Dustin Manwaring (left) and Craig Yadon | Courtesy photos
POCATELLO — A pair of challengers have emerged, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, to replace one-term incumbent Dustin Manwaring in Idaho House Seat 29A.
Craig Yadon will face Manwaring in the Republican primary, with the victor to be challenged by Democrat Mary Shea in the November election.
District 29 includes most of Bannock County.
EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each candidate and received responses from both Manwaring and Yadon. Their answers, available 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.
MANWARING: I was raised in Blackfoot and graduated from Blackfoot High School. I earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Utah and a Juris Doctor from Drake University School of Law.
I practice law in Pocatello, assisting clients primarily in business and estate planning. I am the Vice President of Lillian Valley School, Inc., a private 501(c)(3) serving Native American children.
I have been married to my wife, Whitney, for five years and we have two children. We are active in our church and community. I previously served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2016-2018 and was reelected in 2020. I currently serve on the House Revenue and Taxation, Resources and Conservation, and Transportation and Defense committees.
YADON: I was educated in Pocatello, graduating from Highland High School and from Idaho State University. My wife and I have been married for 27 years. We have four children and are recent grandparents.
I owned and operated a specialty industrial contracting business, Guy Nielson Company, in Pocatello for 20 years that serviced customers nationwide. I recently sold this business to focus on community development in Pocatello. Our current project is in Historic Downtown Pocatello, renovating the Petersen Building. Renamed the Purpose Building, it will serve as a multi-use facility enriching our community’s future.
I’m no stranger to service.
I am a U.S. Army veteran and a chaplain volunteer at the Region VII Juvenile Detention Center. We spent 5 years, 2013-2018 as a family doing humanitarian/mission work in Thailand. I co-founded New Start Discipleship, a program developed to help released inmates get back on their feet. I also serve as a board member at our local church.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
MANWARING: Being able to obtain a post-secondary education and return to Idaho to launch my career and start my own business. This year marks the 12th anniversary of my law practice, and it brings great satisfaction thinking about all the relationships built and people that I’ve been able to serve during my two terms as a citizen legislator.
This year, I am proud to have sponsored and successfully carried important legislation relating to cybersecurity, public records, designations of authority at the Idaho state tax commission, promoting domestication and expansion of the Idaho semiconductor industry, and protecting rights in digital assets like cryptocurrency.
YADON: I purchased Guy Nielson Company on September 1, 2001. I didn’t have formal business training but had a great team of experienced craftsmen working with me. Ten days after taking over the business, our nation was attacked and the infamous day of 9/11 caused most our customers to cease maintenance work for a couple of years. At the same time our largest customer, FMC in Pocatello, closed its doors. This was a challenging time for everyone in the U.S. but felt especially so for a young, inexperienced business owner.
While our revenue was greatly reduced, I’m proud to say we weathered the storm and even managed to stay profitable.
In an effort to be responsive to our national customers, I obtained my instrument-rated private pilot’s license. This also allowed me to spend more valued time at home with my family.
It was a privilege to serve as Scoutmaster of Boy Scouts of America, Troop 731, in Chiang Mai, Thailand for 3 years. During this time my two sons earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
MANWARING: The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln and Reagan. I believe our party stands for liberty, equality, and family values. I believe the strength of our nation lies with our faith in God, the individual, and the family, and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability, and responsibility must be honored.
I believe the United States is unlike any other country on earth, the United States Constitution is the greatest and most inspired document to govern a nation and is the best guarantor of freedom in history.
I believe in equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity for all. I believe human life begins at conception and is protected by unalienable rights endowed by our Creator.
I approach decisions by using independent observation and research, contribute ideas through critical thinking, and act by leading through relationships and effort built on trust. My platform includes protecting family values and religious liberty, preserving our environment and Idaho lands and water resources, and promoting business opportunity and next generation technologies while protecting personal privacy and individual property rights.
YADON: I am a member of the Republican Party because it best matches my personal beliefs.
The Idaho Republican Platform Preamble states “We believe the strength of our nation lies with our faith and reliance on God our Creator, the individual, and the family; and that each person’s dignity, freedom and ability and responsibility must be honored.” It talks about how the USA is exceptional and unlike any other country on earth.
It is our belief that life begins at conception. Encouraging individual initiative and recognizing free enterprise has brought our nation opportunity and prosperity. Republicans believe the government is a servant of the people, not our master and that the most effective government is one closest to the people.
Idaho Republicans believe our state sovereignty must be protected and government is best that governs least. The party believes we should preserve our national strength and pride while working to promote peace, freedom, and human rights throughout the world. Idaho Republicans believes the protection of individual rights is upheld when personal responsibility for behavior is exercised and that this platform is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive, successful principles of government. I wholeheartedly believe and support these ideals.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
MANWARING: While Idaho is blessed with so much to praise, we also have our challenges. As we continue to grow at a fast pace, we are challenged with investing enough resources in education, infrastructure, expanding broadband access, and preserving our natural resources and agriculture opportunities for future generations.
