Chubbuck has two strong candidates for its lone contested City Council seat in the Nov. 5 election.
Banker Dan Heiner and Walmart employee Darell Stewart are vying for the position being vacated by Annette Baumeister, who’s leaving the council with the intent of running for Chubbuck’s mayoral post in two years.
Heiner and Stewart bring very different strengths to the table.
The commonalities between them are their love for their community, their desire to maintain its bright future and their desire to extensively study the proposed merger between Chubbuck and its bigger neighbor Pocatello before doing anything to move forward with that contoversial idea.
Like the rest of Chubbuck’s 15,000 residents, Heiner and Stewart will need to be convinced any such consolidation of the cities makes financial sense before lending the plan any support.
In a lot of ways Heiner appears to be the stronger candidate in this race. He has extensive banking experience and a past that includes leadership positions with the local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary. He has economic development experience with Bannock Development Corp. and other organizations.
Heiner also has questions about the financial feasibility of Chubbuck’s ambitious future plans, which at present include a new City Hall and new police and fire stations. There’s been a lot of talk about Chubbuck adding a state-of-the-art aquatic center and the city’s library also wants a new building.
In addition Chubbuck wants to develop its own downtown area centered around the medical campus being built in the city.
An overarching optimism and an ability to get on the same page to at least agree on big projects has noticeably separated Chubbuck’s city government from Pocatello’s leadership.
Stewart is less skeptical about those big projects than Heiner and sees opportunities for Chubbuck to grow and become an even better place to work, live and raise a family.
Unlike Heiner, Stewart is a lifelong Chubbuck resident. He’s worked at the Chubbuck Walmart for 14 years and we’d dare say that he more represents the city’s demographic than Heiner.
Stewart said he’s running because a couple of years ago friends suggested that he’d be a good addition to the City Council.
Since then he’s attended pretty much every city meeting held, from council sessions to advisory boards to even meetings to discuss the proposed new police station.
Stewart boasts that he’s attended more Chubbuck meetings than anyone in the past two years and we believe him.
We’re impressed with his approach to running for office in that before he threw his hat into the ring he wanted to learn as much about his city government as possible. He’s approached running for City Council with the same work ethic that earned him the rank of Eagle Scout at the young age of 13.
Having the 34-year-old Stewart on the City Council would add a younger voice to the mix as well as someone with the strong desire to make the kind of informed decisions that Chubbuck residents want from their leadership.
Stewart says that his number one priority as a council member will be making sure that Chubbuck residents know that their local government is of and for the people. He won’t be one to ever blow off citizen concerns and that responsiveness is what American government needs more of these days.
There’s nothing arrogant about Stewart and we firmly believe that if elected he’ll approach his role on the council with humility, a determination to learn the job, and a strong desire to listen to the concerns of Chubbuck residents and make decisions based on those concerns. He will be a servant leader — and that’s another thing American government needs more of right now.
Chubbuck residents should be thankful that they have two excellent choices to fill Baumeister’s council post.
Stewart and Heiner’s hearts are in the right place and they’re running for the right reasons.
We feel that Stewart’s the best choice because he’ll add a voice to Chubbuck’s city government that we feel is currently lacking.
It’s the voice of the average Chubbuck resident who loves their community and doesn’t want to be taken for granted.