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Incumbent Mark Mathews facing Kim Spencer for Caribou County Commission seat

Mark Mathews and Kim Spencer | Courtesy photos
CARIBOU COUNTY — Incumbent Mark Mathews is being challenged by a local man in the Republican primary for Caribou County Commissioner.
Mathews will face Kim Spencer for the Caribou County District 3 seat, which carries a two-year term.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com asked the candidates to answer the same eight questions. Their unedited responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Mathews: I have been a lifelong resident of Caribou County. My wife, Ann and I have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Two of our children also reside in Caribou County and are involved in our farming/ranching operations with us.
I graduated from Grace High School and from the Farm Business Management Program from ISU. It has been a pleasure being one of the Caribou County’s Commissioners for the last 11 years.
Spencer: I was born and raised in Caribou County. I have been happily married for 47 years with 5 children, 24 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild.
I was employed by the caribou county road and bridge for 42 years with 30 of those as the supervisor. That job enabled me to work with all different areas of the county. I felt like I was able to maintain a good working public relationship with our residents. I was able to work with the BLM, forest service, fish & game, and all of the mines in our county. This job made it so that I am very familiar with budgeting and knowledge of the cost of equipment and materials. I had the privilege of building many of the bridges within our county.
I have been a volunteer for the grace fire department for 20 years with 10 years as the fire chief. I was a volunteer EMT for a short time. Even though I graduated from Grace High School, I like to say that I graduated with high honors from the school of hard knocks.
Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.
Spencer: I am seeking this position to help minimize government involvement for private property owners. I would love to be able to help with the budgets so that we can keep taxes as low as possible for our residents.
Keeping our county appealing is a high concern of mine. I want caribou county to be a good place to live and work for many generations to come.
Mathews: I am seeking political office in Caribou County because I believe it is a great place to live. I feel it is important to protect the values and lifestyle that Caribou County offers.
What areas in your county need immediate improvement? What actions will you take to address those needs?
Mathews: Within the county, it is a constant challenge to keep the infrastructure maintained and up to date. As a Commissioner, I will work diligently to prioritize and address the needs of the County.
Spencer: The county is in relatively good shape right now. I would like to see some minor improvements in a government involvement with our residents. Wages and high turnover rates within county departments along with budget improvements are a necessity. As a county commissioner this would give me the opportunity to improve those areas.
What are the greatest longterm challenges facing people in your county? What is your plan to meet those challenges?
Spencer: Growth is one of my greatest concerns for our county. I would like to be involved with the choices our county is making in regards to jobs and housing.
Mathews: The hyperinflation that we are experiencing at this time has caused home and property values to reach all time highs. It is important to track this and keep the levy rates as low as possible so our resident’s taxes don’t hyperinflate as well.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?
Mathews: I am willing to listen to all points of views and willing to find common ground solutions. Constituents are welcome to email, telephone and attend Commissioner meetings. I can also be found most mornings in Bailey’s Market to share ideas, ask questions and have a chat.
Spencer: I ask my constituents what they want. I try to do my best in regards to what they have voiced as important to them, but it also needs to be the what is best for the county.
I believe in an open door policy. I am in the community very regularly and am always willing to have conversations about anything my community members feels is important. There have been times that I have changed my opinion on items after having such discussions.
What parts of the county budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?
Spencer: Funding is never wasted. All areas can use more money but all budgets can also be improved.
Mathews: Everyone always wants more funding!!! But in all seriousness, it is a challenge in Caribou County to keep the wages competitive with other industries.
What is the role of local media in your community? How can county officials work to have a better relationship with the media?
Mathews: We have new media outlets that have opened up in the county that are supporting the flow of information. I feel we have always had a positive relationship with the media.
Spencer: The local media currently consists of newspapers. They do a very good job informing the community on what decisions have been made. They keep current on what is happening during commissioner meetings.
County officials could utilize social media platforms to inform more members about current events. Having open discussions about anything that concerns the county would be one way to improve the relationship.
Voter turnout and participation continues to be low in Idaho. What efforts can be made to stimulate greater voter involvement in elections and government?
Spencer: Talking with constituents and having them realize that their vote does make a difference is one of the best ways to get them to vote. Most people don’t realize that at county levels every single vote is incredibly crucial. If you let people know what is going on they are more willing to come and vote for the ones who they feel will represent them the best.
Mathews: Voter participation and turnout could be encouraged through media reminders, including social media, etc. During the pandemic when we utilized mail in voting, the participation was at a record high. This is something that may need to be looked into further.
Caribou County also does an excellent job at making sure constituents do not have to wait in long lines and ballots are counted quickly and accurately. Election integrity is of the utmost importance in Caribou County and I think the voters see that.
The post Incumbent Mark Mathews facing Kim Spencer for Caribou County Commission seat appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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