East Idaho Elects: Rep. Van Burtenshaw and Jud Miller seek District 35 Senate seat
RIGBY — The retirement of longtime Republican Sen. Jeff Siddoway (R-Terreton) has left an open seat that two Jefferson County Republicans are vying to fill.
Terreton native Van Burtenshaw, who is currently a Legislative District 35 representative, and Jud Miller, a retired Upper Valley physician, are both hoping to be the next District 35 senator.
Siddoway, who has served in the Idaho Senate since 2006, announced his retirement during the 2018 legislative session. He has endorsed Burtenshaw to replace him.
District 35 encompasses Jefferson, Fremont, Butte and Clark counties.
Rep. Van Burtenshaw
Rep. Van Burtenshaw, a farmer and rancher from Terreton, has served in the Idaho House of Representatives for the past four years. Now he’d like to try his hand at being a senator.
One of the reasons Burtenshaw is running is in memory of his father, former Idaho Sen. Don Burtenshaw.
“My dad was a state senator at one time and that was the first thing that peaked my interest,” Burtenshaw said. “This wasn’t something I sought out necessarily, but as the opportunity presented itself I just stepped forward.”
As a representative, Burtenshaw says his main focuses have been on resource management and agriculture. He sits on the Resources & Conservation, Agricultural Affairs, and Appropriations committees.
“Each of those has a real interest for me,” he said. “We are struggling with water issues throughout the state and that has been a huge interest of mine in trying to solve those problems.”
Agricultural issues that are important for Burtenshaw include: recharging the Snake River Plain Aquifer, preventing invasive species in Idaho’s water resources, such as the quagga mussel, and working with farmers to help prevent disease and improve the quality of their crops.
Burtenshaw believes being involved in decision-making about taxes is an important job for a legislator.
“The amount of taxes that come in and the amount of money you appropriate to varies agencies — that’s a fine line to walk,” Burtenshaw said. “But we try to be thrifty and frugal during the budget process.”
Burtenshaw says he is pro-life, believes strongly in the Second Amendment and is a firm believer that the U.S. Constitution is an inspired document and should be used daily when legislators work on new laws. Burtenshaw also loves the Gem State.
“I love Idaho. I don’t want to live anywhere else,” he said. “This is where I live and this is where I choose to raise my family.”
Burtenshaw is married and has five children and 12 grandchildren. For more information about the candidate click here.
Retired Upper Valley physician Dr. Jud Miller is a advocate for smaller government and ensuring voters and legislators are educated on the principles of good government found in the U.S. Constitution.
“I’ve been fascinated to study the principles (of the Constitution) that work,” Miller said. “And they apply on a state level and a local level and that’s the reason I’m in this race – to try and bring some of (these principles) back into our system locally.”
One of Miller’s major concerns is that the Idaho Republican Party has divided itself into a conservative and a moderate faction. He believes there are a significant number of Republican lawmakers who have been drifting from the principles of the party.
“The moderate Republicans are voting for more regulation, bigger government and more spending all the time,” Miller said. “That’s a big concern for for me and it’s one of the reasons I’m in this race. I’d like to join that small group of conservative voters (in Boise) to help pull things back.”
Miller believes many legislators go to Boise or Washington D.C. and find themselves moving to the left side of the political spectrum.
“All too often the Constitution gets put on the shelf because of pressures from special interests or party leaders,” he said. “Those pressures cause a person to drift … and I beleive that’s because they don’t keep the Constitution on their desks. I want to be sure I’m anchored in those things so I don’t drift.”
Miller’s background in medicine has also given him a keen interest in solving the healthcare problems in the state.
“The costs are increasing and Obamacare has not been kind to us,” Miller said. “It hasn’t delivered what it promised to deliver.”
He says answers to the healthcare problems don’t necessarily involve bigger government, and that good healthcare isn’t something people need the federal government for.
“The concept that government has to take care of our healthcare needs is in my view a false dilemma,” Miller said. “There are other options. I’ve haven’t been there yet, and I don’t know all the options, but that will be my primary focus of study.”
If elected, Miller says he will make communication a priority. He wants to regularly email his constituents to teach them about the constitution and about things he’s doing for them.
“The more legislators reach out to constituents, the more they will be educated and known what how to evaluate a good candidate,” he said.
Miller is married, has five children and 29 grandchildren. For more information about Miller click here.