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Incumbent Jeff Gardner running against Jimmy Barbre for Bingham County sheriff

Jeff Gardner, left, and Jimmy Barbre | Courtesy photos
BINGHAM COUNTY– Two locals are running for Bingham County sheriff.
Incumbent Jeff Gardner is running against Jimmy Barbre. This is a four-year term. Both candidates are Republican. sent the same eight questions to each county candidate. Their responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less. is publishing the answers in their entirety and without grammatical or style editing.
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.
Gardner: My name is Jeff Gardner. I am not just the Sheriff of Bingham County but a dedicated family man with a deeply-rooted commitment to law enforcement. My family, especially my wife and children, have been my foundation support throughout my career. With over 28 years of experience in various positions within law enforcement, to include 9 years as a Chief Deputy of the Sheriff’s Office, I have gained a thorough understanding of the needs and challenges of our community and what role the law enforcement function plays. I possess an Idaho POST Management Certificate and have completed the National Association of County Leadership Academy. I have also completed the FBI Leadership Academy. I currently sit on the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Information Network and the Idaho POST Council. I also sit as the Chairmen of the Idaho Sheriff’s Association Civil Committee. In my tenure as Sheriff, we have seen our office grow into a more efficient, well-rounded, and robust law enforcement agency. I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge the major role of our skilled staff, coupled with the unwavering support of the community, in these improvements. I am eager to continue this progress. Your trust is our mission.
Barbre: My name is Jimmy Barbre. I was born in Pocatello and raised on a family farm on the Fort Hall Reservation where I learned many different trades; probably the most valuable lesson was how to work hard. I enjoyed Boy Scouts and was thrilled to earn my Eagle Scout award as a youth. After graduating from Blackfoot High School I served a two year mission in Mexico City for my church. Through that experience I learned how to face fears and learned how to overcome them; whether it be learning a new language or confronting the unknown. Upon returning home I met and married my best friend, JoAnn. We still live on that same family farm and have enjoyed living in our community where we have raised (or are still raising) our 8 children.
While attending Idaho State University I was elected as the Vice President of the School of Applied Technology and then my second year I was elected President of the School of Applied Technology and a Senator for ASISU. While serving the school I attended and graduated from Idaho State University in the Law Enforcement Program. I then served my community for 18 years in a law enforcement capacity. I loved serving the people and holding the irresponsible accountable.
From there I moved on to try my hand at other trades that I had always wanted to do. I worked in construction for several years and then took on a boyhood dream of driving semi trucks.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
Barbre: After becoming involved in the Bingham County Republican Central Committee (BCRCC) by serving as a Precinct Committee Member I began to observe things happening in the committee that did not follow my conservative values. I watched a group deny filling a vacancy in a committee seat for several months to an individual who had volunteered that the committee leadership didn’t like. The leadership ultimately recruited someone who would vote the way they wished and then filled the seat with the new person. Most members of the committee followed in lock-step. This same committee followed the leadership in choosing to dedicate all of the BCRCC funds to sue the Idaho Republican Party and Dorothy Moon. These funds were donated to the BCRCC by citizens to advance the Republican party in Bingham County. My political platform is simply this; God! Family! Freedom!
I believe that we live in the greatest country in the world. I believe that God inspired men to author the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights. I believe that God fearing men must uphold and defend this Constitution at all costs. I believe that every dollar provided to the Government by taxpayers should be considered sacred and handled with care. I believe in individual rights and personal accountability. I believe those in leadership can be looked up to and should be held responsible.
Gardner: I am seeking political office because I am profoundly dedicated to the Office of Sheriff and our community. I believe that engaging in politics is crucial to ensuring that the right individuals govern and make decisions that reflect the community’s needs. As a proud Republican, I am committed to safeguarding the rights of all citizens in Bingham County. My political platform focuses on a commitment to law enforcement service and collaboration with other government agencies and private community partners to build a more capable and more trusted sheriff’s office.
What areas in your county need immediate improvement? What actions will you take to address those needs?
Gardner: Continued improvements are necessary to reinforce laws protecting our citizens from personal and property crimes and expand our jail to offer educational and vocational programs that can reduce recidivism. As Sheriff, I will advocate for these initiatives and ensure our growing county receives the law enforcement services it deserves. Accessibility of the Sheriff’s Office is paramount, and I am committed to maintaining open lines of communication with those living in Bingham County. Looking to the future, we must be vigilant in maintaining staffing levels that are proportionate to the population growth, while continually weighing the associated financial burden to the County budget.
Barbre: Bingham County is a beautiful place! From Springfield to Wolverine Canyon this county has so much to offer! I see outside influences invading beautiful places across this county and I do not want to see this happen to my home!
As I mentioned, leaders need to be looked up to and further, depended upon, to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences. I have watched our current Sheriff, who was 2nd in command at the time Sheriff Rowland committed his crimes, be recommended as Sheriff by this same BCRCC mentioned earlier. Granted, our current Sheriff abstained from voting for that position however he did participate in the other mentioned votes. Rules Matter! If our current Sheriff cannot stand strong against other members of a committee (with no authority) when a rule or state law is about to be broken, how far can he be trusted? I know that as men we all make mistakes. I also believe that if mistakes are being made, shouldn’t accountability be taken? We’ve seen how difficult it is to get rid of a Sheriff who won’t hold himself accountable.
What action will I take? I ask for the votes of each responsible citizen of Bingham County to hold accountable those bad choices in the way that we, the voters, can! Vote Jimmy Barbre for Sheriff!
What are the greatest longterm challenges facing people in your county? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
Barbre: Our society seems to be losing respect. Law enforcement has been under attack for several years. Too many people fear the police. I worked side by side with questionable officers who were on “power trips” and built bad reputations. By no means am I insinuating that our community has these officers here. What I am saying is that the image exists, and sometimes, for a good reason. This isn’t just my community; this is all communities.