We can get through these challenges and others with careful planning and prudent, conservative decision-making. We must not compromise or use a pandemic as an excuse for failure to educate our children or to establish and maintain a general, uniform, and thorough system of public, free common schools as the Idaho Constitution requires.
YADON: I believe one of the greatest challenges facing Idahoans is that many of our current Republican lawmakers don’t support and vote in accordance with the Idaho Republican Platform. If this continues, we will end up like the liberal, woke states we see across our land.
Another challenge we must face is to reduce our dependance on the federal government. Federal dollars always come with strings attached and impact Idaho’s ability to direct funds where we best see fit. Idaho needs to focus on our natural resources and recognize our citizens are its biggest asset.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
MANWARING: I approach policy decisions by three core principles. I ask whether the policy or approach protects Idaho families, promotes small business, and whether government must be involved to solve the problem. I also try to understand the financial and other impacts including to our Idaho water and other natural resources.
My constituents are diverse in my legislative district. I seek to represent all perspectives using the best available facts and research and make decisions that are in the best interests of Pocatello and Idaho.
YADON: I believe the best way to represent the constituents of Idaho’s District 29 is by keeping them informed and being up front about who I am to begin with. Many people in our area assume we are represented by conservatives, but when one looks under the hood you find the Republican incumbent consistently votes contrary to the state Republican platform.
In theory, everyone has access to what is happening in the legislature, but it is very cumbersome to wade through the info. I commit to keeping District 29 informed as to what is happening in Boise and providing an open line of communication. When principles of conservativism are followed, they allow for the maximum freedom for citizens to pursue their own course in life.
What role do lobbying entities play in the decision-making of Idaho legislators?
MANWARING: The number of lobbyists in Idaho is small and for the most part they understand the only currency they have is trust. Lobbyists are often good at helping gather and provide information on diverse subjects, and the best ones can speak straightforwardly about all sides of an issue.
Lobbyists have a job to do for their clients and generally just want to know where a legislator stands on the subject. Sometimes the pressure is a lot, but it is best to keep in perspective that it is not personal, and lobbying is a business like anything else. This helps me make sure I am not ever unduly influenced and making decisions based on what is best for my constituents.
YADON: Nobody is an expert on every issue making its way through the legislature, so lobbyists can play an important role by educating lawmakers on the issues facing the various sectors in Idaho.
What we see in practice is many of our lawmakers accept contributions from these lobbyists and become dependent upon their support. This cozy symbiotic relationship gives lobbying entities undue influence over our lawmakers. My goal in running for the state legislature is to protect Idaho citizens from government overreach and to ensure it’s only providing those critical functions, which individuals or private organizations cannot perform. I don’t have grand political aspirations that lobbyists might try to dangle in front of me.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
MANWARING: I have worked for two terms as the only elected Republican in my district by focusing on doing what is right and not what is politically convenient. I seek compromise if the result is for the greater good and do not believe this means you must give up your beliefs, values, or opinions.
This year and last year I sponsored bipartisan legislation with my democratic seat mate. When we chose our floor seats, we choose to sit next to each other. We visit often and discuss how policy will impact our district and even though we do not always agree, most of the time we are aligned on the issues to best represent a vote for Pocatello. I believe all new legislation should have early bipartisan support and even in a state where Republicans have a supermajority in the legislature, there is a better chance of ultimate success if legislation is vetted and supported by members of both parties and more people are involved and participating in the process of drafting and understanding each other’s motives early on.
YADON: As a candidate who believes in the Idaho Republican Platform, I would always encourage fellow Republicans to refer to our core party beliefs when considering new legislation. When we keep in mind that every dollar the government spends is a dollar that had to be taken from the taxpayer, it should sober us and keep lawmakers from being attracted to unnecessary spending.
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
MANWARING: While we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into education over the last several years, there is still more we can do to provide excellent education and increased student achievement and a prepared workforce. Every dollar invested in early childhood development, including reading, math, and science, will return great dividends for Idaho. Every child should have broadband access, tailored mentoring from cradle to career, and inherit a state that is cleaner, safer, and filled with more opportunity to live in and raise the next generation of Idaho families.
We should invest more in physical and mental health, and substance abuse programs. Sustainable management and support for the advancement and development of energy resources, like nuclear and hydro, will help us meet the growing needs of Idaho. We must also continue to work on criminal justice reform and reducing the costs of imprisonment, along with reducing regulations and barriers so that health care and childcare is accessible and affordable.
YADON: We want to have robust law enforcement and emergency service systems as well as first class education institutions. We are already overtaxed so any additional funding for programs needs to come from within the existing budget.
Government is notorious for inefficiencies at the administrative level, so we need legislators willing to hold them accountable.
The post Two challengers emerge as Manwaring runs for second term in House Seat 29A appeared first on East Idaho News.
Two challengers emerge as Manwaring runs for second term in House Seat 29A
Dustin Manwaring (left) and Craig Yadon | Courtesy photos
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