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Two new candidates challenging for State House Seat 29B

Nate Roberts and Jake Stevens
POCATELLO — With current Rep. James Ruchti running for State Senate, two new candidates are vying to replace him in the Idaho House of Representatives.
Democratic candidate and Ruchti-endorsed Nate Roberts is a former workforce development educator at the College of Southern Idaho. Jake Stevens, the Republican Candidate, is an Idaho State University alum with experience in IT and cybersecurity.
The 2022 general election will be Nov. 8. sent both candidates the same eight questions. Candidates were required to keep each answer to 250 words or fewer. Roberts did not complete the questionnaire. Stevens’ answers are listed below.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
STEVENS: I have been married to my wife Jordan for just over six years and we have 2 sons, ages 5 and 3.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from ISU in 2016. I earned my MBA with an emphasis in Information Technology Management.
I am a Sr. Systems Analyst for a crop science company in Southeast Idaho. My job entails designing, building, maintaining, and securing industrial grade data networks in manufacturing and mining environments.
Although my educational background is in IT and cybersecurity, I am fortunate to spend a lot of time working outdoors on some of my projects.
Additionally, I’ve had the pleasure of serving in the United States Army Reserve for almost 6 years now. I am a Chief Warrant Officer specializing in tactical network management (255N).
*Jake Stevens is a member of the Army Reserve. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
STEVENS: I am first and foremost proud of my family and my role as a husband and father. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have had to work in a field and for organizations that I enjoy and that have afforded me the ability to provide a living for my family. I am proud to be a member of the United States Army Warrant Officer Cohort.
Why are you a member of the Republican / Democrat / Independent / Other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
STEVENS: I am running as a Republican. The Republican party stands for limited government, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty. Many Republicans do not govern according to these principles unfortunately, but I believe strongly in sticking to these ideals as outlined in the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Idaho.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
STEVENS: Outrageous taxation (property tax, income tax, grocery tax) and unnecessary/excessive government spending. Federal overreach. Consistent growth of the size and scope of government. Radical indoctrination in schools to include radical gender theory, divisive rhetoric with regard to race, and inappropriate sexual content.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
STEVENS: Taxes are too high for everyone, regardless of political views. The state of Idaho, as well as many counties and municipalities, could operate and perform the legitimate functions of government with a fraction of the revenue they are currently taking from hard-working taxpayers.
I will advocate for dramatic reduction in taxes and elimination of the grocery tax and property taxes. I will fight to protect the rights of everyone to operate their businesses and hold jobs without the fear of forced shutdowns or mandates. I will work to protect the rights of parents to be involved in their children’s education decisions.
What role do lobbying entities play in the decision-making of Idaho legislators?
STEVENS: The majority of lobbyist entities represent the interests of large corporations, not the people of Idaho. There are some that deserve to be consulted regarding bills that fall into their area of expertise. For example, bills that have to do with water rights and farming may justify input from organizations who represent the farmers. However, when consulting with any lobbyist it is important to keep in mind that the purpose in doing so is to understand the implications of legislation on the people of Idaho, not that of special interests. I will never be beholden to any lobbyist entity.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
STEVENS: Many Democrats in Idaho claim to support property tax reform. I am personally of the opinion that property taxes should be eliminated entirely in the State of Idaho and that the necessary, legitimate expenditures they currently pay for should be replaced with existing sales tax that would be made available by eliminating spending in other areas, such as socializing broadband expansion. I am open to hearing other bipartisan ideas for dramatic reform or elimination of property taxes regardless of what side of the aisle they come from.
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
STEVENS: Law enforcement and mental health resources are some of my greatest concerns for our community. I am not sure that additional state funding is necessarily the answer but I do think the state should start by ending the practice of creating “unfunded mandates” for counties and evaluating what might be done for the mental health crisis.
Some will argue that education isn’t “properly funded.” Idaho spends around $8,000 per kid per year for public school. I send my kids to private school that includes before and after school childcare plus it’s all year round, smaller class sizes, and has far better performance than government schools. I pay less than $6,000 per year per kid. The problem isn’t funding, it is fiscal irresponsibility.
Nearly every government entity could be improved with financial cutbacks. Idaho ranks in the top five in the United States for education spending as a proportion of state budget.
The post Two new candidates challenging for State House Seat 29B appeared first on East Idaho News.

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