The challenge is to overcome this image while enforcing the law. I’ve never thought it fair that firefighters get so much praise when in many cases law enforcement officers had to enter the scene first to make sure the scene was safe for Fire/EMS to enter. The American Flag worn on the shoulder of our nation’s military have the stars towards the front of the shoulder. This gives the appearance of running into the fight. That’s what all officers should be willing to do. We will not be cowards! We will not turn a blind eye to the wrongdoer! We will stand strong when challenged and show compassion to those in need!
There is an analogy of sheep, the sheepdog and the wolf. The sheep fear the wolf. The sheepdog does not fear the wolf. The sheep are leery of the sheepdog because he has fangs. But when the wolf arrives, the sheep must depend on the sheepdog for survival. As sheepdogs, we must maintain trust.
Gardner: A long-term challenge is keeping pace with law enforcement technology and advancements to provide Bingham County residents with the best possible law enforcement services. My plan includes strategic investments in updated technology and well-trained staffing, ensuring that we have the resources to protect and serve Bingham County effectively while also being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. This approach will enhance our capabilities and ensure that we are prepared for the future challenges that Bingham County may face.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
Gardner: As sheriff, my responsibility is to ensure that all men and women of the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office enforce the law equitably and without bias. I will represent all constituents by ensuring everyone’s rights are protected, regardless of political alliance, race, gender, or religion. Open communication with community members is essential. I will strive to make the Sheriff’s Office approachable and responsive to all.
Barbre: The Sheriff holds a unique position in the political world. The Sheriff is in the position to stand up for all constitutional rights, regardless of who the victim is. The important thing to know is that the person holding the banner of Sheriff understands the law, abides by the law, enforces the law and leads those working for the department with a clear conscience before God and man.
I know it is a cliche to say, “My door is always open”. This is exactly what it should be! In the case of the Sheriff, there are currently many avenues to reach out. Being available will be where I put my efforts.
What parts of the county budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
Barbre: I will never complain about the amount of money I was paid to be a law enforcement officer. I budgeted my income and was able to raise my family and keep my wife in the home where she wanted to be to raise our children. We didn’t have the toys that many of my co- workers had but we didn’t suffer. I do feel however, that anyone who puts on a bullet proof vest (let that sink in), kisses his/her spouse goodbye each morning, never knowing what the day holds in store, deserves to be compensated abundantly. With this statement also comes the need for absolute accountability to those men/women who wear the uniform to do nothing to violate the trust placed upon us.
At this point I do not know the Bingham County Sheriff budget. I have not had access to expenditures to see where funds could be saved. I do know that in every job I have ever had, there have been ways to conserve money and I’m sure I will find some.
Gardner: The county budget should reflect the need for ongoing investment in technology and competitive compensation for law enforcement personnel. As we embrace technological advancements in our law enforcement function, we must also ensure that our investments are gradual to mitigate budget impacts. This includes a strategic response to replace the aging radio and 911 infrastructure in Bingham County. We must also ensure that we take care of the human capital our sheriff’s office has cultivated over the last several years. Retaining skilled, long-term employees is crucial for consistent, experienced law enforcement services in Bingham County.
What is the role of local media in your community? How can county officials work to have a better relationship with the media?
Gardner: Local media is vital in keeping our community informed on various issues. Local media must balance the news’s timeliness and accuracy to ensure that the public is informed. County officials, including myself, must foster positive relationships with the media by being transparent, available, and proactive in sharing information that impacts those who live in our community. I also feel it is important that we also maintain proactive measures in sharing informative and engaging content across social media platforms.
Barbre: The more transparent the communication, the better. I appreciate local media striving to find the story, get all sides of the story and then presenting the story, from all angles, so that the community doesn’t have to guess. Obviously, within law enforcement, there will be times when not all information can be divulged. Local media should still be able to have access to pertinent information as it can be safely shared. On the same note I would hope local media feels it more important to have the story delayed and correct, not just first and possibly inaccurate. County officials should be open with the media as much as possible. If media is who is going to get the story out to the public, and media does a fair and accurate report, then the politician should have nothing to hide. Prompt responses and open dialect.
Voter turnout and participation continues to be low in Idaho. What efforts can be made to stimulate greater voter involvement in elections and government?
Barbre: I grew up in a neighborhood where neighbors depended on each other. I still remember the phone numbers of several “neighbors”. Shoot, my first memory of our phone line was one where I would pick up the phone and listen to make sure the neighbor wasn’t already using the party line. HA! I don’t feel that old…
Reaching out to the guy or gal across the street. Invite them to get involved in the community! Lots of volunteers have political differences but we really need to take stock in our communities. Shake a hand. Introduce yourself at a community cleanup. Get our proverbial heads out of our phones and look up! If we are willing to reach out, others will follow our example and do the same.
For too many years I stood by and watched freedoms slowly being taken away. The only way to stop the erosion of our rights is to get involved. I’m getting involved and I encourage you to get involved too! Inform your neighbors and get out and vote Jimmy Barbre – Bingham County Sheriff – May 21st! (but only if the reader lives in Bingham County
Gardner: To improve voter turnout and engagement, we must utilize various platforms to inform constituents and make the electoral process more accessible. We must go beyond just planting a yard sign and be accessible to those who want to understand each candidate’s platforms or strengths. By ensuring that the community understands the significance of local government, we can stimulate greater involvement and ensure that the most capable candidates are elected to lead the local governance deserved by all.
The post Incumbent Jeff Gardner running against Jimmy Barbre for Bingham County sheriff appeared first on East Idaho News.

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