ISJ Logo

Our democracy wouldn’t function without people willing to run for elected office.

In the upcoming Nov. 5 election here in the Pocatello area, 18 citizens have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring. The contested races include three seats on the Pocatello City Council, one Chubbuck City Council seat and two School District 25 school board posts.

The candidates literally come from all walks of life and have a wide range of points of view.

There are incumbents like Jim Johnston, Roger Bray and Paul Vitale who are well known in the community. Among the challengers are also some recognizable names, such as Claudia Ortega who recently led the efforts to recall Bannock County officials over the countywide property reassessment, local activist and newspaper columnist Chris Stevens, financial consultant Lance Kolbet, retired teacher Arlen Walker, commercial real estate agent Don Zebe, and perennial candidate Idaho Lorax, who’s running for both Pocatello City Council and school board.

Other names on the election ballot are former school board member Jim Facer, retired civil engineer Eric Stewart, mortgage consultant Oliver Ahmu, banker Dan Heiner, Walmart employee Darell Stewart, Idaho National Laboratory supervisor Dale Spencer, insurance agency owner Ethan Ennis, delivery driver Paul Schmidtlein and resin artist Colton Peterson.

As part of our role to provide local voters with the information on the candidates needed to make an informed choice on Nov. 5, we will be writing news stories about the various races as well as editorials in which we offer endorsements on who we believe will be best suited for each post.

Our news coverage and endorsements will begin Tuesday and will hopefully start a community discussion on the candidates, generate more interest in the various races, and result in more people showing up at the polls to vote.

The Pocatello area has no shortage of issues for candidates and the rest of us to ponder these days. From the never-ending struggle to woo businesses with better paying jobs to our area, to crime, to the cost of government as well as the recent topic of whether Pocatello and Chubbuck should merge, there are a lot of big decisions to be made by our city councils and school board that will impact all of us.

The fact that we have so many people running for office in the Nov. 5 election is proof positive that this election is a very important one as far as what the future will hold in Pocatello, Chubbuck and School District 25.

By voting, you’re doing your part to help chart our community’s course.

The goal of our coverage is to arm you with the information to cast your vote.

The roster of candidates in this election provides an incredible cross section of our community and points of view covering the full spectrum.

Most of the candidates running for office will not win and they know that.

They’re still donating their time, money and energy into running for offices that in the case of the school board don’t pay anything and in the case of the city councils don’t pay much.

They’re putting themselves through all this because they feel that our community is worth it.

Please do your part by casting your ballot on Nov. 5.

Your contribution to our democracy is definitely needed if our community is ever going to reach its full potential.