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East Idaho Elects: Two candidates competing to be District 31 Seat A representative in primary race

East Idaho Elects

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IDAHO FALLS – For District 31 Seat A, Republican incumbent Karey Hanks of St. Anthony is being challenged by Republican Jerald Raymond of Menan in the upcoming primary election.

EastIdahoNews.com sent them both the same eight questions. Their answers below were required to be 250 words or less.

Democrat Connie Delaney of Salmon is running unopposed in the primary for the House seat. Republican Van Burtenshaw of Terreton is running for re-election as a District 31 senator.

District 31 includes Lemhi, Clark, Fremont and Jefferson Counties.

The primary will be held on May 17. The general election is on Nov. 8.

Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.

Hanks: I am a graduate of Idaho Falls High School and Ricks College.

After taking time to raise a family, I enrolled at Brigham Young University-Idaho and fulfilled a personal goal, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2011. 

Me and my husband, Burke, are the happy parents of seven children and 17 grandchildren. We live in Egin Bench, where we’ve farmed for 34 years. 

I’ve served my community as a Boy/Cub Scout leader and faith representative at the Juvenile Correction Center. I have also been involved with other service opportunities, including an internship at the JCC while attending college and chairing committees to build elaborate floats for the Pioneer Day parade in St. Anthony. I’ve been active in the Fremont County Republican Central Committee and the Fremont County Republican Women for many years. I am currently a member of the Jefferson County Republican Women.

I’ve completed four triathlons, and my hobbies include skiing, biking, sewing, and baking (especially with her grandchildrens’ help). 

I’ve served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives, and I’m a founding member of the Idaho Freedom Caucus. I support the Idaho Conservative Agenda (2021/2022). I am also a member of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, and enjoy target shooting and staying actively involved in protecting our Second Amendment rights.

Raymond: I am a fourth-generation Idahoan. My wife (Cheri) of 45 years and I have six married children and 24 grandchildren. We both have lived in Jefferson County our entire lives and educated our children in the Jefferson County school district.

Cheri and I both graduated from Rigby High School and attended Ricks College. We are in the livestock industry and own/operate a feedlot near Menan.

In addition to parenting and church service opportunities, I have had leadership experience in the Farm Bureau Federation, the Idaho Cattle Association (past president), and as a former county commissioner, serving as chairman for four years. I also served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2019 to 2020.

What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?

Raymond: Definitely our family! Our children are successful in their own right, are good citizens, and are teaching our grandchildren correct principles. Our involvement in the livestock industry has allowed us to travel nationwide and has given us opportunities to meet new friends and learn new techniques of animal husbandry.

Hanks: My best accomplishments include raising great children, earning a bachelor’s degree, and serving the people of the communities in what is now District 31 for four years.

Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/other party? Briefly explain your political platform.

Hanks: I am a member of the Republican party because, in principle, this party most closely adheres to the tenets of the U.S. Constitution. I support the Idaho Republican platform as well. My platform is reflected in my votes in support of our RIGHTS as Americans and Idahoans: individual and family rights, land/water/property rights, preserving our First and Second Amendment rights, school choice for our children, and the ability to prosper in a free market, with few regulations on our businesses and agricultural operations.

Raymond: Not only am I a fourth-generation Idahoan, but I am also a multi-generational Republican. I was taught conservative principles by my parents and both sets of grandparents. As business owners, we understand the value of money, risk and balancing budgets. I am fiscally conservative, socially conservative, and adhere to the principles of our founding fathers.

What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?

Raymond: Idaho is a conservative state with some liberal neighbors. Protecting and enhancing Idaho’s values requires keen leadership. Growth is here, and we must manage it, or it will manage us. This will require common sense and hard work. Our forefathers had a good sense as to where to invest for the future. Those efforts must not be lost on us! We must seek opportunities to invest in our children and grandchildren’s future.

Hanks: Several challenges face Idahoans. Among them are first, overreaching governmental control. This has partially been facilitated by apathy, and our natural inclination to trust that our elected officials always have our best interests foremost in their decisions. In my short time in the political realm, I have seen the power of lobbyists and big-business interests determining which issues are brought for introduction and debate. (However, our citizens are paying more attention, and that is a good thing!) Elections have consequences.

Second, and related, is the tax burden on our citizens, and especially our families. I supported property tax reform and other tax relief. We could have sent back a big chunk of the $1.9 billion state budget surplus. Instead, money was appropriated to any agency or department that requested it, the increases arguably for wants — not needs. Representatives of our citizens should vote in accordance with the best interests of these citizens.

How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?

Hanks: I represent the views of my constituents through communication, and adhering to the principles of my platform, outlined above.

Raymond: I do not have all of the answers to our challenges, but I know folks who have had great learning experiences to glean from. While previously serving in the House, Rep. Furniss, Sen. Burtenshaw and myself communicated on a regular basis on how legislation would affect our constituents. That kind of dialog is essential and will be commonplace once I am elected. One can learn a lot by listening, studying, and asking questions. It’s a pretty narrow-minded man who thinks there is only one way to see things. That being said, my core values will never be compromised. My pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and family values will rule the day.

What role do lobbying entities play in the decision-making of Idaho legislators?

Raymond: Lobbying in Idaho is very different than in Washington, D.C. Each lobbyist has an obligation to his/her sponsor to help legislators understand the consequences, both intended and unintended, of legislation that affects their respective businesses. Lobbying techniques vary from lightly suggesting to in-depth educating to outright blackballing and holding legislators hostage to a scorecard. I have little/no use for the heavy-handed style of lobbying.

Hanks: Hanks didn’t respond to this question.

How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?

Hanks: Hanks didn’t respond to this question.

Raymond: I could share several examples of working “across the aisle” on issues that affect rural Idahoans. We must remember that our work should benefit our constituents, regardless of party persuasion. One thing that I have found helpful is to share experiences with others and let them see an issue through my lens, then ask if they could help me better understand some of their issues. Why would someone support my issues if I am not willing to understand theirs?

What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?

Raymond: I prefer to use the term “appropriate funding” rather than cutback or additional. Every government entity can, and should, seek to cut excess expenditures and utilize every dollar appropriated to the fullest extent. That being said, education must be a high priority as it is our future! Our children are our future! Education displaces poverty. We must invest in our infrastructure, i.e. roads and bridges. We cannot leave this to our children to “figure out.” Deferred maintenance is deficit spending. As our state grows, so will law enforcement challenges. Appropriate funding for our men and women in blue is a must, including our local elected law enforcement officers. In Idaho, we produce more food products than we consume. Therefore, export markets beyond our borders are essential. In the next few months, the livestock industry will witness three new harvest facilities becoming operational. This will require appropriate funding for scale certification, ISDA lab work, brand department, etc. These are but a few of the many examples of our “tax dollars at work”, work being the operative word. As Jimmy Stewart stated in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Let’s take a momma dollar and a pappa dollar and pray they have a family real quick.” If we invest our tax dollars wisely, they will be a benefit, not a burden.

Hanks: Hanks didn’t respond to this question.

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