East Idaho Elects: Christensen, Loertscher and Mossman vying for District 32 seat B
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IDAHO FALLS — In rural Legislative District 32, which runs from Bear Lake County to Teton County, three candidates are vying for Seat B – one Republican and two Independents.
Newcomer Chad Christensen won the May Republican primary, ousting 30-year incumbent Tom Loertscher.
Now Loertscher is running a write-in campaign as an independent. Ralph Mossman is also running as an independent. Both men appear on the ballot as write-ins.
Chad Christensen was a member of the Army Reserve for 12 years and served as a military police investigator. He was also a parole officer for a time.
Christensen said he decided to run because of his belief that Loertscher, his opponent in the race, has been blocking bills such as Stand Your Ground and Constitutional Carry and other pro-gun legislation.
“I’m not trying to talk negative about him, but I don’t feel he’s a voice for the people,” he told EastIdahoNews.com. “I just feel it was right for me to step up and do it and be a voice for liberty and for people’s rights.”
Christensen said he believes he is a real constitutional candidate.
“I believe that government should have limited power — both federal and state,” he said. “Especially right now. The federal government is too intrusive into our lives. I feel Idaho is too attached to the strings of the federal government.”
He said he believes the main purpose for the government’s existence is to protect people’s rights.
“The right to own a firearm, the right to freedom of speech, the right to parent the way they want,” Christensen said. “Right now I think that the government is too involved with trying to control our children.”
He said he believes the biggest problem in the Legislature is lawmakers following what their leadership and what the governor wants rather than what the people want. He said committee chairmen should not have the power to block bills without a vote.
“I see legislators — a lot of them say, ‘Hey, I’m for limited government,’ but when you look at their voting (I say), ‘No you’re not,'” he said.
Learn more about Chad Christensen at his website chadforidaho.org.
Rep. Tom Loertscher is a farmer-rancher from Bone. He was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives District 32 Seat B in 1986 and despite losing in 2002 after being redistricted, he was re-elected in 2004 and has served in the Legislature ever since. He also served as a Bonneville County Commissioner for six years prior to being elected to the Legislature.
“The biggest issues to me are taxes and water,” Loertscher told EastIdahoNews.com. “I’ve been spending a lot of time the last few years coming up to speed on water issues, and I think I’ve gained an expertise there.”
Loertscher said he has also worked on property rights issues and has helped legislation passed addressing that; however, he still believes it is an ongoing issue in Idaho.
“Of course, I work on a ton of other things as well,” he said. “I previously served as the chairman of the Health & Welfare Committee. I worked on a lot of health and welfare issues.”
He said one of the first things he accomplished with the Health & Welfare Committee was getting the Catastrophic Health Care Fund. The fund alleviated much of the financial burden on individual counties and helped keep property taxes low.
“Without the Catastrophic Fund, we’d have broken a lot of the counties because, in some cases, medical bills were exceeding some of the smaller counties’ entire budget,” he said.
Loertscher said he makes sure he protects Idaho’s rural counties.
“Things don’t work the same in Montpelier as they do in Boise,” he said. “One of the things I always look for is how legislation affects our rural communities. That will continue to be one of my big efforts.”
Loertscher and his wife, Linda, have eight children and 37 grandchildren. They have lived in Bone and worked on their ranch there for almost 50 years.
Loertscher graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in accounting and served in the Army Reserve for six years.
You can follow Loertscher on his Facebook page Tom Loertscher for State Representative.
Ralph Mossman is a small business owner from Driggs. He and his wife run Heron Glass, a glass art design business. He has lived in Idaho since 1978. Mossman said he is running specifically in opposition to Christensen.
“I was surprised by the results of the primary election,” Mossman said. “I felt like Chad Christensen needed an opponent.”
Education would be Mossman’s primary focus if he is elected.
“I would like to see more support for education at all levels from pre-K all the way up to secondary school (and) college,” he said. “I would like to see more equality of education across the state so that wealthier communities don’t end up having better schools than poorer communities.”
According to Mossman’s website, he has served on the Economic Development Council in Driggs and served in the Driggs Chamber of Commerce. He is currently serving as a member of the Driggs City Council.
He received a Bachelors degree from Hampshire College.
Learn more about Mossman at his website ralphmossman.com.