There’s not really a bad choice in the race for Pocatello City Council Seat 1.
All of the candidates see Pocatello’s high taxes and lack of good paying jobs as big problems and they all think the City Council’s recent decision to give itself massive raises was a bad move.
The candidates like the rest of us want a Pocatello that’s a more affordable place to live with fewer people living in poverty.
The seat’s incumbent is Pocatello City Council President Jim Johnston. He’s being challenged by local activist Chris Stevens, Idaho National Laboratory supervisor Dale Spencer and delivery driver Paul Schmidtlein.
We’re grateful to have four people with diverse backgrounds running for the City Council and they each would bring something good to Pocatello’s local government if elected.
We believe Johnston would bring the most to the table if re-elected, though there are no slouches in this race.
Johnston is a well-known local real estate agent who’s lived in Pocatello for decades and is as omni-present at community events as Mayor Brian Blad.
Johnston was one of the council members who voted against the council’s big pay raises and his institutional knowledge of the city is an important asset.
Johnston’s been on the council for nearly a decade, knows just about everyone in the city as well as movers and shakers on the state level, and is committed to solving Pocatello’s taxation and economic woes.
Johnston has an unmatched passion for Pocatello but he doesn’t mince words about the city having room for improvement.
On the one hand Pocatellans have big hearts and endless generosity when it comes to helping those in need. Our city has a small town feel, we all know our neighbors and we all care about our community.
The downside is that Pocatello’s preponderance of low-wage jobs has created a large population of people who struggle to make ends meet.
If improving Pocatello’s plight were easy, we’d all be living in mansions and driving BMWs.
Johnston knows bringing positive change to the city is not easy but we believe him when he expresses his dedication to creating that brighter future for all of us, especially the many less fortunate in our city.
Our discussions with Stevens, Spencer and Schmidtlein were constructive and they each have their own ideas of what could make Pocatello a better place. Johnston would be wise to incorporate some of their talking points into his goals if he wins re-election.
Stevens is a retired educator who also ran a non-profit organization. She wants to improve communication between City Hall and the public and boost what she believes to be the low morale of city employees.
Stevens became well-known locally for her Herculean effort last year to help get the statewide voter initiative placed on the election ballot and passed to close Idaho’s Medicaid gap. She has authored numerous columns in the Idaho State Journal proving her understanding of a wide range of issues.
We have no doubt that if elected to the City Council Stevens would bring her intellect, work ethic as well as a desire to listen and learn to the job. She is definitely someone who voters should look at as a top prospect in future elections because she has a lot to offer.
Spencer is also very involved in the community and he and Schmidtlein like all the candidates in this race are running for the right reasons and would take their roles on the council very seriously.
But being on the City Council is no easy task.
We don’t discount Johnston’s experience on the council when we look at who’s running in this race. Johnston’s a council veteran, knows the challenges the city’s facing, and is more ready than ever to face those challenges head-on.
It’s no secret that Johnston’s had some pretty serious health problems lately and he’s not shy about telling people about his battle with cancer.
He’s not only currently winning that battle, but since coming back from his recent surgery he’s more than ever a man on a mission.
His mission is to make Pocatello a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Having literally faced down a life-threatneing illness, Johnston knows that our time is short and there’s much work to be done.
We encourage voters to give him another four years to finish the work he’s already started as one of our city’s top leaders.