Republican Tony Manu and Independent Nate Stewart compete for Bannock County Sheriff

Tony Manu and Nate Stewart | Courtesy photos

POCATELLO — Two men are looking to serve as Bannock County sheriff for the next four years.

Republican nominee Tony Manu is currently serving in the position formerly occupied by Lorin Nielsen. He retired earlier this year to run for county commissioner.

Nate Stewart, a local businessman, is challenging Manu. sent the same eight questions to each candidate. Their unedited responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less.

Visit Nate Stewart’s Facebook page to learn more about his campaign.

Tony Manu does not have a campaign page.

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

Manu: I’ve been married to Kimberly Manu for 29 years and we have four boys. I came to Idaho in 1986 out of high school on a football scholarship to Idaho State University. After four years at Idaho State University I started my career at the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office in 1992. I am the current Bannock County Sheriff. I currently volunteer on the board of directors for Southeast Idaho youth football (over 20 years), board of director for CASA, Salvation Army, coach varsity football at Highland high school, high school basketball referee. Involved in the community as much as possible.

Stewart: I am a caring husband and father. I run my own business remodeling and inspecting homes. I worked in the Bannock County Jail from around 2011 to 2015. I have lived in Bannock County my whole life and have served many different people in many different capacities and will continue to do so the rest of my life.

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

Stewart: I love to push myself beyond what I thought to be possible, I love goal setting and fulfilling those goals. My proudest accomplishments apply to my family and seeing our goals be accomplished whether it be seeing our business grow, to seeing my child learn to read. I see personal growth as such a wonderful accomplishment and cant wait to see the growth within my community as well.

Manu: Marrying my high school sweetheart and having four boys together is the proudest moment in my personal life. Establishing and building my wife’s own preschool building so she can influence children ages 3-5 years old. Professional life: working through the ranks and toward the ultimate goal of becoming the sheriff of Bannock county sheriff’s office for a community I care about wholeheartedly!

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

Manu: I grew up being around the military life where most seemed to be conservative. Being raised as Air Force brat for over 20 years was influential in being part of the Republican Party. I honestly didn’t understand politics at the time but I seemed to align with the conservative mentality. My position as sheriff should truly be a non-partisan position because a sheriff should not be swayed by a political agenda. The focus should be on all the people who we govern and serve and instill the power to the sheriff.

Stewart: I am an Independent candidate because I believe I am running as a public servant to Bannock County, and not to a specific party, or people within the party. I propose to change the way the law enforcement program is run in Bannock County. I wish to make it more effective, and not just about punishment. We need to stop managing problems, and start solving them.

What are the greatest challenges facing your county?

Stewart: I believe that our government has become larger than it should be. Instead of seeking the wisdom and help of the community, they micromanage everything they can and leave out the voice and knowledge of the people. In return, we are left with high costs and sub optimal results.

Manu: Serving and protecting MORE efficiently and effectively with fewer resources in a climate of declining support nationally while attempting to regain the nations trust is the greatest challenge. This is the current national mindset toward law enforcement. Thankfully, the Bannock County community is very supportive. But, we still need to examine our own agencies to ensure we do not make some of the questionable decisions made by other agencies (no matter what side of the coin a person believes) and continually strive to serve better, protect better and earn the trust of our communities every single day.

Mental health is another major issue with limited resources to combat. This is a big problem and needs to be addressed at the local and national level.

How is your party’s ideology better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than those of your competitor?

Manu: There is no specific party ideology that best fits dealing with these issues. These problems are not prejudice to any party. This is a people problem. PEOPLE who make good and bad decisions as law enforcement officers, PEOPLE who interpret the decision of the law enforcement officers, PEOPLE who decide how to react to the interpretation of the decision, PEOPLE who mitigate the outcome of the reaction of the people and the decision made by the officer. We as people need to collectively mitigate these events in a peaceful, intelligent and unbiased way. Hold people accountable for their actions and strive to do better for the PEOPLE of the community. I believe all people, no matter the party affiliation, want the same thing: safety, security, good health, and a strong sense of community.

Stewart: I don’t owe anyone anything. Because I am independent, I hope to send a message that I would work for the citizens of Bannock County no matter the party affiliation. I think that is what “government” used to mean. The polarization of the main political parties has grown so large that it misrepresents the good that is in all people no matter the party affiliation.

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

Stewart: If I was voted in, I would expect that to mean that a majority of the people in Bannock County have a similar vision. No matter the political party, we all want to see Bannock County grow to be a better place than it is. We want to see it as a safe place for all people and generations to come.

Manu: My constituents are of the same mind set. We strive to SERVE the community and strive to earn the trust of the community every single day. Be accountable to the resources of the people who instilled their trust in us to use their resources to best serve them. No other way to look at it for me.

What trait, attribute, or experience do you possess that best qualifies you to manage public employees and handle public funding?

Manu: I am very community oriented and very open about how I serve Bannock County. I love to engage with the community and with the employees of the sheriff’s office. I believe in being straight forward and honest with the employees and the community regarding the sheriff’s office. Public funds are where the public entrusts me to be a great steward of the people’s money. I take this responsibility very seriously and strive to align the spending in a responsible and transparent manner and instill this belief among administrators who assist with managing the yearly budgets.

Stewart: I would never in my wildest dreams try to manage any employees. I believe in solid and proven leadership principles. You create an environment where they can thrive and be happy coming to work each day. In most cases, they know more than the “managers.” I don’t “manage” people. That’s a huge problem in many organizations.

As far as public funding goes, I am not sure what the budget is each year. If it’s like I think it is, the funding is in the red, and more is asked for every year. I plan to tweak the system in specific ways so that we don’t have to ask for additional public funds and possibly bring in revenue.

What are your views regarding the role of the media in covering your county? How can you best work with local reporters to ensure coverage of the issues?

Stewart: I don’t really watch the news much. I think the role of media is very influential. This could be good or bad. I believe the role of the media is to represent all, not just some. The media should present factual content to the public, and leave opinion or personal bias out. I do not think media should draw political lines, or be so polarized. I think our local stations do a good job of this, and I hope they continue to stay this way.

Manu: Media is a very important partner in the day-to-day duties of the office. The media is an outlet for the community on so many levels. For the office, the media can be an important tool for emergency information to the community, help in informing the public on a high profile case or a simple/minor case. It can send out warnings, alerts, evacuations, etc.

The media also plays a role in keeping our day-to-day service to the community accountable. Educating our deputies on how the media can be your best friend or your worst enemy is a very true statement, but a great tool to keep law enforcement agencies and leaders to constantly evaluate our practices.

Media is an important partner in the SERVICE of the community. I enjoy partnering with them and intend to utilize the media when appropriate.