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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Ada County Commissioner District 3

County CommissionersThe Board of County Commissioners has legislative, executive and judicial responsibilities and duties. The commissioners have the power to pass ordinances, adopt budgets, fix tax levy rates and oversee the county budget. They also act as the Board of Equalization.County Commissioners live in districts, but are elected county wide.

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    Tom Dayley

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    Branden Durst

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    Devin Gutierrez

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    Heather L Luther

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    Sharon M Ullman

Biographical Information

1. What are the most important challenges facing your county and how do you propose to address them?

2. What specific qualifications do you have to effectively address these challenges?

3. How will you continue to be engaged with your constituents?

Campaign Phone 208-863-0377
A. Property taxes: Counties, state subdivisions, budget to meet state mandates and property tax is the major revenue source. Goal: control spending, increase non-property tax revenue. Property taxes have gone down, PILT/state revenue sharing is up, a major county program shifted to state. Budget balanced total employees are down. B. Public Safety - Military service taught me the importance of personnel, training, and equipment to public safety. Will not support 5% across the board budget cuts; this will cut 37 Sheriff deputies. Have not second guessed equipment purchases that risk officer safety such as night vision. Opening “The Bridge” this year, kept juveniles out of the justice system. C. Planning - Water critical to this important activity. Water experience helped address planning-related water issues; organized, valley water summits, area well analysis, aquifer studies, assisted water data collection. All these activities helped the planning process within Ada County.
Experience, training and education set me apart from my opponents; specifics in question one. First Dayley family to Idaho 1870's Raised with 11 sibling; learned to value hard work Worked for Idaho Congressmen - Sen McClure, Symms, Kempthorne, Craig Presidential appointments - Trump, Reagan Bush Northwest regional work with NWPCC Executive Director of Idaho Farm Bureau Idaho House of Representatives: Chair Judiciary and Rules, Vice-chair Agriculture, Member Revenue and Taxation Committees USAF, Air Force Commendation Medal Volunteer positions in civic and church organizations; Boy Scouts, United Way, Politics, associations in Idaho, D.C., Mexico and UK BA - BYU MA -USC - UK My federal, regional, state work, seven years in the Idaho Legislature, and almost two years as a county commissioner reinforced the value of working with people of different points of view to help Idaho families These skills have enabled me to work with the other commissioners to provide solutions for Ada County.
Experience in public service has taught me to value the opinions of individual citizens. It is important to be engaged with those involved in the many aspects of working, raising children and meeting the challenges of everyday life. I have met with them, talked to them, made sure they have access to me to give me the benefit of their individual expertise My years in the legislative and executive branches of federal and state government, volunteer service in various organizations have emphasized the importance of listening. I know I do not have all the answers to the many questions facing each citizen Our founder gave us a form of government that requires an informed and participating electorate It is my constant goal to provide information and allow maximum participation of each individual living in Ada County I will continue to ask for individuals to be my eyes and ears in their local communities by providing additional information to help me support the other commissioners
Campaign Phone 2085058893
Facebook page
Combat Biden's Border Crisis: Biden's failed immigration policy has turned every county into a border county. With the state and federal governments abdicating their responsibilities, its time for local government to act. ​ Branden Durst will direct Ada County to enforce federal immigration laws, especially against violent offenders, fentanyl drug dealers and bad actor employers.

Protect Our Community: A safe community is a prosperous community.

Branden Durst will Back the Blue in their fight to end the scourge of fentanyl in our community and to ensure that Ada County doesn't follow the same path as other large West Coast counties.

Lower Property Taxes and Shrink Government: Bidenomics have caused grocery and healthcare prices to go through the roof. Meanwhile government continues to grow with no end in sight. It has to stop.

Branden Durst will work to put your hard earned money back where it belongs - your pocket. By reducing property taxes and cutting the size of government.
MPA, Public Policy and Administration EdS, Executive Educational Leadership Small business owner Former state Senator and Representative
I will host bi-weekly townhalls in every neighborhood association in Ada County on a two year rolling schedule.

