Now retired from the hardware business, the 64-year-old continues to remain actively involved not only in Mountain Home but across the state. With his family's roots in this state running deep across five generations, he's remained determined to leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
For decades, he's answered a call to serve others across this state. On June 23, he accepted a similar calling when he was selected as the head of the state's Republican central committee. Peterson, who replaces outgoing chairman Norm Semanko, earned the nomination over Gayann DeMordaunt from Eagle.
"I'm happy for our community -- that we get to have a voice at a relatively high level in the political forum at the state level," said Peterson as he reflected on his nomination. "I'm here by choice, and if I can bring something to the table on behalf of this community, then I'm thrilled for the opportunity."
While the chance to serve as the state chair for the Republican committee "is a pretty heavy load," Peterson remains grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Peterson's active interest in politics started in 1964 as Republican Barry Goldwater, a champion of conservatism, ran for president against incumbent Lyndon Johnson. That political exposure convinced Peterson to run for county commissioner, where he would go on to serve two terms.
When someone takes an elected office, it's a call to service and one that comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility, he said.
"Government people have an obligation to serve the public," he said. "The higher the office that you take, the more service that you should be expected and willing to give."
While he remains satisfied with the work he accomplished as a county commissioner, Peterson's political aspirations were far from over. In addition to his years of service as a precinct committeeman with the Republican Party, he was elected as the county central committee chair four times.
On two occasions, he oversaw nine counties across southwestern Idaho as a regent chairman along with six years as a state-level resolution chairman.
While very conservative on his views of state politics, Peterson understands the need to keep an open mind. From his perspective, everyone else has a right to their opinion. When called upon to make a decision, Peterson said that he lists the pros and the cons and weighs them carefully to avoid making a rash judgement.
But when he makes that decision, it's his goal to come out a winner. He compared that level of determination to his drive to win when he races his horses.
"When I go to compete, I hope to win," Peterson said. "And if I show up with a horse that doesn't have the talent to win... I immediately start thinking about looking for another horse so I put myself in a position where I can win."
That determination was put to the test in recent months as people across the state aired concerns with various issues. Among them was a education reform bill introduced by state superintendent of public education Tom Luna.
The bill received widespread opposition across the state that at one point initiated a recall effort against the state superintendent.
But according to Peterson, that bill sought to remedy a significant concern with the quality of education in this state. Those concerns come as the United States continues to trail other countries from an education standpoint. In fact, the nation is ranked 49th overall.
From Peterson's perspective, Idaho's state's current education system isn't working. What it needs is a better "horse" -- an education plan that would help its students become better prepared and more competitive in today's ever-changing world.
"We have excellent teachers in this state, so we should be watching for a better 'horse' because the one we're riding is not taking them to the dance," he said. It was time to try something different.
"I believe our teachers, if given an opportunity to be on better horse, can be successful at helping our students become as well educated as other students around the world," he added. "We've got nothing to lose by trying because we're already riding a losing horse."
Looking to the near future, Peterson aired concerns that will affect voters across the state following the Supreme Court's ruling on the national health care law. In short, the court's ruling determined that the federal government had the authority to tax individuals -- to compel them to pay for medical services. It's something that goes against the grain of most Americans, he said.
People of this nation, in general, are very generous individuals, he said. If someone's in a bind because of an emergency or other pressing issues, Americans are anxious to help others get back on their feet.
"But with a tax, our choice is taken away from us to help; we're being forced to help," Peterson said. "So if you make me help the other guy, my natural reaction is to resist."
In short, this new tax takes away that personal choice of wanting to help those in need, Peterson said. And when the government takes away that choice, it takes away a portion of a person's freedom.