Tuesday, July 23, 2024
73.0°F

District 3 House seat B: Greg Gfeller

by BRIAN WALKER/Staff writer
| May 9, 2014 9:00 PM

POST FALLS - Greg Gfeller wants to put his business background to work in Boise.

Gfeller, a Republican and the director of operations for Avista Utilities' in North Idaho, will seek the District 3 House Seat B position in the May 20 primary.

Frank Henderson, who currently serves in the seat, is retiring and endorsing Gfeller. Others running are Don Cheatham and Jeff Ward.

"I'd bring 36 years of business experience to the Legislature," Gfeller said. "I want to listen, collaborate and lead to improve the quality of life for our children and grandchildren."

He said he sees economic development opportunities in health care services, software technology, general manufacturing and the recreation industry.

"If a legislator is an experienced businessman, he can see all these opportunities for expansion of the local economy," he said. "Residential taxation will be reduced as we increase industrial and commercial business activity.

"I think we are on the cusp of greatness. We are in the red zone."

Gfeller, who has lived in this area for 18 years, is exploring opportunities in the local aeronautics industry that uses composites for manufacturing parts and building aircraft assemblies.

"We need to make sure we can supply them with a stream of workers," he said, adding that he's toured multiple businesses in recent weeks.

Gfeller said business and education go hand in hand, so he'll work to enhance that partnership.

"We can always strive to make it better," said Gfeller, adding that he supports the new Idaho Core Standards in education. "When you look at businesses that want to expand, they ask what our education system is about."

Gfeller said a priority is increasing workforce training funds.

Gfeller said adding language to discrimination laws to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people should be explored.

"I believe that everyone in our state should be free from discrimination," he said. "I believe that this is something that eventually needs to be addressed. I am not sure if adding the words will really address the issues at hand, but we all shall be treated equally and it appears that this is one of those complex issues that needs to be investigated further.

"As a legislator these are the types of complex issues I am willing to work on to serve all the citizens of Idaho."

Gfeller said he'd approach expanding Medicaid "very cautiously."

"There has to be some personal responsibility when it comes to (health care)," he said. "And, in five to 10 years, how do we know for sure who will pay for what? I'd proceed on this with an abundance of caution."

Regarding whether to raise the minimum wage, Gfeller believes that is a bad idea.

"The minimum wage is important for people just starting out or going to college," he said. "I'm a proponent of education and workforce training to help people get into jobs that pay above the minimum wage. I don't believe the Legislature should dictate to a small business what they should pay their employees."

Profile:

Greg Gfeller

Birth date: Dec. 14, 1955

Profession: Avista's director of operations for North Idaho

Educational background: bachelor's degree in education, master's degree in organizational leadership

Public service: past Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency commissioner, past Kootenai County Planning and Zoning commissioner

Community service/nonprofits: Post Falls Rotary, Post Falls and Rathdrum chambers of commerce, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association liaison to the Coeur d'Alene Airport, Calvary Lutheran Church, National Rifle Association

How many years as a resident of your district: 18

Marital status: married to Ruth, 37 years

Family: daughter Alicia, son Trevor

Hobbies: aviation, sailing, skiing, reading about leadership theories and successful leaders