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Incumbent Kelly Anthon challenged by Bill Drury in race for Idaho State Senate in District 27

Kelly Anthon, left, and Bill Drury. | Courtesy photos
BURLEY– Incumbent Kelly Anthon is being challenged by Bill Drury in the race for state senator in District 27.
District 27 includes all of Cassia and Oneida counties and parts of Minidoka County. sent the same eight questions to both candidates. Their answers were required to be 250 words or less. Their responses below have been edited to meet the word count.
More information about Drury’s campaign can be found here here.
More information about Anthon’s campaign can be found here.
The general election is on Nov. 8.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Drury: I have been married for 38 years. My wife and I have two children. One is graduated from the University of Idaho this May, and the other is a sophomore at Boise State University.
I have a B.S. in Information Systems Management from Purdue University. I worked in IT for 7 years. I made a career change to aviation and currently work as a commercial airline pilot. I also have a small business in Natural Hoof Care.
I have lived most of my life in New Jersey, moving to Idaho in 2015. In New Jersey, I was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, volunteered at the local ambulance company as an EMT, volunteered at the Helping Hand Rescue Mission in Philadelphia and was a member of the planning team for the annual City to Shore MS bike ride. In Idaho, I am a member of the local ham radio club.
I have never held a political office. I have helped several local campaigns in New Jersey and Idaho. I have testified at several committee hearings in Trenton and Boise.
Anthon: I am a seventh-generation Idahoan raised on a family farm in Declo, Idaho, where my family operated a farm for over 100 years. My wife was raised in Rupert, Idaho. We married while I was in law school at the University of Idaho and we realized our dream of returning home to Southern Idaho.
I practiced in law in Rupert for many years and served as the city attorney for the cities of Acequia, Burley, Rupert and Minidoka. I currently work as the Rupert city administrator, but I also help run the Mart Group potato companies as a member of their board of directors. I serve District 27 in the Idaho Senate and have been fortunate to be chosen by my colleagues as the Idaho Senate majority leader.
My focus is my family. Joelle and I have five children who we adore. Together we try to serve our community through our church, service clubs and schools.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Anthon: Nothing compares to the work we try to accomplish each day in our family life – it brings the most rewards and satisfaction. Professionally, my work in building and protecting Idaho’s rural communities has been very rewarding. As Idaho’s more urban centers continue to grow, I try to be an effective voice in Boise for the small towns, rural communities, and farming and ranching operations that have built our state.
Drury: August of 2016 my youngest child was diagnosed with leukemia. Managing to keep the family together and getting my child through this difficult time is my proudest accomplishment.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/independent/other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
Drury: I have seen too many good people run for office to effect change only to become the very legislator they wanted to change. This happens because party leadership puts great pressure to the legislator to “get onboard”. If they don’t “get onboard” then there is the threat of not getting supported for re-election.
As an independent, I will not be concerned about such things. I will have no party leadership, and I will always be challenged for re-election. This will keep me focused on the principles I ran on and the constituents I represent.
My political platform is that government needs to be limited and accountable. It is the role of government to protect the rights and liberty of people, not run their lives. The Legislature needs to stop writing so many laws and start seeing if the laws they have written are being enforced and see what effect those laws are having on the citizens of Idaho. Finally, the Legislature needs to stop giving its constitutionally granted power over to the executive branch.
Anthon: As a lifelong Republican, I support the party’s advocacy for low taxes, conservative spending, and the ‘lightest touch’ of government involvement in our lives. I stand with the Republican Party in support of religious liberty, the right to keep and bear arms and the rule of law (including the securing of our national borders).
I also support the Republican ideals relating to the separation of federal and state governmental powers and protecting Idaho’s state sovereignty as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
Anthon: Idaho’s greatest challenge is growth. Although growth provides many opportunities for Idaho families, as Idahoans, we will be challenged to address the infrastructure, education and economic needs that come with it.
Additionally, the inflation that has plagued our nation and Idaho households is a growing challenge. Idaho’s Legislature will need to continue to combat the problem through low taxes and less regulation.
Drury: The three big challenges facing Idahoans today are inflation, out-of-control property tax increases and loss of individual freedoms.
While a state government cannot control the market forces that create inflation, it can work to not be part of the problem. Eliminating the grocery tax would have an immediate positive impact on Idaho families. Keeping government spending at the lowest level possible and keeping taxes just as low would also help reduce the burden of inflation.
Residential real estate has been taken over by investors. This has caused a shortage of available housing and an increase in property taxes. The Legislature needs to address this by detaching property taxes from market speculation. It also needs to separate real residential housing from investment housing and tax accordingly.
Sadly, the pandemic showed how quickly the government can take away personal freedoms. If your job or business is paying your bills, it is essential. No one person or small committee should be able to restrict people from making a living. Two years out from the start of the pandemic and the damage to people, families and the economy is crystal clear. The Legislature needs to address this before anything like this happens again.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Drury: I think the best way to represent the views of my constituents will be to listen. Being willing to be stopped on the street, in the supermarket or at the feed store and hear the concerns of people will allow me to best represent people when in Boise.
I also plan to hold town halls and use emails to keep a dialog with constituents.
Anthon: I have always recognized that Idaho’s elected officials represent ALL of their constituents – not just members of their own respective parties. I listen to all views before I cast any vote and I stand by the adage that “reasonable minds can disagree.”
What role do lobbying entities play in the decision-making of Idaho legislators?
Anthon: Lobbying efforts can provide vital information for Idaho’s elected officials in addressing important and complex issues, but lobbyists for special interest groups should have limited influence. No vote should be cast by a legislator just to satisfy a special interest group or get a favorable score or rating. As a senator, I chose to disregard special interest group ratings or grading systems when voting and just do what I believe is best for my home community and those whom I represent.
Drury: Lobbying entities have far too much sway in the decision-making of Idaho legislators. At committee hearings, members of the general public are prohibited from speaking while the lobbyists are permitted to testify for their organization. I have heard legislators say that to vote against/for something would upset some lobby group. This is an indication that our legislators have little regard for their constituents.
Businesses and organizations should be able to address their concerns with legislators but not over the concerns of individual citizens.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
Drury: The current session of the legislature proposed over 800 pieces of legislation. I have no idea how any of this could be properly discussed or debated. I can only encourage that the number of proposed bills be reduced and more time spent on legislation that has real value to the people of Idaho.
Anthon: Honest, straight-forward dialogue is key to finding the best solutions. When working to accomplish something good for Idahoans, it doesn’t matter if your teammate in discovering the best answer is a member of another political party. Finding common ground, listening to others, considering opposing views, and showing respect to others will produce better results for everyone involved. With this approach, I have successfully passed numerous pieces of complex legislation with bipartisan support during my time in the Senate.
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
Anthon: Public infrastructure issues across the state, including decaying roads, old bridges, wastewater treatment operations, drinking water systems and the like are often outdated, ill-maintained, and in desperate need of repair. More funding should be provided there. Local governments, particularly in rural areas, are in need of this state funding.
Our health and welfare benefits system should be regularly examined and audited to reduce fraud and the resulting unnecessary burden on our taxpayers.
Drury: Idaho had a $1.5 billion surplus. There is enough funding. I would like to see less state government and see that power returned to the counties and cities. Good government occurs when closest to the people. The needs of Ada and Canyon counties are quite different than the needs of Cassia, Minidoka and Oneida counties. One item that would need to be considered is to examine how unfunded mandates burden smaller counties in the state and find acceptable solutions.
The post Incumbent Kelly Anthon challenged by Bill Drury in race for Idaho State Senate in District 27 appeared first on East Idaho News.

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