Chubbuck mayoral candidates speak on top issues
With only eight days left until voters need to get out and cast their votes in the city-wide elections, the City of Chubbuck is gearing-up for what is expected to be a tight mayoral race.
Both Kevin England and Brent Marshall sit on the city council and will be running against first-time candidate Craig Brainard.
Both England and Marshall said the biggest, front-running issue has been the status of the city's streets.
"There's no doubt about it," England said. "Funds have snuck-up on us in a way because funds have gone away at the state level and we are trying to put things in place to be able to take care of those streets."
Marshall agreed, saying the city needs to place more money toward fixing-up the roads.
"Our roads are deteriorating," Marshall said. "I have heard schedule after schedule that they are going to be fixed but they keep getting put off."
England said it wasn't an easy decision for him to put his hat in the ring. His fourth year is almost up on the city council, where he serves as president. He said he was going to run again until his brother, Mayor Steven England, was not going to seek reelection.
This is Marshall's second year serving on the city council.
Brainard said this is a good year for first-time politicians to run and said he is growing tired of commuting to Blackfoot every day where he works as a welder.
"I'm in it for the money," Brainard joked. "I want to get a better job, not be dirty and not be sweaty after work; I don't want my feet to hurt."
He said minimum wage jobs are driving people like Brainard out to other cities to find work.
"Guys like me have to commute. I mean, I have a trade which is great and all, but I have to go to Blackfoot to work, which is one of the best-paying jobs around here," Brainard said.
England said creating more higher-paying jobs is a priority.
"As we go out and court businesses to come here, we want to go out and look at businesses that have the opportunity to give people a career, something they can build here, live here, and raise families here," England said.
England also sits on the Chubbuck Development Authority Board and said city employees need to have a better pay scale.
"The economy has tied our hands there, but that's something we need to be proactive about. But that is by far and away the biggest challenge anybody has in trying to get economic growth happen right now - a lot of businesses are in a 'wait-and-see' mode."
He added the city is in "a great place" to have some big things happen as the economy turns as far as business-base expansion goes.
Marshall agreed it's time to bring big businesses into the city.
"We need to bring industry in," Marshall said. "We need to bring them here and show them what we've got. We have a great workforce. We need to bring in the higher-paying jobs and also build-up our tax base."
He added the city needs to tighten the fiscal belt and put that money toward fixing the streets.
A forum for the city's mayoral and city council candidates will be held on Wednesday at Chubbuck City Hall from six until nine o'clock.