September 18, 2021
Last week the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer sent an email interview request to all Pocatello City Council candidates. Taylor Wood is running for City Council Seat #4. His answers to our questions follow:
What, in your opinion, is the main purpose of government?
Different levels of government have different roles and purposes. The main purpose of the federal government is to protect our constitutional rights. This is important to me, but given that I am running for city council, I will speak specifically to the main purpose of our city government here in Pocatello. I believe the city government’s purpose is to: provide, maintain and improve basic services such as water and sewer; fund and support emergency services; plan, maintain, and improve infrastructure (roads, bridges, sidewalks, etc.); and, when necessary, allow for healthy economic growth by providing businesses and workers ample opportunity to succeed as to improve the overall quality of life for its residents.
How would you ensure that citizens are given the opportunity to be involved in city government decisions?
Winston Churchill once said “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Too often, politicians don’t listen to their constituents. As a member of the City Council, I will always listen. Transparency will be the cornerstone of my time on the Council. Most citizens genuinely care about Pocatello and want to get involved when they feel that they can trust their politicians. I will always shoot straight with the people of Pocatello. As a small business owner, I plan to be out in the community earning the trust of hardworking citizens. Everyone’s opinion will be welcome and no idea will ever be too small or too big to matter to me.
What is your position on the City imposing health-related ordinances such as mask or vaccine mandates?
I’m not a proponent of mask or vaccine mandates. Citizens can and do educate themselves using reliable and trusted sources. Let’s allow them to make individual choices.
What is your fiscal policy? How would you ensure that the taxpayer is getting the best value for his tax dollar, and what steps would you take to reduce spending therefore reducing taxes?
As someone with a background in finance, I am a strong proponent of local governments living within their means just like everyday citizens do. This means the Pocatello government should follow the lead of Pocatello families by balancing the budget, spending wisely, and preparing for the long-term future. I do not support the reckless tax-and-spend policies that you see coming out of Washington, DC right now. I will improve Pocatello’s financial situation not by raising taxes on ordinary Idahoans, but by expanding our tax base. Commercial business activity generates much more tax revenue than residential areas. On Council, I will help grow business activity in Pocatello and thus alleviate a heavier future tax burden by the residents. This will provide new opportunities for the city while keeping people’s hard earned money in their own pockets.
What is your policy with respect to economic development?
My wife and I have both started businesses in Pocatello. On national news we hear and learn about trade deficits and surpluses between the US and other nations. That same principle applies to states and cities. A city with a trade surplus grows and prospers- with most residents benefiting both financially and from a better quality of life. It’s time to buckle down and build a trade surplus in Pocatello. What I mean by that is instead of us simply exchanging our money with each other and spending our money online and with companies outside of our city, we must bring and build businesses that bring money into Pocatello or When a business that brings money to Pocatello by providing services or products to other cities, states, countries, economic development inevitably follows providing better, higher-paying jobs for those of us in Pocatello.
What do you believe are the most important issues facing Pocatello right now, and how would you address them?
While Pocatello faces many challenging issues at the moment, I believe two of the most imminent issues we are facing are (a) unity within the city council and (b) slower economic development in relation to our neighboring cities.
I find it wholly disenchanting and frustrating for us to have such a divided city council. Having a divide pushes citizens away from wanting to be involved, turns off businesses from wanting to do business here, and stagnates the cities should-be goal of improving the quality of life for its citizens. Pocatello isn’t DC. Pocatello can and should be united- even in the city council. After more than a quarter of a century in politics, Theodore Roosevelt observed, he had found that change was realized by “men who take the next step; not those who theorize about the 200th step.” I believe I can work with the city council to maintain diversity of thought and find compromise on the difficult issues to realize the next step and effectuate change.
Pocatello has experienced a lot of residential development, but is lacking commercial activity. We have too many vacant office and commercial buildings. Pocatello should be thriving on commercial growth given our geographic advantages compared with other cities in the region: Pocatello is located closer to Salt Lake, offers incredible trails for recreation, and has a rich history. Playing to our strengths and letting the region know what Pocatello has to offer is one of the first steps Pocatello can take to ignite economic development. And of course, the city has several levers to incentivize business growth and development that should be used.