Election 2012: Local candidates highlight issues
In the weeks leading up to the May 15 primary election, the Mountain Home News highlighted those running for local, state and federal office. Information on each candidate is based on questionnaires submitted by the newspaper staff to each individual.
Pete Nielsen -- Idaho House of Representatives, Legislative District 23-B
An incumbent representative, Nielsen is seeking his sixth term of office in the state legislature. He is one of three Republicans running for the seat in District 23, which now includes Elmore County as part of the state's legislative redistricting plan.
The winner of the May 15 race will face a Democratic challenger during the November election.
His political career started in 2002 when a group of people asked him to run for office. He accepted the challenge, in part, due to his concerns of the U.S. government's " socialistic trends," he said.
"I have studied the U.S. Constitution since my high school days and have been concerned about the socialistic trends that we have been embracing," Nielsen added. "I wanted to preserve and return to a more conservative form of government so that you, along with my loved ones, can enjoy freedom."
Specifically, Nielsen emphasized the need "to stop federal encroachment into our lives (and) continue to live within our state budget without raising taxes."
According to Nielsen, the U.S. government must understand the root causes that force the U.S. dollar to lose its value. It's important for elected officials to ensure that people's money continues to maintain its value without the risk of loss through inflation, he said.
He will introduce and support legislation that will foster personal freedom in addition to promoting the state's financial and economic stability.
Turning to other issues, he wants to put parents and locally elected officials more in control over education in places like Mountain Home with the goal of fostering student achievement. At the same time, Nielsen is seeking to foster the state's business environment by help attract new businesses to Idaho.
A staunch supporter of the U.S. armed forces, he quoted the words of President George Washington, who said the best way for a nation to remain free from attack is to have a strong military.
"Mountain Home Air Force Base is integral part of part of our military," said Nielsen, who highlighted his continued support of the local Air Force base and those who serve here.
"I'm asking the good people of District 23 for their vote because I have a proven record to back up what I have proposed," he said.
Nielsen's goal is to continue the state's goal of fostering prosperity, freedom and opportunity for those who call Idaho "home."
"I have a deep love for the state of Idaho and understand our part of Idaho because it has been my home for (nearly) all my life," Nielsen said.
Steven Millington -- Idaho House of Representatives, Legislative District 23-B
Millington is one of four people running to become a representative with the Idaho House of Representatives with Legislative District 23's in the representative "B" seat.
One of three Republicans running for the seat, the winner of the May 15 race and will face a Democratic challenger during the November general election.
Categorizing himself as "a part-time cowboy and a full time Idahoan," he remembers reading a message on a billboard sign that simply read, "If not me, who? If not now, when?" That message continued to resonate with him until recently when he had the time and resources to actively seek political office.
"You may have heard the phrase 'pay it forward,' " Millington said. "Serving in the legislature isn't about me. It's for those future generations -- your grandchildren and my grandchildren. I believe we must pass to those who follow the same greatness that we inherited from previous generations."
Looking at the key issues affecting this part of the state, Millington emphasized that most of Distrist 23 consists of rural communities and families.
"(However) I believe that most items in government tend to be controlled by more urban interests," he said. "All issues need to have a rural perspective, or District 23 simply becomes a space between larger urban areas."
Specifically, the state legislature must continue its efforts to promote quality education. With each of his seven children earning college degrees, including one doctorate and five master's diplomas, he's seen first-hand the results of promoting learning in this state.
"Young people will need additional skill levels beyond high school to effectively compete, whether academic, technological or vocational," he said. "We need to create a reason for them to get more training."
At the same time, state representatives must continue to bring good, solid business to Idaho to guarantee its economic stability while providing needed jobs, Millington added.
"Good education and good employment means Idaho will be the winner," he said.
At the same time, agriculture remains equally critical to the state -- the "mortar that holds the bricks in place," Millington said. "We must ensure a positive prospect for agriculture."
To remain an effective representative, Millington emphasized the need to hear the views from all sides of an issue and be willing to express his own perspective.
"I feel that I can be a very effective voice in the legislature," he said. "I will make sure that I listen. The more I listen, the more I learn. And after a careful review, I must know when to talk and to be sure that I will be heard."
Ultimately, his goal is to state the strongest cases possible that would be most useful to District 23 while helping promote Idaho's future growth and success.