen. | Courtesy photos
MONTPELIER — A local man is challenging an incumbent for his seat on the Bear Lake County Commission.
Tracy Park is running for incumbent Wynn Olsen’s spot as Bear Lake County Commissioner of District 3. As there are no other parties running for the seat, whoever wins the primary election takes the seat.
EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each county candidate. Their responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less. EastIdahoNews.com is publishing the answers in their entirety, and without any grammatical or style editing.
Olsen returned his responses handwritten rather then typed out, so EastIdahoNews.com did it’s best to transcribe his responses exactly as written.
The primary election is May 21.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Park: Hi there, my name is Tracy Park. I married Mandy Wallentine Park 29 years ago. My parents are Mike and Joan Park of Firth. Mandy is the daughter of Junior and Ruth Wallentine of Lanark. We both have excellent parents that taught us many things including the joys of work and family. We moved to Bear Lake over 10 years ago. We have 9 children, Brandon and Kylie Park, Marissa and Nate Finney, Becca Park, Emma Park, Lydia Park, Brian Park, Andria Park, Milly Park and Olivia Park. And we are proud grandparents of 2 so far!
I am a result-driven operational business leader with extensive experience building winning relationships with team members, clients, and partners. I have over 24 years of experience in leading organizations, being financially accountable, driving continuous improvement, fulfilling objectives, and in being a customer advocate. I have always been entrepreneurial and have owned and operated different businesses. I have a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration.
My professional journey includes roles at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital, spanning from Healthcare Foundation Executive Director to Clinic Manager and Skilled Nursing Facility Administrator. Currently, I am a licensed realtor with Bear Lake Realty and run Blue Mountain Solutions.
Active in the community, I’ve contributed as a member of the Montpelier Rotary Club, served on the Oregon Trail Center Board, and led as Bear Lake County Chamber President.
Olsen: I grew up in Bear Lake County. Graduated from High School went to LDS Business College for one year.
Got married and moved back to Bear Lake. Worked 28 years in the phosphate business North of Soda Springs. 18 years for Bear Lake County Road Bridge.
Had five daughters, the oldest one died when she was 25 years old. Our other 4 daughters all work in the medical field for San Diego, South Carolina, Coeur d’Alene and Montpelier. Have 10 children.
Grew up with 8 sisters and 0 brothers.
Have been working with Agriculture all my life. Was on the Bear Lake County Fairboard for seven years. I was over the arena for fair and was chairman one year. Have been a County Commissioner Since January 2022.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
Olsen: Trying to protect the Valley from Bear Lake on the south end to all those still involved in Agriculture.
Park: I’m not driven by political ambitions; rather, I’m entering the County Commissioner race because I believe my perspective is crucial for our county’s leadership. As a business leader with a background in managing large organizations and a father deeply devoted to his family, I am committed to ensuring Bear Lake remains an exceptional place to raise families.
My roots run deep in rural Idaho, shaped by grandparents who were farmers and ranchers. This upbringing instilled in me a profound understanding of the needs and values of our community.
While not a career politician, I offer a unique blend of professional expertise and personal dedication. With a focus on practical solutions and a genuine desire to serve, I aim to bring fresh ideas and effective leadership to our county.
By leveraging my education, experience, and love for this community, I am poised to contribute meaningfully to the County Commissioner role, ensuring that our county thrives now and for generations to come.
What areas in your county need immediate improvement? What actions will you take to address those needs?
Park: As a candidate for commissioner, I draw upon over 25 years of organizational experience in operational leadership to offer robust and effective governance. My extensive background equips me with the skills and insight necessary to navigate the complexities of county affairs with confidence and to spearhead initiatives that drive Bear Lake County forward.
I am committed to promoting transparent and accountable governance practices, ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of county affairs. By fostering transparency and accountability, we can build trust with our residents and ensure that their needs are met effectively and responsibly.
GOAL: Implement a Transparent and Inclusive Decision-Making Process.

Commit to establishing a transparent and inclusive decision-making process within the county government, ensuring that the voices of all residents are heard and considered in policy development and implementation.
Develop and implement protocols for soliciting feedback from community members, stakeholders, and subject matter experts on key issues facing the county.
Establish clear criteria and metrics for evaluating the effectiveness and impact of government initiatives and programs, and regularly communicate progress and outcomes to the public through transparent reporting mechanisms.
Ultimately, aim to build trust and confidence in the county government by demonstrating a commitment to transparency, collaboration, and responsiveness to the needs and priorities of the community.

Olsen: All the growth around the lake is starting to effect the year round residence. With higher property taxes and less ability to buy property at affordable prices.
What are the greatest long term challenges facing people in your county? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
Olsen: All the summer traffic and tourists take a huge toll on roads, EMS, Sheriff’s dept. Airbnbs are starting to outnumber residents in some areas.
Park: As an MBA holder passionate about trade development and higher education, I will advocate for initiatives that bolster educational opportunities and workforce development programs. By collaborating with educational institutions, employers, and community organizations, I will promote lifelong learning and career advancement, ensuring Bear Lake County residents have the skills and resources needed for success in today’s economy.
As a candidate for commissioner and small business owner, I embody an entrepreneurial spirit driven by a fervent commitment to economic development. Drawing from my experience as an entrepreneur, I am deeply invested in fostering innovation, cultivating new opportunities, and empowering businesses to thrive in Bear Lake County. Through proactive leadership and strategic initiatives, I aim to unleash the county’s economic potential and create a vibrant environment where entrepreneurship flourishes, jobs are created, and prosperity abounds.
GOAL: Establish a County-wide Workforce Training and Development Program

Collaborate with educational institutions, training providers, employers, and industry stakeholders to design and implement the Workforce Training and Development Center, tailoring program offerings to meet the specific needs and priorities of Bear Lake County residents and employers.

