County Commissioner to resign following appointment by President Trump

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POCATELLO — After less than one year as a Bannock County commissioner, Evan Frasure will soon resign after accepting a federal appointment.

Frasure will serve as the Farm Service Agency State Director, following a Friday announcement made by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

Appointed by President Donald Trump, Frasure said he will travel to Boise next week to learn the details and start date of his new position.

“I would have never thought about serving as a federal official, “Frasure said. “I was content retiring after one four-year term as Bannock County commissioner, but I was honored to be asked and I’m excited about it.”

FSA State Directors help implement USDA policies in planning, organizing and administering FSA programs in their respective states. They are also responsible for running the day-to-day activities of the state FSA office.

Secretary Perdue also announced the appointment of Layne Bangerter of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to serve as Idaho’s Rural Development (RD) State Director.

Bangerter is a rancher from Melba who previously held varied roles in the Fish and Wildlife Service and served as State Director for Senator Mike Crapo for more than 13 years. He later served as then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign lead in Idaho.

“We congratulate Layne and Evan on being appointed to these important positions that will support Idaho’s agricultural economy and rural communities,” said Idaho Senators Crapo and Jim Risch in a Saturday joint release. “Layne’s experience and grassroots knowledge of the issues facing Idaho’s rural families has prepared him to focus on the economic development, infrastructure and other opportunities for the women and men who have built their lives in Idaho’s rural communities. With his service to Idaho as a member of the Idaho Legislature, Evan’s knowledge of the challenges and needs from all corners of Idaho will be invaluable as he bridges Idaho’s agriculture community with the resources and mission at USDA.”

RD State Directors work to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America.

“These state directors will help ensure that USDA is offering the best customer service to our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers across the country,” Secretary Perdue said. “FSA and RD both play a critical role in helping the people of agriculture, and are able to connect with people in their home states. They are the initial points of contact for millions of our USDA customers. Our goal is to help rural America prosper, and these state leaders will be of great assistance in that task.”

Frasure said he will be working closely with Bangerter — someone he called a “good man and a sharp individual.”

“I certainly won’t come in and pretend I’m this experienced farmer,” Frasure said. “But we will administer a team of experts and I am confident in my ability to lead this team.”

As soon as Frasure understands the timeline of his new appointment, he said he would submit his resignation to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Once Frasure has resigned, the Bannock County GOP Executive Committee will provide Gov. Otter with the names of three individuals who have expressed an interest in serving on the County Commission. The governor will choose one of those three as Frasure’s replacement.

Commissioner Ken Bullock did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Commissioner Terrel “Ned” Tovey said he was unaware of Frasure’s nomination.

And Frasure said the appointment came somewhat as a surprise to him, too.

“Shortly after I became county commissioner, the federal government approached me and I didn’t take it terribly serious,” Frasure said. “I had just got elected and my main project was to make sure the Northgate Interchange was for sure going to happen.”

Frasure continued, “As soon as that was signed, sealed and delivered on Oct. 12, then that changed the dynamics of my willingness to accept the federal appointment.”

While his grandfather operated a homestead and farm on land that is now owned by and houses the Idaho National Laboratory, Frasure said he didn’t experience an agricultural life firsthand.

However, he said his longtime dedication to the state of Idaho in varied governmental capacities was what prefaced the appointment.

“It was a little surprising to me, but they do a heck of a background check,” Frasure said. “I’ve been a fixture in Idaho politics for 40 years from when I first started at 26 years old and have showed an ability to get in and get things done.”

Frasure is a former Republican member of the Idaho State Senate and Idaho House of Representatives, representing Pocatello from 1990 to 2002.

As a Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives, Frasure started his governmental career strong — receiving the Republican Legislator of the Year award in 1992, just his second year as a House Representative.

“They called me a very gutsy freshman back then,” Frasure said.

From 1992-2002, Frasure served in the Senate and in 2014 he was a Republican candidate for Idaho Secretary of State.

In August, Frasure passed the Bannock County Commission chairman position to Bullock, and it’s been reported he has been working from home recently. However, he said the decision to work from home had no correlation to the federal appointment, but did not comment further on the matter.

Though he said it was his plan to retire from the Bannock County Commission after one term, Frasure said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity, adding that the choice was easy considering final approval of the Northgate Project, which was something he worked on a decade ago during his time as an Idaho legislator.

“I knew that I had four years to do what I could for my home county,” Frasure said. “We got the interchange and this position puts my retirement in the same time frame.”

Frasure continued, “This gives me an opportunity to serve at another level. I’m honored, and I just can’t resist the call to serve my country.”

This story originally appeared in the Idaho State Journal. It is posted here with permission.

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