Every once in a while, but not too often, I hear that someone is running for public office and I think — that’s a perfect fit. I feel that way about Chris Stevens’ candidacy for the Pocatello City Council.
Her grasp of issues both city- and state-wide is demonstrated in her weekly opinion columns in the Idaho State Journal. She writes clearly about everything from the local Northgate issue to the expanded Medicaid that state Republican legislators are doing their best to avoid instituting.
While many are climbing on the Northgate bandwagon, only Chris and councilman Roger Bray have asked where the money to pay for its infrastructure will come from.
Not only has no one else stepped forward to join their questioning, no one has tried to explain how policemen, firemen, trash collectors and others necessary to a smoothly-running neighborhood will be paid. This has been the most significant exhibition of tapdancing since the Bill “Bojangles” Robinson-Sammy Davis Jr. reunion.
Much has been made of Pocatello’s high property taxes, which is as it should. The biggest use of our property taxes is to fund the city budget. Currently, city departments submit what they need or want and the city asks taxes to pay for it all.
Chris suggests zero-based budgeting, which is putting tax revenue together, allocating that money to departments, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Chris likens it to a home renovation. You can easily figure out how to spend a million dollars, but if you have a $50,000 limit, you are forced to make hard decisions. Hard decisions must be made about the city’s spending.
Chris headed the Bannock County Medicaid Expansion campaign. She saw a need, which was many locals frozen out of medical benefits because of the amount of wages they did, or did not, earn, and acted on it.
At any event or activity I attended, she and other campaign members were there to solicit signatures for their petitions. When the measure made it on the ballot, Bannock County voted for expanded Medicaid. Indeed 60.6 percent of the entire state supported it.
There is more, much more. Chris has other ideas to streamline city government and make it more transparent. But these are parts of her candidacy that are key to me. I will vote for Chris Stevens for the Pocatello City Council, and I urge you to do the same.