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One challenging Hough in Bannock commissioner District 2 primary

Jeff Hough (left) and Josh Ellis | Courtesy photos
POCATELLO — Incumbent Jeff Hough will be challenged in the Republican primary for Bannock County Commissioner.
Former Chubbuck City Council member Josh Ellis has filed to challenge the one-term incumbent for the District 2 seat — which carries a two-year term.
EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to both candidates. Their answers below were required to be 250 words or less.
The primary election is on May 17. The general election is on November 8.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
HOUGH: Married for 33 years, 4 kids and 5 grandkids.
I have a BA in Finance from Idaho State University. I have worked in Corporate Finance, Banking, Real Estate, Idaho State University office of Workforce Training and Digital Marketing.
I am currently the race director for the Pocatello Fall Ultra mountain bike race and am a High School Football & Basketball referee.
ELLIS: I am a native of the Southeastern Idaho. I was born in Downey when they had a small hospital there in 1975. I have since lived in Pocatello, Chubbuck and the Tyhee area in North Bannock County.
Cami and I have six children with three still at home and then we have two that are married, one in nursing school and we have two grandchildren.
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Idaho State University and I am completing a Master’s Degree.
In Idaho, some kids grow up on the farm, I grew up on a construction site. I spent my summers sweeping out houses, going to the dump and moving dirt around houses. I have been building and selling Real Estate and residential lots for most of my adult career.
I am not new to politics, this is my first declared political party race, but I spent 8 years on the Chubbuck City Council with several of those years as the Council President.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
HOUGH: Standing on the Parade Deck for my children’s graduations from basic training for the Marines, Air Force and Army National Guard were some incredibly proud moments.
ELLIS: I have accomplished some great things in my life, but I don’t know that they are so unique as to say that’s why you should Vote Josh Ellis.
I spent time as a 91 Bravo or Medic in the Idaho Army National Guard, I spent time in France for 2 years learning a language and learning to love French food. Both of these experiences gave me a deep respect for this Nation and what it represents.
I remember old French men in the park talking to me about the GI’s that liberated their country and how grateful they were for this Nation.
I have been elected to public office and voted in by my professional peers to represent them as the President of our Realtor organization.
The thing that brings me the greatest satisfaction is when I am walking in a crowded event and I hear, “Hey Coach.” I spend time coaching youth in different sports, from baseball to basketball to soccer to football. I believe we have a solemn responsibility to share our knowledge and experience with the next generation, just as was done for me by my Coaches.
Why are you a member of the Republican / Democrat / Independent / Other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
HOUGH: I consider myself to be a traditional, conservative Republican. I believe Government’s role is to protect individual rights, and provide basic services and some infrastructure for community development. Government is there to serve the people, not intrude in their lives.
ELLIS: I am a Conservative, a member of the Republican party. I believe government is necessary but that it is not the answer to all our problems today.
This is the greatest Nation on earth and with its inception, it has created more wealth and prosperity for this Nation and the world than at any other time. Before this Country, Kings and Queens and Birthright determined who prospered and who suffered. The concept of everyone being able to pursue Life, Liberty and their personal Pursuit of Happiness are paramount.
I believe in personal accountability and in being generous to those in need. I believe that government should never determine who is essential or what services are essential. However you provide for you and those around you, that is essential to you and government shouldn’t prevent you from doing so.
Please explain the role and responsibilities of the position you are running for?
HOUGH: The primary role and responsibility of a Commissioner is budgetary oversight and to act as judge in county matters (ie… land and tax issues). We also oversee several departments and work with other elected officials to coordinate county operations.
ELLIS: A County Commissioner has specific areas that they oversee, but no one Commissioner acts alone. The group of three make decisions as a body or quorum of two when determining policy and procedure within the County.
A Commissioner may sit on an individual board and have the ability to a personal vote on that board but they don’t have as a single entity the ability to direct the actions of agencies or departments. The ability of a Commissioner to collaborate is paramount when influencing policy and procedure.
The County has to manage and provide for the legal aspect of Court Proceedings, Public Defenders, Prosecutors, Conflict Attorneys. There are Highways/Streets/Roads, there is the DMV, the County Jail, the Juvenile Detention Center, the Landfill. The County has the Assessor’s office, the Clerk’s Office, the Elections Office. The County has the Ambulance levy and provides EMS services to the constituents of the county and it has planning and development services for building within the county.
What are the greatest challenges facing your county
HOUGH: Managing the current growth and preparing for the future growth without increasing the tax burden.
ELLIS: The greatest challenge in Bannock County is to determine the priorities and allocation of the resources, (your tax dollars) to provide the services mentioned above.
There are often unfunded mandates that come from the State, leaving gaps in the funding of those required services. The question always turns to taxation and the levy.
Bannock County has been experiencing growth, but growth at a slower rate than other southeastern counties. The determination of assessment values between Commercial and Residential properties has been an issue recently and with the State looking to make legislative changes, taxation models will continue to be an issue for the County and its residents.
Government is necessary, but it must also be restrained, it can’t do anything but what it takes from the taxpayer first.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
HOUGH: As Commissioner I have worked hard to increase the transparency of the County. I am active on Social Media and attend numerous community functions in an effort to be accessible. I’m good at listening to both sides and finding a solution. I will always provide someone the opportunity to be heard.
ELLIS: Government is there to provide the services that are not left to the public or private enterprise and don’t operate with a profit motive.
I believe government should follow more of a Southwest model for providing services than a Delta model, because government must take money from you the taxpayer.
As a Commissioner, the day-to-day issues and logistics aren’t determined by a political party but by determining the best and most effective way to provide services. As County representatives and employees our role will be to serve the public and to improve that service every day.
How can you encourage or improve relationships with cities and other municipal or educational entities within your jurisdiction?
HOUGH: Since coming into office two years ago, I have sought out opportunities to meet with the Mayors in our County. I believe we have strengthened our relationships so that the communication and cooperation between entities is better than it has ever been. I will continue to meet with the other entities and build those relationships.
ELLIS: Every resident lives in Bannock County, but not every resident lives in an incorporated city. The role of the County requires us to work with different entities to ensure that the needs of the residents are met in a timely and effective manner.
Cooperation and collaboration are critical when working with other entities, egos and personal agendas must be left at the door when trying to determine how best to serve and improve the services the County provides. The ability to negotiate and facilitate compromise within competing interests is critical.
What are your views on local and state media organizations. As an elected official how would you work with the media to help inform the public?
HOUGH: Local media plays a crucial role in our system. One of my objectives after being elected was hiring a Public Information Officer (PIO) to help the County communicate with the press better. Since hiring our PIO the County has been proactive in providing information about what is going on to the press.
We are looking for ways to improve our communication and now have email notifications available that individuals can sign up for. I will continue to foster that relationship with the press and the community.
ELLIS: Information needs to be made available to the public in the different forms in which they consume media content. I am committed to making myself available to the public.
One of the challenges is that not everyone consumes media and information in the same manner, I believe the county needs to look at multiple outlets and avenues when trying to reach and engage its constituents.
The post One challenging Hough in Bannock commissioner District 2 primary appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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