Jeff Hough and Lisa Alexander | Jeff Hough and Lisa Alexander
POCATELLO — Republican Jeff Hough and Democrat Lisa Alexander are going head-to-head in the Bannock County Commissioner District 2 race.
Hough is the incumbent commissioner and Alexander was the chief elections deputy in Bannock County and has spent years as a campaign manager.
To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each candidate. Their unedited responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less.
Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.
Alexander: I am grateful to live in Bannock County and love calling Idaho my home. I was raised in Chubbuck, received a good education attending SD25 schools, and went on to graduate with a BA in Political Science from Idaho State University. I am the mother of three grown children, and my work experience includes managing the Bannock County Election Office. I am actively involved in my church and have volunteered with Christmas in the Nighttime Skies and Historic Chesterfield for several decades. I choose to live in the area in which I was raised because I admire the people and appreciate the opportunities we have as Idahoans to receive a quality education, work, prosper, and enjoy nature.
Hough: I’m a Lifelong Bannock County resident. I have been married for 31 years and have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. I have a BA in Finance from Idaho State University and have worked for J.R. Simplot, 3Com, First Security Bank, and Idaho State University. For the past 4 years I have run my own digital marketing agency. I sit on the board for the Pocatello Sports Committee and have coached and been a referee for high school sports for 20 years.
What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?
Hough: Personally, having three of my kids serve in the Military has been a great honor. In my professional career, one of my greatest accomplishments came while working at ISU in the Workforce Training Department. I led the development and creation of the first online training program for teachers that allowed them to earn professional development credits. In the first year of the program, we served over 400 teachers throughout the state.
Alexander: I am proud to have raised three children who are responsible citizens and who are actively working toward their goals and education. I have enjoyed working alongside my husband to start a local business that values its employees and offers competitive wages and health insurance. I am also proud to have been involved in politics for many years. I have loved volunteering for candidates and helping guide their campaigns.
Why are you a member of the Republican/Democrat/Independent/Other party? Briefly explain your political platform.
Alexander: I believe that all people are equal and should be treated with respect. I believe that we have a responsibility to protect our environment and ensure that our posterity has the opportunity to live in a clean and beautiful world. I also believe that it is our responsibility to provide a quality education so that our young people can learn, grow, and prosper. These are values that align with the democratic party and which I strive toward.
I think that as Commissioners we can do better. I am proactive and will work to rebuild the public’s confidence by being open, forthright, and accessible. I am fiscally responsible and will work toward the efficient use and careful application of each tax dollar. I also support good ambulance service in the county, working proactively with our Health Department, and access to public lands. During this pandemic, working proactively with the Health Department can ensure public safety while helping groups and individuals as they plan events.
Hough: I consider myself a traditional, conservative Republican. I believe government should protect people’s God given rights, not infringe upon them. I am fiscally conservative and believe Government has a responsibility to be prudent with the use of taxpayer money. I also believe in personal responsibility, the 2nd amendment and that Government should be more transparent.
What are the greatest challenges facing your county?
Hough: I recently ran a survey on Facebook about the top issues in the county. The number one issue was economic development. The greatest challenge our county faces with that is changing attitudes and helping the smaller communities prepare for growth. With my experience in economic development, I feel I am in a unique position to help connect people with resources to foster growth.
Alexander: The two issues that I routinely hear about from Bannock County citizens are taxes and the utilization and funding of the Wellness Complex. As commissioners, it is our responsibility to provide ‘the best bang for the buck’ where tax dollars are concerned. Careful scrutiny of expenditures and thinking outside of the box is required to keep costs down. The Wellness Complex is capable of self-funding through such things as increased community events at the amphitheater and fair grounds. Bannock County has great cities and good leaders; we can all work together to protect the interests of the county and ensure that every precious tax dollar is spent wisely.
How is your party’s ideology better suited to dealing with these unique challenges than those of your competitor?
Alexander: I believe that there needs to be balance on the Bannock County Commission. As an educated woman and as a Democrat, I can provide that balance. A fresh perspective on the commission will facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues and the ability to see issues from different angles. I will also bring with me a logical thought process. When making decisions, I apply the following criteria. 1) Who does it give something to? 2) Who does it take something away from? 3) Are there going to be unintended consequences? I plan on applying these criteria when approaching each issue that I face as a commissioner.
Hough: The Republican ideology supports independence, entrepreneurship and fiscal responsibility. I grew up with a father who ran a small business for 50 years. The principles he lived by and instilled in me are what separate me from my competitor. The government should be here to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity for success, not an equal opportunity for a handout.
How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?
Hough: One of the qualities I bring to the job is an open mind. I am always willing to listen to the other side of an argument in hopes of finding the best solution. I often tell the people I work with I don’t care who gets the credit as long as we put the best possible product on the table. One thing I have learned from being a referee is that you will never make everyone happy. Sometimes you have to take the information available, make a decision and move on. I’m not afraid to admit I’m wrong and because of that, I’m willing to listen to opposing viewpoints.
Alexander: One of my best attributes is my ability to bring people together and create agreements that work for all involved. A lot gets done when we work together. I believe that everyone’s opinion matters and needs to be heard. I will work across party lines to facilitate a welcoming and impartial forum for the citizens of Bannock County, thus providing dignified balance.
What trait, attribute, or experience do you possess that best qualifies you to manage public employees and handle public funding?
Alexander: My experience managing the Bannock County Election Office gave me wonderful insight on how counties should be run. It was here that I learned the importance of knowing the Idaho Statutes and working within their authority. I am fiscally responsible and will be a good steward of taxpayer money by ensuring that money is allocated carefully, wisely, and judiciously while providing the best services possible.
Hough: Once of my strengths is my financial analysis background. Government needs to adopt some business sense and evaluate spending like a business does. With this background, I plan on implanting a financial analysis component to all of the major projects we undertake. If the project doesn’t meet our financial goals, we will look for a better solution. Another attribute I have is my ability to build high-performing teams. During my time as a High School Basketball coach I experienced many successes by getting people to work together. By using those skills in the business world, I have experienced similar successes.
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?
Hough: I believe the media plays an important part in helping inform the public. During my time as commissioner I have done a weekly video chat where I share information about things learned and decisions made. It has been well received and I look to continue the practice.
I would like to form working relationships with local reporters where there can be an honest exchange of information. I am committed to being as accessible and forthright as possible. I realize we may not always have the same point of view, but if the information is presented as fairly as possible, I can live with that.
Alexander: The media provides an essential role in educating the public and acting as a watchdog of government. I can best work with local reporters by letting you know of upcoming issues and events and ensuring that I am available to answer your questions. I will be honest with you. Whenever possible, I will accommodate the media in order to let you do your job. Perhaps during this pandemic, we could start by setting up a weekly phone appointment or meeting regularly using a format such as Zoom.