State Representative Jerald Raymond faces challenger Karey Hanks in District 35 Seat A
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IDAHO FALLS – Incumbent candidate Jerald Raymond faces challenger Karey Hanks in the race for District 35 representative, seat A, which covers portions of Butte, Clark, Jefferson and Fremont Counties.
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.
Raymond: My wife and I have six married children and 23 grandchildren, all of which we are very proud of.
I graduated from Rigby High School and attended Ricks College. We have been in the livestock business our entire adult career.
We have volunteered in our local church, Farm Bureau, and I am a past president of the Idaho Cattle Association. I have served on a local canal board for over 35 years, and as a board member for the Jefferson Mosquito Abatement District. I served two terms as a county commissioner and one term as a state legislator.
Hanks: A fourth-generation Idahoan, I have lived in the Egin area near Saint Anthony for 36 years where my husband and I raised our six sons and one daughter on our family farm.
I hold an associate’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University -Idaho.
I previously served as a Republican member of the Idaho House of Representatives in 2017-2018. Additionally, I have served as a faith representative at the 5-County Detention Center and as an intern at the Juvenile Correctional Center.
On the volunteer and service front, I have taught Constitutional principles and distributed thousands of copies of the U.S. Constitution to numerous schools, students, scout groups, and adults.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Raymond: Our family would have to be what I am most proud of. I am particularly pleased with how our children have coped with and handled the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hanks: Without a doubt, I am most proud of my family and raising seven amazing children with my husband, Burke. Additionally, I strive to be a good neighbor and serve my friends and neighbors. Also, I was very proud and humbled to serve as our district’s representative and work for the people here in this wonderful area.
Briefly explain your political platform, and/or legislative goals if you are elected to office.
Raymond: I currently serve on the Agricultural Affairs, Business, and Education committees. All have been negatively affected by the economic downturn. It will be a great opportunity to play a role in bringing the state back to the financial powerhouse it was prior to March 2020.
I particularly want to see the momentum with education continue, as that will play a vital role in Idaho’s success. Leaders of the House and Senate Education Committees signed a letter to the State Board of Education and the State Department of Education outlining the need for standards reform as it relates to Math, Science, and English Language Arts. It also addresses the need for updating testing methods for Idaho students. You will find my signature on that original document.
Representative Furniss and I have also been selected by the Governor to co-chair a Teacher Benefit Working Group. Finding a path for school district employees to have affordable health insurance for themselves and their families is one of our highest priorities.
Hanks: We must preserve our traditional family values, property rights, and our 2nd amendment rights. We need to review and reform state regulations to determine the effectiveness of our state agencies and eliminate unnecessary burdens on our citizens and businesses. We need to protect and preserve our property/water/land rights, including protecting our dams, grazing rights and access.
I am an American and unequivocally will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. I am a proud Idahoan and fully support and stand behind the Constitution of the State of Idaho. I am a true Republican and, as such, support the platform of the Idaho Republican Party. I also support the 2020 policies of the Idaho Farm Bureau.
In short, my political platform is guided by my faith, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions, and the principles of natural law, free-market economics and liberty.
What are the greatest challenges facing your district?
Raymond: Our constituents are wondering what their lives will look like in six months, one year, or five years. It will be our charge to give everyone hope in Idaho’s future.
Budget issues will be paramount as we move into a new phase of growth for Idaho. While it is too early to predict what budgets will look like, it is of utmost importance that eastern Idaho has good representation and fights for our share of those funds relating to transportation improvements, economic development, and education.
As we put current challenges behind us, it will be very important to support our local businesses.
Hanks: Well, it varies… While Jefferson County (especially the Rigby area) is exploding with growth, Butte, Fremont, and Clark counties are losing people and have weaker economies, which in turn affects the tax base and services. Even so, we are not receiving the attention, support, or funding for our infrastructure that the more urban areas of Idaho receive — like Ada (Boise) and Canyon (Nampa) counties.
We have highways in dire need of repair or improvement. Our citizens, especially our older citizens, are having a more difficult time keeping up with ever-increasing property taxes.
We need to cut back at the state level. The state legislature continues to appropriate and increase funding for agencies and departments that are NOT the proper role of government, which in turn places additional strain on local budgets with ever-changing funding formulas. This favors state entities, not local communities. The budget for the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare, for example, has ballooned from $533 million in 1999 to $3.6 billion today! Such budget increases leave fewer dollars for Constitutionally mandated expenses, i.e. education, law enforcement, roads and bridges. I believe we, the people, can spend our own hard-earned money much better than the government.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Raymond: Every person has a right to his/her personal opinion. We all look at life based on our experiences and how we look through the prism of life.
I have always tried to be an intent listener and understand others’ points of view. To those with whom we agree, we simply move on and try to accomplish our common goals. To those with whom we disagree, well, we sometimes have to agree to disagree. In those cases, one simply has to try and accomplish what is the greater good for the most constituents.
In all cases, communication is king! I reach out each week during the legislative session with a newsletter and request for input on issues of interest and importance.
Hanks: I believe in serving your fellow man. As such, actual service is the best way to serve the good people of Jefferson, Butte, Fremont, and Clark counties – regardless of one’s political views.
As a public servant, I will seek to truly represent the district and work for my constituents, not special interest groups or Boise bureaucrats. I will work to keep the people informed, answer their questions, and address their concerns. Even now, I serve our district and communities by providing pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution to thousands of local students and community members along with a presentation on Constitutional principles.
I continue to send out regular newsletters via email to inform and help keep citizens up to date on legislative news and other important information affecting our communities and state.
I have volunteered with various community outreach efforts to provide educational materials (e.g. the U.S. and Idaho constitutions, Ezra Taft Benson’s essay on The Proper Role of Government, The Law by Frédéric Bastiat, or Lawrence Reed’s I, Pencil) to civic groups, educational institutions, and the public in general.
Listening, upholding the state and U.S. Constitutions, and truly being a servant of the people is what being a state representative is all about.
What is your philosophy on dealing with special interest groups and/or lobbyists?
Raymond: I always strive to be respectful of others, including special interest groups and lobbyists, and expect the same in return. My vote and/or influence is not for sale to anyone. My constituents are my prime focus.
Hanks: I have an open-door policy and am willing to meet or visit with anyone. I find value in what everyone has to share. We all have different experiences and expertise. I do my best to engage and listen and to ensure that I have as much information as possible to make well-informed ethical decisions.
As one can see from my list of campaign contributions, the overwhelming majority of my donations come from friends, family, neighbors, constituents, and fellow patriots who love liberty and put their trust in me. Sometimes, I receive donations from folks with very limited means who want to support me – it is very humbling and touching. I am not in the pocket of big-business or big-government. I am in no one’s pocket.
My actions and votes are just that – MINE. They are guided by the principles and ethics, which I have shared above, and the good people of district 35, not some special interest group or corporate lobbyist.
What are your views regarding the role of the media in covering Idaho’s political landscape?
Raymond: The media has a unique role in informing the general public about all things of interest and in the public’s safety.
As it relates to the political landscape, it is, in my opinion, simply a matter of open communication and honest dialogue that will be in the best interest of Idaho’s citizens. For either party to harbor hidden agendas would not be in the best interest of Idaho or its people.
Hanks: A free press is paramount for the success of our republic, and, as such, I fully support the freedom of the press as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. We all have sources we trust. Obviously, the local media has influence. However, the media is not always without bias. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us – the people – to do our part, to be diligent in educating ourselves, and be informed. I encourage people to check out our websites, review our voting records, and call if you have questions.