Name: Jeffrey A. Laughlin
Occupation: Business management consultant
Education: BA, International Marketing
Prior political experience: None
Civic involvement: Eagle Transportation Committee Chairman, 2011-present; Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Coalition (IICACC) Executive Board Member Director of Finance, 2012-2013; Eagle Project, 2011-2012; YMCA Planning Committee, 2013; ACHD Planning Committee, 2013; Idaho Student Forum Facilitator, 2011-present; Eagle Economic Development Committee Member, 2011-2012; Cavallo Estates HOA, Treasurer 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011; Youth Counselor, 1992-1995
Years living in Eagle: 8
Family: Wife, Michelle; daughter, Kristen, 15; and son, Zachary, 11
Social media accounts: n/a
1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?
I have lived here in Eagle with my family for many years and believe I understand the heartbeat of our community. Im not a politician. Im a concerned citizen who is interested in making sure we keep our finger on the pulse of our community. I want whats best for Eagle and our citys future, so we protect and maintain its quality, beauty and charming character. Being highly dedicated to this cause, I will always seek to understand the issues at hand, be open-minded to peoples ideas and work to build bridges of collaboration within the council and our community. My ultimate goal is to give everyone a voice and involvement in decision making for our city. I believe in We the People not I am the people."
2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.
The Four Corners: Its no secret that Old State Highway and Eagle Road is an eyesore. This area is also a source of traffic congestion in our community that will only continue to grow if left unchecked. I would take all the proposals, studies and commentary that has been vetted throughout the past eight years and let our business owners and residents speak out and vote for a resolution.
Strategic Growth and Development: Ensure that any and all proposals for new development are in line with Eagles strategic plan to protect home values and maintain the quality, beauty and character of our community.
Water Rights: We need to protect our Idaho water rights and keep foreign companies from controlling our access of this important resource. I would seek resolution through open communication with key players to find opportunities here in Idaho and ultimately in Eagle.
3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?
We need to have a unified plan with consensus from the community to focus development on three primary areas of industry. Then we can meet with business owners and executives within these target areas to help expand existing business and move new operations into Eagle.
4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?
The reason so many people desire to live and work in Eagle is for the quality of life we all share. With rivers, parks, trails and foothills, we have direct access to so many activities that make Idaho special. I envision Eagle as a destination place with a flourishing river district, riverfront restaurants and shopping; equestrian trails, and a fully developed Eagle Island State Park providing space for concerts and performing arts with walking and bike path connectivity to our downtown and business community.
5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?
Im concerned that more people dont get involved because they think their voice doesnt matter. As a city council member for Eagle, I would listen to everyone and act on our community needs. When our citizens believe their voice matters they will definitely get more involved.
6. What are the top two issues facing Eagle, and how should they be addressed?
The Four Corners: This has been addressed by study after study for many years. Instead of beating a dead horse, we simply need to act upon what the people want and resolve it.
Economic Development: Eagle has so much to offer in our quality of life. Then why shouldnt our citizens be able to also find quality employment within the city? We need business and industry that attract a skilled labor force to sustain ongoing growth to keep our city economically healthy. Ive worked with our Mayor on strategic opportunities to attract new industry and I will continue to reach out to new companies to draw them to Eagle.
7. Eagle is 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial. Should Eagle grow its commercial sector? Why?
Commercial growth and development, in a strategic and planned manner, is the lifeblood of any city. Here in Eagle, I believe most people are open to growth and development as long as its in line with the quality and charming character that makes our city such a great place to live. A thriving economy makes it possible to enhance our town by adding parks, walking and bike paths, equestrian trails, making rivers and foothills more accessible and adding other special amenities to make Eagle even better.
8. Eagle has one of the state's lowest property tax rates. Keeping property tax rates low means less money for city infrastructure and amenities, like parks. Do you support keeping Eagle's tax rate low? Why?
Yikes, no tax hikes! Yes, I do support our low tax rates. Here in Eagle we pay more taxes per household than other cities due to our high home values. New commercial development and strategic growth is where we find more money for the citys infrastructure and to enhance our community with additional parks and other amenities. However, if there are specific projects or opportunities that our community wants to make our city even better, put it out to vote and let the citizens decide. Otherwise, the city should stay in budget and seek to control costs so we dont put unfair burden on Eagles taxpayers. If elected to city council I will be sure to do my part to keep budgets in control.