Dear Latah County Voter,
My name is Steve Cooke. I am a candidate for Latah County Commissioner, to replace Democrat Jennifer Barrett who is retiring.
After attending many meetings and talking with dozens of people, there are three problems in Latah County that I need to bring to your attention.
- A growing number of Latah County jobs depend on businesses that require high speed internet access—yet it is often not available or too expensive in the outlying rural communities. PNW Arms, a manufacturing firm, wants to locate their plant in Potlatch—their decision depends, in part, on the availability of high speed internet service.
- Latah County Emergency Medical Services depends for its success on keeping highly trained paramedics—yet, after we pay for their training, our volunteer paramedics are often lured away to paid EMS positions in other communities. People in the county furthest from Gritman hospital, such as residents of Deary and Bovill, most need paramedics in the hour-long ambulance ride to the hospital. Because 25% of ambulance calls respond to medical emergencies that are “severe” or “very severe,” paramedics are needed to start IVs, open airways, or administer drugs.
- An easy to understand county budget is needed for accountability, measuring progress toward goals and getting the biggest bang for our buck—yet the current Latah County budget is 122 pages of “check book” line items that are hard to follow. The county sheriff’s budget is $3.5 million and growing at about $75,000 per year. The county total contribution to the ambulance service is $30,000, less than one percent of the sheriff’s budget. Concerned citizens and county commissioners do not have a good way to judge the relative “bang for the buck” between these alternative uses of tax dollars.
What are my credentials to solve these problems?
- I grew up on a dairy farm. I am a retired UI ag. economist. For twenty five years, I have studied ag and rural economic development and public finance problems in Idaho. I also taught courses in land economics.
- I know, worked with, or help get elected the current and previous Latah County’s political leaders—at both the state legislative and county levels.
- I have been involved in Democratic Party politics all my life: my father was selectman, my grandmother was state representative, my brother was mayor, my mother was a rural community organizer, my wife twice ran for state representative. I was vice chair the Latah Democratic Party, wrote a draft of the economic development and natural resources planks in the Idaho Democratic Party platform. I was recently elected as Idaho delegate to the Democratic National Convention to re-nominate President Obama.
I believe I bring the knowledge, experience, and creative problem solving skills needed to address economic development and public finance issues facing the county. I would be honored to work with current Commissioners Dave McGraw and Tom Stroschein.
What is standing in my way?
My opponent is Richard Walser, a self-described “man of few words.” He beat Tom Trail thanks to an organized minority of radical Tea Party support in a closed Republican primary. He refuses to commit to supporting a Latah County Ambulance District. At a recent Latah Economic Development Council meeting, he spoke out against the Latah County Trail. In June, Walser Ranch, Inc. (Cousin Terry Walser—President) lost an appeal of the Assessor’s value placed on ten parcels of land (County Commissioner Proceedings, July 9, 2012). The County Commissioners act as the Board of Adjustment that reviews challenges to the Assessor valuation of property for tax purposes.
What do I need from you?
- I need your vote on November 6 (or earlier, at the Courthouse starting Sept. 21).
My friend Pat Kelly and I put together a couple of thirty second commercials both of which are on YouTube and one of which ran on local NBC cable channels Bravo, MSNBC, and CNBC during the Olympics. You can also view these commercials on my Facebook page.
- I need your in-kind support.
If you are willing to sponsor a yard sign, write a letter to the editor, host a house party, sign an endorsement list, help me walk your neighborhood, then please let me know at:
- I also need your in-cash contributions.
I need it to continue to introduce myself and my platform to the citizen of Latah County. I need money to send out campaign literature to Latah County Independent voters asking them to “lean my way” on November 6. I have raised over $3,000 dollars and need to at least double that amount as soon as possible to reserve the radio spots, plan a paid newspaper campaign, pay for my website, print literature, pay postage on a 2500 piece mailing, and pay my campaign manager.
You can send a check to:
- Cooke for Commissioner c/o Cory Hunter, Treasurer 123 S. Polk St. Moscow, ID 83843 or
- Use a credit card through PayPal at: http://cookeforcommissioner.com/donate/
I promise to use your votes, support and campaign contributions responsibly to promote progressive ideas and policies for the people of Latah County.
Candidate for Latah County Commissioner
- Retired University of Idaho agricultural economist
- Raised on a dairy farm
- Teaching & research in agriculture and rural development, public finance and land economics
- Consultant to USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council
- UI faculty senate
- Moscow-Latah Economic Development Council
- Award winning state-wide extension program on public finance
- National Drinking Water Advisory Working Group
- Conflict resolution trained