What are the most important challenges facing your county and how do you propose to address them?
First because I don’t want it to be missed, one of our most important challenges is maintaining our freedom to choose. The choice to go somewhere, the choice to vaccinate or not, the choice to mask or not, the choice to pick a positive attitude or a negative one, the choice to have grace or to judge. Since COVID, I have been fighting for your right to make choices for your family. I took action by stepping up to serve on the SWDH Health Board where I placed a tremendous amount of focus back on the “whole health of our community”. Not just COVID. Our people, friends, family, and children were clearly suffering well beyond the impacts of COVID. From this position I also began a new mission to help support the start of a Teen/Youth Crisis Center. The State legislature just approved the funding and now I’m actively helping an incredible team to help find a location and get one open and running as soon possible (hopefully before the end of this year). And I’d be remiss if I didn’t address our rapid growth, property tax challenges, and ensuring that required County services are efficiently carryed out in order to best serve you (our constituents). We, like most of our businesses in the area, are struggling with an incredibly tough job market. We are short in human capital, and it has really created an “employee’s market”. We are working hard to not lose talented, dedicated employees and it’s been very hard with the current wage wars. I take this very seriously trying to balance the current market and what it would cost in lost services and time lost from employee turnover. People are definitely our number one asset and I’m working hard to support them and keep it fair and balanced for the tax payer. Every year I feel like we say, “this year’s growth is unprecedented”. And really we are seeing year over year growth. Canyon County saw an influx in business growth and home growth because we helped our businesses stay or reopen as quickly as possible and because of that, more people at higher rates wanted to live here with us. Our average home prices are even catching up with our neighboring County. However we saw challenges with Idaho Legislation that continued to put more pressure on the residential tax payer and we saw an even bigger gap between Residential and Commercial/Industrial properties. And then with the caps imposed on budget increases (which impact tax levy rates), I can easily see where government/tax collecting entities will not be able to keep up with demand on required services due to these growth levels. So we are really going to have to get serious about looking collectively at growth and the impact on services and what can be done to mitigate those impacts so as to not be an additional burden on our existing homeowners.
What specific qualifications do you have to effectively address these challenges?
With over 10 years of experience in private and public land use planning, many would say I’m a local expert when it comes to land use. I have been trained by FEMA in natural hazard/disaster mitigation with two years served as the State of Idaho Floodplain Coordinator. I helped found the nonprofit Destination Caldwell and successfully helped rebrand and rebuild Caldwell with an incredible team of individuals who fought hard to create a thriving downtown and tourism of the Sunnyslope Wine Trail. We had many challenges, obstacles, and even some defeats, but I know that my perseverance, stubbornness and willing to work through hard situations helped push our team to an incredible revitalization. Not many people get to experience something like this and if you ask even just a handful of people, most would not have believed we could accomplish it, yet we did. Yes Canyon County has some challenges ahead of us, and I’m absolutely the person who has shown that I can effectively affect change.
How will you continue to be engaged with your constituents?
Within my first 60 days in office, along with my fellow commissioners, we started hosting the first ever “Community Input Meetings”. These monthly meetings have ranged from just a couple people in attendance to a packed room. The people of Canyon County are passionate and I love the opportunity to hear about concerns as well as the positives. My favorite moments though are when they ask questions that I can help get answered for them in a way that helps them. I am a Commissioner that actively stays involved in the community that I grew up in, regularly attends civic organization meetings, attends fundraiser dinners and events, volunteers for local non-profits, coaches volleyball, help kids learn the sport of rodeo, I’ve volunteered on multiple boards, and lend a hand when needed to friends and family. I don’t just show up to work and go home at night; I love this County and our Cities and I love actively being apart of it, engaging with our incredible people. Even when they ask hard questions about what we’ve been up to. So I’ll keep being me, putting myself out there and being available in public places so that I hear from the general public, all the while having fun with my family and with yours.
My name is Keri K. Smith and I am the republican candidate for Canyon County Commissioner, District 2 seat. I was born and raised in Canyon County and I'm excited to offer my experience to the residents of Canyon County. Together we have a bright future.
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