Sanders will run for commissioner
Jim Sanders, the son of former county commissioner Bill Sanders, has announced his candidacy on the Democratic ticket for the District 1 Elmore County Commissioner's positon, currently held by Mary Egusquiza, who is not running for a second term.
He will be unopposed on the primary election ballot.
Sanders said he has been interested in the position for some time. "Mary and I discussed it before she ran, and I wouldn't run against her. When she decided not to run, she let me know right away."
A lifelong resident of Mountain Home, Sanders said he was running because he wanted to become more involved. "I've had people over the years ask me (to run) a lot of times, and I decided this was the right time. My father was a commissioner years ago and I hope to be able to do the job at least half as well as he did."
Sanders has few problems with the existing county commissioners, saying "I think there's an excellent group of people there."
He sees land use, water and emergency services as the key issues facing the county, as well as finding a workable compromise on the dairy issue.
"Everything is growing so fast, we can't keep up," he said.
On land use issues he said he hopes to encourage development to stay fairly close to the town and not move toward the airbase.
Water is a major concern.
"I don't think anybody really knows how the aquifer will handle all the building and other uses," he said, noting that in the future water is probably going to be the limiting factor on development and more study needs to be done about the actual availability of water in the area.
Sanders, who has served on the county extriction crew for 30 years, says he sees the county facing a major increase in emergency service needs. "I think we're getting close to reaching the maximum that we can handle."
He believes the county's decision to abandon running the ambulance service and to contract for the service was a mistake. "They lost a lot of good people" when the change was made. "If a company comes in from out of the community they don't care as much as the people living here. I think it was handled better before, even if it costs more money."
The county also needs more deputies on the road.
Proposed developments on the Ada/Elmore county line, especially in the Mayfield area, concern him because of the lack of emergency services available, in particular fire and police protection. "There's no way to stop" the growth there, he said, "but we need to be better prepared for emergency services. It's a long way for an ambulance or deputy to go right now."
Sanders, who is married to his wife, Debra, is a member of the Assembly of God church in Mountain Home. He also is a member of the local Elk's lodge and has served as a deputy and city police reserve officer.