I will also offer office hours at the Courthouse on weekly basis.
Campaign Phone 2082973543
Facebook page
X known as Twitter
Growth - Our county and communities have been shaken by the influx of new transplants to our home, thus fundamentally changing our way of life. Approving developments without bolstering infrastructure is a short term solution. With this inevitable growth, our long term solution calls for research and development into programs and personnel that have expertise in these fields who will take the future into account. Healthcare - Providing more comprehensive services for those in need or in times of crisis will reduce the strain on law-enforcement and keep individuals suffering from non-criminal events out of the legal system and out of our jail. Education - Places of education should be safe and engaging to promote the best quality of education our tax dollars can provide. Our education system should be a cornerstone of our community and the school buildings, libraries, and event centers that provide educational opportunities should be protected, promoted, and preserved.
As an Ada County resident my entire life I have seen the triumphs of our community. Unfortunately I have also seen the shortcomings. I don't owe my allegiance to any corporation or interest group. I have never held office but I have managed and worked with many people over the years in the service industry, education system, and healthcare. My life has been one of service to the people. I have worked with at risk children and teenagers for most of my adult life. Healthcare has a unique way of showing you the cracks in the system that people can so easily fall through. You see people at their worst and their lowest of lows. But I’ve also seen amazing things happen, and given the right tools and support, I have been able to accompany them in their journeys and celebrate their successes.
I have established and am growing an extensive social media presence and will continue to provide insight, promote our agenda, and communicate with transparency to individuals both in the community and online. My highest priority will be to the individual, and all my decisions will be made with the taxpayers in mind. I plan to remain connected to the community through open forums and question/answer meetings. No decision would be made on my part without acknowledging and listening to those affected. The hard-earned money of the residents of Ada County and their connections to this community are highly valued to me and should be at the heart of making the right choices in public service.
Campaign Phone (208)918-4056
Facebook page I have a Facebook and Instagram page.
If elected, I plan to prioritize the following: 1. Smart Budgeting - I will work to hold departments accountable for their budgets, reviewing what their actual expenditures are, and cutting the excess. 2. Smart Development - I will work with stakeholders to find ways to better the infrastructure (roads, water availability, and public transportation) before adding more development communities. Additionally, I will work to be proactive for county growth by pushing for an administrative building to move all non-court related services out of the courthouse and the jail expansion to effectively continue the safety, security, and services citizens need. 3. Better Communication - Far too often, the communication from government offices is not clear or concise, which leads to confusion on where your tax dollars are spent. I would like to address this by working with community members to see where we are lacking in communication and resolve those discrepancies.
For the last (almost) 8 years, I have worked as the Director of Recording. I understand the intricacies of the county budget, and have built lasting relationships with every department. I am dedicated to finding ways to better use our resources and constantly look for any way to provide services more efficiently to the public. One of my biggest strengths is putting together diverse teams that work collaboratively to find needed solutions. My understanding of who the stakeholders are in different scenarios will assist in getting the right people to the table.

Aside from working for the county, I hold a BA in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in pre law, a minor in Sociology, and a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Human Resource Management. All of which will contribute to the understanding and strategic planning for our community.
If elected, I will respond to Public Records Requests and emailed questions/concerns as I currently do in my role. I will continue to maintain my campaign email (

I also would love to see all commissioners (and all elected county officials) do community outreach weekly. My goal is to block out 4 hours every Friday (or whichever day is generally open in the schedule) and partner with different non-profits or community groups to engage with the people we serve. You will get the best feedback and understanding of issues when you are actually working alongside the public.

In addition to serving the public, I think it’s important to make yourself available to the employees as well. I would love to see something like a monthly “Coffee with the Commissioners” where all three Commissioners go to different departments and learn about the work they do. This level of understanding would be so beneficial to understand what the budgeted funds go towards.
Campaign Phone 208-861-5848
Facebook page
1. Property tax relief. Use zero-based budgeting to cut county spending. Advocate for tying the Homeowner’s Exemption to the Housing Price Index. Work to increase eligibility for property tax reduction programs.

2. Providing emergency services - all public safety - is a top priority. Timing of the jail bond election was poor. A better time would be after Micron’s new fab is done, when 3700 construction workers become available to work on a new jail, and lower interest rates are predicted. Meanwhile, we must work with the Idaho Department of Corrections to move state inmates out of our county jail. Problem-solving courts, begun in 1999, also offset jail time.

3. Affordable growth. The BSU Public Policy Survey reports 69 percent of Idahoans think Idaho is growing too fast. Let’s stop using public funds to promote growth.

A majority of those surveyed say housing costs are a “financial strain.” Solutions can include house sharing, Accessory Dwelling Units, and 3D concrete printing.
For three decades, I have been a tireless advocate for taxpayers and ratepayers on local issues in Ada County and am a proven effective leader.

As a two-term Ada County commissioner, I worked with my colleagues to provide $94 million in property tax relief. Please see .

Prior to taking office, I:

• worked on a new rate structure to reduce sewer installation costs. • intervened in rate cases at the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, to reduce water rates and the cost of water line installation in new homes. • pushed to add more modified calendar programs to schools, for better utilization of existing facilities.

Zero-based budgeting (starting from scratch and constructing a new budget every year rather than starting with the prior year’s budget and adding to it) is the best way to find and cut wasteful county spending.

I have proposed real solutions to the overspending taking place at Ada County. Please see .
Commissioners should hear local concerns of constituents. I will revive monthly Town Hall Meetings throughout the county.

I will renew my writing campaign, established during my first term as an elected Ada County commissioner. Keeping county issues in local small-town newspapers, on my blog at and on social media helps keep the public informed about Ada County government.

There are limitations on county government in Idaho, despite the claims being made by some candidates about commissioners’ authority and role.

For example, although commissioners have absolute authority over the county budget and spending, they do not control how the sheriff runs the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. All independently elected county officials set their own priorities and work directly for voters, not for the commissioners.

I will stress the need for all nine county elected officials to work together to further the interests of all our taxpaying citizens.