Mayoral candidates face off for first time Wednesday

Photo by Greg Eichelberger
Greg Eichelberger
Staff Writer

Taking their candidacies for mayor of Blackfoot to the people, the four men seeking the office were featured in the first of three debates to the Blackfoot Senior Citizen Center on Wednesday afternoon to face questions from the small, but enthusiastic audience.
The quartet, incumbent Paul Loomis, Chase VanOrden, Marc Carroll and Jim Thomas, introduced themselves and then took queries on several subjects, including promoting sports, the controversial swimming pool, how to bring good jobs to Blackfoot, economic development, a possible over/underpass, the City budget and a growing drug/gang problem here.
And while each candidate was grilled on his past experiences and future plans if elected, His Honor seemed to get a bit of a boost as two members of the assembled multitude actually praised his efforts in office, and one of the candidates even seemed to align his vision with that of Blackfoot's chief executive.
Loomis touted himself, as well, saying, he was proud of his achievements and would not apologize for Blackfoot. "We are number 14 on the list of highest taxes in Idaho, but that is just ahead of Chubbuck," he said. "We are very competitive (in bringing in people and businesses to the city) and we brought in eCobalt, a situation that took us two years of hard work to complete."
On the subject of jobs, each candidate promised in their own way to bring jobs— not just jobs — but high-paying ones to the city. "I think we need to give businesses tax breaks, said Thomas, owner of a drywall company and landlord. "Or maybe running City services to them, whatever it takes. But when potential businesses want to come here, they see how high our property taxes are and many want no part of it."
Read the entire article in the Oct. 19 edition of the Blackfoot Morning News