Incumbent Jensen wants to retain his seat
Longtime Blackfoot city councilman Chris Jensen is the only one of four councilman who is being challenged in the upcoming city election.
Jensen, who was elected to the council in 2005, currently holds Seat 1. He is being challenged by Kenneth Ashcraft and Andy Hasselbring.
Jensen, a Blackfoot resident of 20 years, said he's not sure why his place on the council seems to be the "hot seat" that people want - but he will strive to keep it.
"I have thought about it and I'm not sure if it's because of something that I've done wrong or something that I've done right," he said.
Jensen says he is against big government on all levels and stands firm on what he has accomplished during his eight years on the council.
"I have worked really hard to keep the budget and city government in check," he said. "In the past five years there has been no increase in the property tax levy. Even though fuel went up, pavement went up and overall the economy wasn't doing well, we were able to keep taxes flatlined."
Jensen said that fiscal responsibility is something that he will always fight for in his role as a councilman, saying, "We need to use the money in the least amount possible. It's the citizens' money and is to be used to maintain the working of the city."
Jensen, a mechanical engineer by trade, said that while his opponents want to see more parks and beautification projects done in the city to attract new business, he feels strongly that "consistently maintaining and improving the city's infrastructure is much more important at this time."
"It's crucial that the city's infrastructure is the best that it can be so that if a big business does come to town we don't have to do huge upgrades to take them on. A good, functioning infrastructure is what we need to lure new business...not more parks."
Jensen said that he believes strongly in government based on the principles of our Founding Fathers.
"I believe in limited government with limited authority. I believe in private property rights, our personal freedoms and not violating our constitutional rights. We have have to start with local government," he said.
During his time on the council, Jensen has always served under the leadership of current Blackfoot mayor Mike Virtue. Sadly, he has seen the passing of three fellow council members: Chris Gardner, Farrell Cammack and Butch Hulse, which left him as the senior council member.
"I learned so much from all of these men and I still don't like to think of myself as the senior member. But, I will say that, 'experience matters,' " he said.
"I take my oath as councilman seriously. I am not a typical politician; I am not politically correct, " he went on. "The day I become a typical politician is the day I no longer want to be in office. I don't sugar-coat things because the people of Blackfoot deserve the truth."
Jensen and his wife AnnMarie are the parents of four children and have enjoyed raising their family in Blackfoot.
"This is my home and its right where I want to be," he said.
Council Seat No. 2 is held by Layne "Skip" Gardner (4-year term) and Council Seat No. #3 (2-year term) is held by Bart Brown. Jan Simpson has declared her candidacy for open Council Seat No. 4.
The city elections will be held on Nov. 5. While it is too late to officially file for seat with a name on the ballot, the deadline to file as a write-in candidate for a city position is Oct. 8.