EAST IDAHO ELECTS: Two candidates running for mayor of Island Park
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ISLAND PARK — Island Park Mayor Tom Jewell has opted not to run for reelection this year, which has opened the position to two new contenders.
Former Ammon Mayor Bruce Ard, who now lives in Island Park, and current Island Park City Councilman Mike Bogden are running for the mayor’s office.
The election is Nov. 5.
Mike Bogden has lived in Island Park for the past seven and a half years. He’s served on the Island Park City Council for four of those years. He said he’s always been someone who enjoys being outdoors camping and hunting, which is why he loves living in Island Park.
“I’ve always been a camping guy so moving up here has always been something I’ve wanted to do because it’s the environment I like,” Bogden said. “Everyday is kind of like living in Disneyland for me up here.”
He decided to run because he would like to involve the city council more than they have been in the past.
“(Mayor Tom Jewell) has been doing a good job and I want to continue what he’s been doing. But I want to work towards getting the council more involved in making decisions,” Bogden said.
He believes some of the issues facing Island Park are the complicated development code, housing for people who work in Island Park full-time and fees the county charges the city for services such as garbage disposal.
“I don’t think this city needs a lot of government. People move up here to basically get away from too much government. There’s a lot of freedom up here,” Bogden said. “I think people are looking for efficient management on how to deal with the issues that we do have.”
To address some of those issues he said he’d like for the city to adopt a development code similar to Idaho Falls. He’d like to see how new businesses plan to house the employees they’ll bring to Island Park. Also, he plans to lobby the Fremont County Commissioners to reduce the fees they charge the city.
“I really love the people up here. My goal is to simply serve them and do things for them and try to be the kind of person they can count on to make the best decisions,” Bogden said.
Bogden does not have a website or a political social media page.
Bruce Ard has a great deal of political experience. He served as the mayor of Ammon for 21 years and as an Ammon city councilman for 24 years. He also chaired the Ammon Renewal Committee for around 10 years.
He’s owned property in Island Park for 15 years and has been a full-time resident of the city for the past two years.
“I was encouraged by quite a few of the people out in the community to run,” Ard told EastIdahoNews.com. “It looks like something I can do to give back to the community.
Ard said he chose to live in Island Park full-time because of the lifestyle.
“It’s a little slower paced. It’s a community where everybody before long knows everybody at least who they are. I want to preserve that for the people. That’s an important part of why they choose to live here,” Ard said.
He said he believes one of the biggest issues facing Island Park is how quickly it is growing and being developed.
“I learned a long time ago that development is going to happen. It’s a matter of whether you step up and manage it or whether it runs over the top of you,” Ard said.
He believes if the development and growth are managed correctly the current lifestyle of those living there can be preserved.
Ard said his experience working with the Bonneville County Commissioners and the connections he’s made with state agencies would be beneficial to the people of Island Park if he’s elected.
“I have no bones to pick with anybody. I’m doing this so that I can give back to the community. I’m a big believer in service to the community, or where you live. My son certainly showed that in our family. That’s the way he was raised,” he said. “If you have abilities and talents you should share them with the community and that’s what I’d like to do.
Ard’s son Army Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard was killed during a combat operation in Afghanistan in August.
Ard does not have a website or a political social media page.