Kelly Anthon was recently appointed by Gov. Butch Otter to fill the vacancy left for the District 27 state Senate seat by the appointment of Dean Cameron as the head of the Department of Insurance.
Anthon was raised on a family farm in the Declo area, attended law school at the University of Idaho, practiced law in the Mini-Cassia area and then was appointed City Administrator for the City of Rupert in 2012. He is 40 years old, married to Joelle (Rogers) Anthon, who is a native of Rupert, and has five children.
What motivated you to apply for the vacancy?
As cliché as it may sound, I really love Idaho and care about my home community in the Mini-Cassia area. I want to do my part to build a better economy and life for the Idaho family. With the recent combination of Minidoka and Cassia Counties into a single legislative district, there was concern that very few candidates for the position would understand both counties’ dynamics or effectively represent them both. There was also a belief that the new Senator would need to understand agriculture as well as the tools that have made economic development in the Mini-Cassia area so successful in recent years in order to protect and fine-tune them. I realized that my experience and background uniquely qualified me for the vacancy based on my years of experience as city attorney for towns on both sides of the Snake River, my representation of many local dairies and farms, and my work in state and local economic development. The support and urging of my colleagues, neighbors, and family were also a great motivating factor.
In seeking the votes of local precinct chairs, what was your pitch?
1.) Party and Community Bridge Building: It’s clear that our region’s greatest success is found by building bridges between Minidoka County and Cassia County – both in the Republican Party and in the community generally.
2.) Efficient, Limited Government: Idaho’s businesses and families prosper when government is restrained. Efficiency is a key to keeping taxes low and in funding public education and infrastructure needs.
3.) Continued Economic Development: District 27 needs a State Senator who will protect the backbone of our economy – agriculture – while pursuing tools that allow for economic diversification. It is also clear that economic development and prosperity relies on promulgating only necessary, minimal regulations and a favorable, predictable tax system.
What issues do you see of importance to the Mini-Cassia area in the next legislative session?
The issue of water rights and ongoing litigation of water calls is an extremely important issue to the Mini-Cassia area. The Legislature will need to continue its efforts to find solutions to these disputes where a curtailment could easily result in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars to Idaho’s economy. Additionally, I believe the Legislature may need to address questions regarding consumptive water uses and allowances for domestic water uses for residents inside Idaho cities that are subject to the recent water calls.
What key issues do you see impacting the state of Idaho?
Recent efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency to extend the scope and reach of the Clean Water Act in regulating ‘navigable waters of the United States’ has had and will continue to have a great impact on the State of Idaho. These efforts have also resonated in other federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Reclamation, which has made moves to require NPDES permits as a prerequisite in obtaining certain easements and permissions relating to Idaho’s irrigation systems.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spending time with my family traveling, fishing, and camping. I also enjoy working in my garden – I’m still a farm kid at heart.