EAST IDAHO ELECTS: Rep. Ron Nate and Doug Ricks seek District 34 seat

East Idaho Elects

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Doug Ricks, left, and Ron Nate at a during a candidate forum hosted by the Madison County Republicans in 2016. In that primary race, Ricks got 49 percent of the vote. Now he and Nate are running for the same seat again. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

REXBURG — No, you aren’t experiencing a case of déjà vu. The Republican candidates who squared off in 2016 for Idaho House of Representatives in Legislative District 34 Seat A are running again this year. We got to know both of them a little better — check out our interviews with them below.

Be sure to vote in the May 15 primary. More information can be found here.

Doug Ricks

Doug Ricks grew up in Rexburg and was raised on his family’s farm. After graduating from college, he continued to farm for a short time before opening the first computer store in Rexburg in 1987. The store ran for 13 years. After selling the property, he took a job at Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he currently still works after 19 years.

“Currently, I work in the disability services office as an administrator,” Ricks said. “I work, specifically with assistive technology, so using technology to help students that have disabilities. If they’re blind or deaf or dyslexic or different types of reading disorders, then I help them.”

Ricks and his wife, Melissa, have five children and four grandchildren.

“My platform is to, I think, properly represent the values of the people of our district, Madison and northern Bonneville,” Ricks said.

He said he believes health care is the biggest issue the Idaho Legislature is facing, especially finding a solution to fixing the Medicaid gap.

“That’s probably the most challenging solution that, I think, the Legislature has is to try to help out those in the gap and to try to keep premiums low and not try to increase the Medicaid burden on the state,” he said.

Ricks announced his candidacy for the Idaho House in February. He narrowly lost to incumbent Ron Nate in 2016 winning 49 percent of the vote.

“I’m a Republican — I’m true blue — I’ve been a Republican all my life,” Ricks told EastIdahoNews.com in a previous interview. “I follow the example of my father who was a legislator for 16 years and also served as lieutenant governor for a short period of time. And also, my grandfather was a representative for the state of Idaho.”

Voters can visit Ricks’ website at dougricks.com.

Rep. Ron Nate

Rep. Ron Nate moved to Rexburg in 2001. Nate is a professor of economics at BYU-Idaho. He received his doctorate in economics from the University of Connecticut. Nate grew up in Salt Lake City. He and his wife, Maria, have four children.

“My focus is on improving education by raising teacher pay, expanding choice and removing mandates,” Nate told EastIdahoNews.com. “Also, restoring freedom to Idaho by becoming less dependent on the federal government and protecting individual rights.”

He said part of restoring that freedom entails greater economic freedom and prosperity.

“We need to get government off the backs of small business,” he said.

Nate said one of the biggest issues the Idaho Legislature is facing is improving education. To be able to do that, he said, Idaho needs to get and keep good teachers and limit regulations on education to a minimum.

“Also, defending Idaho against a broken federal health care system,” he said. “We should be dismantling Obamacare, not expanding it.”

Nate was elected to the Legislature in 2014. During that time he said he has fought against Obamacare, supported higher teacher pay, proposed legislation to return control to school districts and expand school choice, and proposed lower taxes.

“I’ve done everything I’ve said I would do,” he said.

Nate has been a part of the local Republican party since 2004. He was the Madison County Republican Party chairman for a time and worked as the rules committee chairman for the state GOP. He also served as an elector of the Idaho electoral college in 2016.

“It’s an honor to serve District 34,” Nate said. “I’ve had success working for the citizens of Madison and Bonneville counties getting their legislation passed.”

Voters can visit Nate’s website at nateforidaho.com

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