Jonathan Walker reached out to us and asked that we write an article about his campaign for Bonneville County Commissioner. Here are his answers to the questions we asked him.
About Jonathan Walker
Walker is a former Bonneville County Coroner, former IFFD Division Chief over Public Relations and Education, former IFFD Firefighter / Paramedic and former Idaho Falls police officer. He has also run a small business for over 20 years.
Q:How do you plan to improve the relationship between Idaho Falls and Bonneville County?
A: First and foremost I would like to focus on increased communication and coordinated goal setting. I believe that relations between the City of Idaho Falls and Bonneville County are generally good; however, I feel there is much room for improvement and there is a growing demand on resources and funds.
To ensure that all of this growth and opportunity happen, succeed, and continue, we must have incredible working relationships between cities, county, and private or public businesses. At the same time, we have farmers and ranchers working hard to provide the lifeblood of our county, and we must do all we can to, listen, cooperate, and work together to protect the important things in our community. . It all comes down to listening, negotiating with the realization that we are working for common goals, and the common welfare of our community.
Q:What qualities and differences set you apart from your opponent in this race?
A: There are several qualities I possess that I believe make me a valuable asset to Bonneville County.
- First and foremost I have key communication skills. I am a listener. I listen to people and truly try to understand what their concerns are before I form an opinion. Listening takes time and effort. I think listening is critical as a public servant.
- Second, I am committed to transparency and sharing information. Sharing key information is educational. Through education, we can reach better understanding of one another. If it takes building web sites, talking to media, holding town meetings, it is important to do all we can to share information.
- Third, if I say I will do something, I do it. Sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions in life, but that is easier to do if we are honest and forthright upfront. If I tell someone I will support them on an issue, I will go down in blazes supporting them before I would turn on my word.
- Fourth, I am an experienced leader. I have had extensive formal training and experience in leadership, but most importantly, I have learned that leadership is simply dedicated service with a goal of striving to always be a good example. Words are cheap unless they are backed with works. I especially believe in passing on leadership skills to our youth. I have been active in many organizations that do just that.
- Fifth, I am a hard worker. If you ask anyone who has worked with me what my biggest asset is, they would likely respond that I am a hard worker. I do not mean to brag, but this is a quality I take great pride in, It is indeed the quality that has allowed me to experience so much success in my life.
- Sixth, I am not interested in becoming a career politician! I want to be a public servant. I want to serve this amazing community which has given me so much. I have lived of life of helping people and public service. I have a burning desire to continue that course.
- Seventh, I think outside the box. I don’t want you to tell me it can’t be done; I want you to tell me how I can get it done. “If there is a will, there is a way” is truly my philosophy. If there are not funds in the budgets, don’t give up, write a grant, ask for help, but don’t give up.
- Eight, I have a big picture perspective. I am a goal setter, not just short term, but long term. If we plan and set goals, we can accomplish great things. If we truly love future generations, we must plan and set goals for them, and this is one of my strengths. I am a goal setter! I set a goal to build a morgue in Bonneville County. I was told time and time again, it couldn’t be done. It took eleven years of hard work, but now Bonneville County has a morgue.
- Ninth, I understand the term fiscal responsibility. Every dollar in a budget comes from “the people” and we are entrusted with their money. In my campaign, every time I spend a dollar, I think, “this is money someone invested in me because they believe in me. I must spend that money carefully and thoughtfully. “This thinking has kept me in check to not over spend, or overindulge in campaign spending.
- Tenth, I believe we can do better! I am not interested in criticizing how things are, but instead with making things better and working toward things being the best they can be. Even when I complete a project, I begin wondering how it could be better. My personal philosophies, my attitudes, my goals and my desires are things I think make me a great for Bonneville County.
Q:What areas of spending do you plan to increase or decrease and what is your plan for keeping the budget in check?
A: My plan for keeping the budget in check is to “Keep the Budget in Check.” Just do it.
I am not entering into this campaign with any agenda in regard to pet projects or plans to increase or decrease spending in any particular area. I am determined to look carefully at the budget, the goals of our community, the needs, the concerns, and the desires of the people. I am committed to keeping taxes low, a balanced budget, providing opportunities for education, business, farmers, and families. With every dollar in the budget, I will stretch it as far as it can go, and then look for outside sources, ie grants and such, to do a little better!
Q: What are your plans for getting Bonneville County Residents more involved in the community?
A: The answer to how in increase involvement is education, information, and opportunity. A simple example is what I have done on my campaign. I was the first candidate to start a campaign web page, Facebook page, etc. to engage the community. I understand the power of social media in the world today and the force for good that it can be if we use it appropriately. Providing the constituents a place to share ideas gets them involved at the base level. I think easy access to what is happening is also critical. Media of all types are critical to sharing information. Actually inviting people to get involved is also important. We have amazing people in our community; if you ask them to get involved, they often jump right in. We have to ask them, inspire them, and encourage them. The days of making decisions in a bubble are over. We must involve the public. If there is a big decision to be made in the county, instead of making it behind closed doors, we need to have an open house and invite everyone to attend, participate, and engage. Empower the people with straw polls, ask for input, listen, and invite them to be part of the decision. Democracy!!! We must constantly create opportunities for people to help one another and engage in government. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, we want them to be civically minded. I have as many young adults on my campaign committee as adults. Everyone needs to have a voice in our future.
Learn more about Jonathan Walker on his campaign Facebook page.