IDAHO FALLS — Two Idaho Falls Republicans, Kevin Cook and Adam Frugoli, are looking to replace longtime Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, who announced he isn’t seeking re-election. They want to represent District 30, which encompasses a section of Bonneville County.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com sent the same seven questions to each Legislative candidate. Their responses were required to be 250 words or less. Their answers are listed below.
Tell us about yourself. Please include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Cook: I grew up on a farm, working hard during the week and fishing, hunting, camping and hiking on weekends.
I graduated from a public high school and later from Weber State University with a degree in Computer Science.
I worked in the private sector for several years and then came home one night to announce to my family that I had quit my job to follow my life-long dream of owning and operating my own business, which I did for several years. I am currently employed at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as a software developer.
For the last five years, I have been volunteering at the local middle school on my day off to help eighth-graders improve their reading skills. I am passionate about education and want to give our Idaho kids greater educational opportunities. It is my dream to fill every Idaho job with a trained, skilled, and educated Idaho student.
Growing up on a farm gave me a great appreciation for agriculture and an awareness of how critical our farmers are to our economy. I want to provide greater international exposure for our agricultural products.
I have a great love for hunting and target shooting with my family. I am pro-guns, pro-Second Amendment, and will fight to defend our right to own and bear firearms.
Frugoli: My name is Adam Frugoli. I’ve spent 20 years in the insurance and financial services industry. My last 12 years in this industry have been as vice president of one of the largest insurance brokerages in the country.
I’m very proud of my family. My wife, Stephanie, and I have been married 19 years. We have two teenage daughters that attend Bonneville High School.
My volunteer work includes spending 10 years on the board of directors, including serving as chairman of the board for one of east Idaho’s largest charter schools. I have also been vice chairman of the Idaho School Boards Association. I currently serve on the executive board of The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, representing hundreds of area businesses.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Frugoli: I have several accomplishments I am proud of. The first is my defying the odds and becoming successful, despite being raised on welfare by a single mother and an absent father who both had a history of substance abuse.
I’m proud of the school I have helped build that helps hundreds of families each year. Its helped hundreds of children reach their potential regardless of how little or how much money they come from.
I’m proud to have been named one of Idaho Falls’ Distinguished Under 40 by the Chamber of Commerce.
I’m proud to be a product of capitalism. It’s helped me build a life and family I am proud of. I never imagined I would be living a life so far removed from how I grew up.
Cook: I have two awesome accomplishments:
1. Marrying my best friend 31 years ago has been the smartest move I have ever made. I have four wonderful children, two awesome sons-in-law and three of the greatest grandkids in the world. It’s been a great trip and one that I would do over 100 times.
2. The day I quit my job to pursue my own business was one of the scariest times of my life, but it was one of my greatest achievements. I have always dreamed of owning and operating my own business. I have grown through the process of making payroll, jumping through government regulations and finding the next contract. It has been a great success! This experience will give me insight and experience when representing small businesses as your senator.
Briefly explain your political platform and/or legislative goals if you are elected to office.
Cook: I am a conservative Republican. I believe the purpose of government is to provide only those things that I cannot provide for myself. With that in mind, I believe it is imperative that we keep our government small, fiscally responsible and limited in its reach, particularly with the free market. Improving education, lowering property taxes and eliminating the business personal property tax will benefit individuals and small businesses alike.
Education — My goal is to provide greater educational opportunities for our students, to include expanding their opportunities to earn college credits while in high school or learning a trade or skill to increase their opportunities as they enter the workforce.
Property Tax — The ever-rising price of housing is a double-edged sword. For those who want to sell and move on, it is a great blessing; for those who are on a fixed income, it is a curse. I believe the answers are out there, and as we work together, we can find a resolution to this problem.
Small Businesses — Small businesses are the backbone of Idaho and our nation. We need to continue to eliminate regulations and reduce taxes so small businesses can flourish.
- Jump start Bonneville County’s economy
- Protect the lives of the unborn
- Protect Second Amendment rights
- Comprehensive Property Tax Reform, including provisions to keep senior citizens from being taxed out of their homes
- Fix Idaho’s failing schools in favor of an Idaho-centered solution
- Strengthen Idaho’s laws against domestic violence
What are the greatest challenges facing your district?
Frugoli: The situation in our district has changed from just a couple of months ago. Unemployment is skyrocketing and I am fully prepared to address spiraling unemployment, as my first priority will be getting people back to work. The next step is to prevent the taxing of people out of their own homes in order to encourage economic growth and start Bonneville County opening up again economically. (66)
Cook: Idaho’s economy was roaring until the COVID-19 pandemic. There is so much uncertainty, and many people are struggling to pay bills or keep their jobs during these challenging times. The downturn of the economy will affect the state’s budgets. The next legislative session is going to be extremely difficult for lawmakers as they balance the state’s budgets while being responsive to those who are struggling financially.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents — even those with differing political views?
Cook: I have always made it a point to have an open mind and listen to others. I genuinely enjoy hearing conflicting views. From day one of this campaign, I have reached out to people from different walks of life. I believe by listening to those with differing opinions we will find some common ground and together we can act on it.
As a legislator, I will continue to reach out to others to hear the views of all. I will use my problem-solving skills that I have developed in my professional career over the last 35 years.
Frugoli: I don’t believe that any one political party has a trademark on good ideas; they can come from any source. It’s a matter of being humble enough to listen to your constituents and doing what is best for Bonneville County.
What is your philosophy on dealing with special interest groups and/or lobbyists?
Frugoli: I feel there is too much attention paid by career politicians to special interest groups and lobbyists. I believe special interest groups should be limited in their financial contributions to political campaigns, especially out-of-state special interest groups.
Cook: Lobbyists and special interest groups certainly have a role in the lawmaking process. An effective legislator will weigh those opinions, conduct research on their own and most importantly, seek the input of their constituents. A true statesman will listen to all opinions, but put the needs and interests of their constituents first. (52)
What are your views regarding the role of the media in covering Idaho’s political landscape?
Cook: The media can play a huge role in educating the public with the facts. I believe lawmakers should foster a positive working relationship with the media because the benefactor of that partnership is a better-educated and engaged public.
Frugoli: Freedom of the press is essential for our republic. I think our local journalists are doing their best covering politics. It is an invaluable service to the people in our area. While I would like to see more coverage, I think it has come a long way over the years.