GOAL: Launch a Small Business Incubator and Entrepreneurship Program

Monitor and evaluate the success of the small business incubator and entrepreneurship program by tracking key performance indicators, such as job creation, revenue growth, and business sustainability.
Celebrate and showcase the achievements of local entrepreneurs and small businesses through events, awards, and recognition programs to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs and foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within Bear Lake County.

How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
Park: As a native of rural Idaho and a proud resident with deep roots in Bear Lake County for over 30 years, I bring a profound understanding and appreciation for our unique way of life and rich pioneer heritage. Growing up amidst the beauty and resilience of rural Idaho, I learned the values of hard work, community, and perseverance from my ancestors who helped settle this land. As a candidate, I am committed to honoring our heritage, preserving our rural identity, and ensuring that the traditions of our pioneer forebears continue to thrive for generations to come.
I am dedicated to ensuring that the voices of community members, local businesses, and stakeholders are actively heard and considered in decision-making processes. By encouraging collaboration and partnerships, I will work tirelessly to address challenges and capitalize on opportunities facing Bear Lake County, ensuring a prosperous and inclusive future for all.
GOAL: Establish a County-wide Community Advisory Council

Engage residents and stakeholders through outreach efforts, public awareness campaigns, and recruitment initiatives to encourage participation and involvement in the Community Advisory Council, seeking to represent the diverse voices and perspectives of the county’s population.

GOAL: Sustain and Celebrate Pioneer Heritage and Rural Agricultural Identity

Recognize the significance of agriculture, ranching, and rural lifestyle as integral components of Bear Lake County’s identity and heritage.

Encourage smart growth strategies that prioritize infill development, revitalization of existing communities, and protection of agricultural lands and scenic vistas.
Olsen: Anybody can talke to me. I will address their concerns and find the answers that pertain to their concerns.
What parts of the county budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
Olsen: All parts could use more money. All the summer traffic is taking its toll on infrastructure.
Park: As a candidate with a strong background in client relations and collaborating effectively with diverse groups, I am committed to prioritizing infrastructure projects that enhance the safety, accessibility, and quality of life for residents of Bear Lake County. Leveraging my expertise in building successful partnerships, I will work closely with relevant agencies and community groups to identify and address infrastructure needs efficiently and inclusively, ensuring that our community’s priorities are heard and addressed.
GOAL: Implement Community Infrastructure Enhancement Projects

Collaborate with local governments, neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations, and community groups to identify priority infrastructure needs, assess opportunities for improvement, and develop a comprehensive plan for community revitalization.

Secure funding and resources from a variety of sources, including grants, bonds, public-private partnerships, and community fundraising efforts, to support the planning, design, and implementation of infrastructure enhancement projects across Bear Lake County.

Establish performance metrics and indicators to monitor the progress and impact of community infrastructure enhancement projects on economic growth, quality of life, and community resilience, tracking outcomes such as increased property values, enhanced public spaces, and improved resident satisfaction.
What is the role of local media in your community? How can county officials work to have a better relationship with the media?
Park: The local media plays a crucial role in our community by informing residents about important issues, events, and developments. They serve as a bridge between county officials and the public, facilitating transparency and accountability in governance.
To foster a better relationship with the media, county officials should prioritize open communication and accessibility. This involves regularly engaging with journalists, providing timely and accurate information, and being responsive to inquiries and requests for interviews. Transparency is key; being forthcoming about decisions, policies, and initiatives helps build trust with both the media and the public.
County officials can proactively collaborate with media outlets to highlight positive stories and initiatives within the community. By showcasing the county’s achievements and successes, officials can cultivate a more positive and constructive narrative that benefits everyone.
Hosting regular press briefings or town hall meetings can provide opportunities for direct interaction between officials and members of the media, fostering dialogue and understanding. Building personal relationships based on mutual respect and professionalism is also essential for maintaining a positive relationship with the media over the long term.
Overall, by prioritizing transparency, accessibility, and collaboration, county officials can work towards establishing a better relationship with the media, ultimately benefiting the community as a whole.
Olsen: They inform the community of meeting schedules and are open to anyone report events to them
Voter turnout and participation continues to be low in Idaho. What efforts can be made to stimulate greater voter involvement in elections and government?
Olsen: Bear Lake County voters are higher turnout and particpator than most of Idaho. Need to improve voter knowledge on local leves. Many people know what state elected positions do but have little knowledge of county officials duties.
Park: When people see that their voices are heard and that they make a difference they will become more engaged in the process. This has been my experience in leading large organizations. We need leaders that engage residents and stakeholders through outreach efforts, public awareness campaigns, and recruitment initiatives to encourage participation.
By leveraging my diverse professional background, including roles in healthcare administration, client services, and business management, I am committed to serving as a dedicated and effective commissioner for Bear Lake County. Together, we can work towards building a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for our community.
The post Incumbent commissioner faces challenger in Bear Lake County appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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