Rep. Kevin Andrus and Jon Goode seek District 35 seat during primary
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IDAHO FALLS – Republican incumbent Kevin Andrus of Lava Hot Springs is being challenged in his bid for re-election as a representative for District 35 seat A. Republican Jon Goode of Soda Springs also has his eye on the position.
EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each candidate. Their answers below were required to be 250 words or less.
For more information about Goode visit his Facebook page.
The primary election is on May 17. The general election is on November 8.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Andrus: I am a fifth-generation Idahoan who was raised on a sheep and cattle ranch outside of Lava Hot Springs. My wife Shelby and I have five children. We currently reside on that same ranch. Agriculture runs deep in my veins, and I have a special interest in quality livestock and properly taking care of land.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business from Brigham Young University-Idaho and my MBA from Idaho State University.
I have worked at a few ranches throughout the US, but for the last few years, I have been fortunate to work at the Andrus Ranch. It has been very rewarding having the opportunity to work beside my family and children. I also have a horse production operation that keeps us very busy in the springtime.
I volunteered for a two-year church mission in Panama, where I became fluent in Spanish.
I serve on the Bannock County Farm Bureau board and am part of the Idaho Young Farmers and Ranchers.
I have continued being active in my community by being involved politically and I am currently seeking re-election for my third term in the Idaho House of Representatives. I currently serve on the committees of State Affairs, Business, and I am the Vice-Chairman for Agriculture. I have a proven record of voting pro-life, limiting government, pro-gun, pro-education, protecting health freedoms, and lowering taxes.
Some of my special interests are horse training, pack trips, spending time with my family, and athletics.
Goode: An Idaho native, I graduated from Idaho State University in 1982 with a double major in Accounting and Finance. Shortly thereafter, I began my career as an auditor with a major public accounting firm in Boise and was licensed as a CPA in 1983.
In 1986, I accepted a Controller job for a large phosphate mining/manufacturing facility near Soda Springs, where I’ve had the privilege of remaining employed the past 36 years. During my tenure at the Soda Springs site, I’ve held various senior management roles, currently serving as Manager of Special Projects, where I focus on mine permitting, government relations, and real estate matters. A strong advocate for professional and community involvement, I served on the Board of Directors for both the Idaho Mining Association and Associated Taxpayers of Idaho for many years and am currently a Trustee for the American Exploration and Mining Association. My past community roles include elected School Board Trustee, County Hospital Board Trustee, City Planning and Zoning Commission member, Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Committee member, and I just completed my second term (eight years total) as an elected Councilman for the City of Soda Springs.
My wife, Shari, and I have been married 40 years, with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and two grandkids. I’ve traveled to nearly all 50 states and a variety of foreign countries, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a place I’d rather call home than Idaho.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Goode: Marrying an exceptional wife, coupled with having great kids and outstanding grandkids, is my proudest personal accomplishment. A close second is being involved in over three decades of community service, including School Board, County Hospital Board, Planning & Zoning Commission, and City Council. I hope I made a difference for the better.
From a job perspective, nothing can compare to spending a majority of my working career (over 36 years) at one location (Conda, Idaho) with outstanding co-workers in one of the State’s best industries (mining). I consider myself very fortunate.
Andrus: It has been an incredible opportunity serving two terms in the Idaho State House of Representatives. It has been a humbling experience representing the voice of the people in my district. I have become acquainted with so many of the great people of Idaho as I have worked to understand their needs and values.
One of my greatest accomplishments is becoming a husband and father, all at the same time. When I married Shelby, she brought three wonderful children with her and now together we have twins. Fatherhood is probably the best thing I have experienced so far in life.
I have been very fortunate to live and work in many different places as I have begun my career, but home has always been Idaho. Throughout these experiences I have worked with many people, with a lot of different backgrounds and experiences, but one thing that has never changed is my steadfastness to my values and my beliefs.
One of my greatest successes has been starting a horse breeding and training operation from the ground up. Many of my successes, I believe, have been God’s hand in my life and doing my best to follow the right direction. I was born with a general desire and ambition to serve others and make a difference for good. I am grateful for the many friends or acquaintances that have encouraged me along the way.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
Andrus: The Republican party is based on a free market and limited government. I firmly believe in these ideologies. I am a Republican because I feel like the best solutions come from individuals and businesses seeing a need and then filling the need. Competitiveness in business creates a thriving market. All too often, government “solutions” can solve one problem and create two more.
Over 440% of Idaho’s spending came from federal money this past year. To me, that is worrisome. I believe we need to be a self-reliant, fiscally responsible state. I believe in traditional values. They are what this great state was founded on and I hope to continue maintaining Idaho values.
I am for protecting personal health freedoms, agriculture, pro-life, pro-gun, limited government, and limiting taxes. I believe in being the voice of the people and representing your values.
Goode: I’m a conservative Republican who doesn’t subscribe to extremism and political theater. Being an avid firearm collector, I’m obviously a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I’m staunchly pro-life as well and will always promote fiscal conservatism. I feel one of the most important roles of a legislator is to carefully steward our hard-earned tax dollars, and I commit to wisely spend State funds, no differently than if I were spending my own money.
What are the greatest challenges facing Idahoans?
