Sunday, June 26, 2022

Ben Robertson

| May 12, 2022 1:00 AM

• Party affiliation: Republican

• Age: 36

• Profession: Railroad maintenance/farmer

• Educational background: Graduated from Bonners Ferry High School; attended 1 year at University of Idaho

• How many years as a Bonners Ferry resident: Lifelong resident

• Marital status: Married for 15 years

• Family: Wife, Amy; two kids, Emma, 9, and Hank, 5

• Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors with my family

  1. My first priority would be to learn as much as I could about the inner workings of the government in Boundary County. I would visit every county department and talk to the employees that work there, not just the department heads. I would find out from them what is going well and what improvements they see are needed to make the county run more efficiently.
  2. No. 1 — Rapid growth and the lack of a consistent plan for managing that growth.

No. 2 — Jobs and lack of job growth to meet our growing population. The greatest export in our county is our young people, we need to provide employment so they can stay here and not leave the area to find work.

No. 3 — Increasing crime rate, especially drugs and theft.

  1. No. 1 — Growth is going to happen whether we like it or not. We need to focus on having higher density housing near the population centers in the county and creating the infrastructure needed for that while keeping as much land as possible for agriculture and timber use.

No. 2 — We need to promote job growth in our county. We have two transcontinental railroads running through our county and they are rarely used. We need to see ourselves as a great place for businesses to become established.

No. 3 — We need to properly fund our law enforcement. We run a skeleton crew here in Boundary County and that needs to change. Also, if we had more high quality jobs, people would be less likely to turn to crime.

  1. I don’t care for impact fees on new development. When a new home is built, it generates tax revenue by expanding the current tax base. I feel if we have a plan that places the majority of our growth near existing infrastructure, many of these problems will be alleviated.
  2. To be honest, I don’t think our current county government has ruined our county. That being said, we could definitely do better. We need to do a better job at managing growth, work harder to establish jobs so our young people can stay, and place funding where it is most needed.
  3. The most critical issue is the lack of exposure to our county residents on the issues that we face as a county. There seems to be a disconnect between our leaders and the residents of Boundary County. I would address this by being very open and accessible to answer any questions that may arise. I would do my best to reach out and tell everyone about the issues we are facing. I believe that if we can all work together, we can come up with great ideas that will benefit Boundary County.
  4. Unfortunately, most people that I have been interacting with during this race are not very informed on local issues. Many are informed on state and federal issues, but we are facing problems much closer to home. These issues range from our county having a hard time recruiting and retaining employees due to wages, to our landfill getting full, to not having enough funds allocated to law enforcement for them to be properly staffed. Why don’t the residents of Boundary County know about these issues? The answer is that it is easier if the general public is not aware.
  5. The harshest criticisms I anticipate are my experience and my supporters. It’s true I don’t have experience as a county commissioner, but as a fourth-generation resident, I have witnessed and lived the joys and discomforts of life in Boundary County. I have countless volunteer hours in the county, and I have operated my own business here for many years. I have done much to prepare myself for the responsibility this position brings. As for who supports me, I have said it before and I will say it again, I’m here to serve Boundary County. ALL of Boundary County. I don’t care what end of the political spectrum you identify with, you have a voice with me.
  6. Every candidate should be asked, “What have you done to improve our community prior to running for office?”

My answer: I believe in volunteerism in action and love of our community. I currently sit on the board for the Boundary County Fair, Bonner/Boundary Cattle Association, Paradise Valley Grange, FFA Alumni, and Technical Advisory Committee for the agriculture program at the high school. I value these organizations and work hard to make our county a better place for everyone.

  1. Times have already changed — we must be willing to adapt. I love this county, unfortunately it is beginning to look unrecognizable. We need to manage the continuing growth with responsible, well thought out ideas. My goal is not to stop growth, but the properly place housing developments to preserve our valuable agriculture and timber ground. We need to support local jobs so that our young people can stay here and not be forced to move away. We need someone who has a vested interest in the future of Boundary County. I love this community, and I hope that I am not the last generation of my family to be able to call this great place home. I will strive to continue the values and traditions of our great county while keeping an eye toward the future.

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