Friday, January 15, 2021

Plenty to smile about from election

| June 5, 2020 1:00 AM

Congratulations go to Bob Norris, who conquered a mountain of competition — and controversy — in wrapping up the Republican nomination to become Kootenai County’s sheriff starting next January.

Norris will face Independent candidate Mike Bauer of Harrison in November.

Norris told The Press late election night that people have called this “the most volatile race” they’ve ever seen in Kootenai County. If it wasn’t the most volatile, it certainly was the longest-lasting slugfest, spanning the better part of two years.

A sign of encouragement moving forward, which is not unexpected, is the attitude of second-place finisher Kim Edmondson, a class act if ever there was one. Edmondson, a captain, said she’s eager to work with Norris in healing divisions within the department and doing what’s best for the community.

County Commissioners Bill Brooks and Chris Fillios both held onto their seats despite strong competition in three-way races. That’s got to be viewed as voter approval to continue down the path they’re headed.

On the legislative side, Kootenai County’s representation in Boise is going to get younger, and the guess here is that it will focus a little more on vital Idaho issues like education and economic development than some of the ideological favorites that can become more distractions than they’re worth. In the wake of COVID, our economy is going to need every ounce of help it can get.

With no opponent on the November ballot, Peter Riggs, is the presumptive next senator for District 3. Riggs, the son of former Lt. Gov. Jack Riggs, holds an MBA from University of Idaho. He and his entire family have deep roots here, and he’s as smart as he is industrious. He’ll be 41 when the 2021 session begins.

Also without a November foe, Doug Okuniewicz is the presumptive representative from District 2 who will hold Position B. Doug “O,” as he’s known to those of us who are spelling challenged, is 54. He’s far more familiar with legislative processes and personalities than most incoming freshmen because of his work for years on legislative issues across a broad spectrum. Holding an MBA in communications, Okuniewicz is highly regarded as an effective listener. When’s the last time you heard that said about a politician?

Jim Addis easily won re-election to keep his District 4, Position A seat, ensuring a strong conservative with outstanding business, education and civic credentials will continue his good work.

The Press heartily congratulates all the winners and those who came up short but gave us choices in this unprecedented all-absentee election. Turnout at 37 percent was extraordinary for a May primary, with 22,816 Republican, 7,040 Democrat, and 2,944 nonpartisan ballots cast in Kootenai County.

Seven people turned in blank ballots, showing that even an outstanding election is never perfect.

This editorial has been updated.