Goode: At present, the impacts of Bidenflation are a significant issue. From gas increasing well over $1 per gallon in a matter of weeks to groceries escalating 30% to 40%, Idahoans are under pressure. The Governor and Legislature wisely passed a 12% rebate of prior year income taxes earlier this year, which will offset a portion of these rampant price jumps. Inflation will continue to be a challenge, as will finding the right balance with State budgets and tax policy. My experience in finance, business operation, and government have prepared me well to conservatively steward Idaho’s resources.
Andrus: Idaho is a great place to live with our beauty in nature and healthy economy. We are the “least-regulated” state in the union and that goes a long way for our quality of life. With these attributes and many others, many people want to move to Idaho. The growth we are experiencing in this state comes with a lot of positives, but it also can cause some challenges. Some of those challenges include keeping up with water, infrastructure, schools, and health care needs. Property taxes are also increasing rapidly and some of that can be attributed to the growth in the state.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Andrus: It is an honor to represent so many great people in our community. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing what is on their mind and what they want to see improved for all of us.
My first responsibility is my oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the State of Idaho. With that commitment in mind, I try and vote to help and protect the rights for as many constituents as possible.
The greatest thing any constituent can do is let their voice be heard. I have had many conversations with individuals through email and over the phone listening to their concerns and thoughts. They can help me understand how certain legislation will affect them personally. This information is critical for me to be able to make a well informed and thought out vote.
Goode: District 35 covers a large geographic footprint – roughly 5,000 square miles. The distance from the south (Bear Lake County) to the north boundary (Teton County) is about 140 miles as the crow flies. While I have a decent understanding of constituent viewpoints in the southern part of the District (Caribou County, Bear Lake County, and a small slice of Bannock County), I’ll definitely need to spend time in Bonneville and Teton Counties to better understand their issues and concerns. In a District this size, there’s bound to be differing political views. I’ve always found sticking to the facts in any discussion will lead to some level of common ground. I may not totally align with the other person, but hopefully we’ll develop a mutual respect. This is an overused phrase, but one always must “pick their battles.”
What role do lobbying entities play in the decision-making of Idaho legislators?
Goode: I view lobbying entities as “educators” for their particular cause. Lobbying is one of several “levers” to make the legislative process more efficient by providing expertise on complex issues, however a legislator must always exercise caution to avoid getting too “cozy” with lobbyists. Any actual, or perceived, conflict of interest is to be avoided at all costs.
Andrus: The official term for a lobbyist in Idaho is a legislative advisor. They oftentimes provide great insight and information that I find helpful in analyzing bills. There are so many different and complex issues that one person cannot understand everything about every issue. They also represent organizations that are working in the private sector so they help us learn how a bill would affect those that are in the industries and local organizations.
While their presence is influential, my job is to represent the people and vote for what will best represent our needs in our district. What is good for those living in Boise is not necessarily what is best for us in eastern Idaho.
How can you encourage compromise, debate and a bipartisan approach to introducing new legislation in Idaho?
Andrus: As Representatives, we vote on many different issues and topics with not a lot of time to prepare and learn about each item. Collaboration with others to learn and hear the other side of things is necessary to make an informed decision. When one hears and listens to that information from others, it helps to promote a bipartisan approach.
Goode: A person can be more effective as a legislator if they’re willing to at least consider the opposing points of view. Being close-minded doesn’t lend itself to compromise. We all view the world through our own lens, and therefore may never reach full agreement, but even though we disagree, we don’t have to be disagreeable about it. A good friend of mine who served many years in the legislature told me of a fellow Republican legislator who once said, “We’d all be better off without the Democrats.” That mindset certainly doesn’t lend itself to bipartisanship. The Democrat legislators I’ve met seemed like reasonable people with good intentions. While I don’t align with their political leanings, I honestly feel I could work with them towards achieving beneficial legislation. At the end of the day, I’ll always stand up for what I feel is best for District 35 and work collaboratively with others to ensure they understand my position.
What parts of Idaho government could benefit from additional state funding? What part of Idaho government could be improved with financial cutbacks?
Goode: I’m encouraged by the positive developments in education spending during this year’s legislative session. The health insurance upgrade, bonus, and pay raise were long overdue. These investments in education will pay dividends by helping retain competent educators who might otherwise depart to neighboring states or leave the field altogether. If elected, I’ll work to ensure this funding trend continues.
While not a direct financial cutback, the 12% income tax rebate I mentioned earlier is a welcome relief for Idahoans here and now. Going forward, the income tax rate cut legislation that was passed at the same time will allow us to keep more of our hard-earned wages into the future. Rest assured, I’m a huge fan of reducing income tax rates and/or returning money to taxpayers when conditions allow.
Andrus: I believe that when we invest in the education of our children, we are investing in our future. I support more funding at the local level for our children for their development and growth. I especially think that we could take better advantage of technology and training for Career Technology Education. There is a lot of demand for workers in the trade jobs that would be a great fit for those that don’t thrive in traditional classroom settings.
When I think of what the government could cut back, I think about the federal money in our state. Last year, the State of Idaho had 44.5% of our budget made up of federal funds that totaled $5,019,300,000. These funds come with strings attached and it concerns me that we are losing our state sovereignty.