Election Day

A voting sign is seen in March 2017 in Twin Falls.

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Ten candidates are running for three seats on the Twin Falls City Council. Five candidates are vying for Seat 1, four for Seat 5, and just one for Seat 6, meaning that race won’t be on the ballot.

Twin Falls City Council (Seat 1)

Craig M. Kelley, 46, has lived in the area for most of his life — all but his years spent at the University of Idaho earning a degree in plant science horticulture.

Craig Kelley

Craig Kelley

Kelley is vice chairman of the Twin Falls Planning and Zoning Commission and also gained political experience as the president of the Idaho Bean Dealers Association and president of the U.S. Dry Beans Council. He works for Trinidad Benham Corp./Treasure Valley Seed Co.

“We live in an amazing community that is experiencing explosive growth (and) with growth comes opportunity,” he told the Times-News. “I want to represent the residents’ views and be a transparent, honest voice on the Council. Be the voice that helps develop the future for our community, ensure its alignment with your values, and support the vision you have for the future of your family, your business and yourself.”

His focus, if elected, would be on protecting the agricultural heritage, balancing urban sprawl, encouraging affordable housing, tackling infrastructure issues, and making sure adequate police and fire services are provided to all parts of Twin Falls.

Patrick Patterson, 31, teaches social studies at Magic Valley High School. He has lived in Idaho for all of his life and has lived in Twin Falls for the past seven years.

Patrick Patterson

Patrick Patterson

Traffic is the most realistic problem the city can address and help fix, Patterson said, along with road maintenance and other city services.

“I’m finally in a position in my life where I have the time to run for office and serve the city,” he said when asked why he chose to run for City Council. “I’ve been a regular attendee of City Council meetings for over a year now.

“It’s also normal for my family to be public servants... My brother is a sheriff’s deputy. My dad was a police officer and my mom was a city clerk.”

This is Patterson’s first time running for an elected office.

Jason Brown, 41, a native of Idaho, has lived in Twin Falls for eight years. He is an engineer for the Twin Falls Canal Co.

Jason Brown

Jason Brown

“I am running for City Council to give back to this great community,” Brown said. “Twin Falls has provided my family and me many opportunities to grow. I am running to show my kids that if you want to be a part of the future solutions, you need to be involved.”

Brown is the chairman of the Middle Snake Watershed Advisory Group, where he learned how to run formal political meetings. While working for the city of Twin Falls, he was required to work with local council members and members of the state Legislature.

As the town grows, the council will need to plan for municipal infrastructure and to be responsible with allocating money, he said.

“We need to continue to provide a safe community through our emergency response organizations,” Brown said. “Support of our emergency response organization is vital to our community’s success.”

James Piersol, 28, a military veteran, hauls milk for a local company.

James Piersol

James Piersol

Piersol said he has never before had any desire for a political career.

“I just want to make a change,” he said.

“I did not like the tyrannical lockdown orders last year and how we didn’t protect our private businesses’ rights,” Piersol said. “I also was greatly disappointed when our city refused to put to vote an ordinance to protect the lives of our unborn neighbors. I’d like to see abortion ended in Twin Falls.”

Tara Rueda, 40, has lived most of her life in the Magic Valley. After graduating from Wendell High School, she moved to Twin Falls, where she is raising her four boys.

Tara Rueda

Tara Rueda

Rueda is a real estate agent and first-year law student. She is also the president of the regional Head Start Policy Council and a political campaign volunteer.

“I would really like to bring back our sense of community,” she said. “I’d like to bring back the mom-and-pop shops and strive to protect the community-based business owners and creators from outsourced box store goods.

“Show Twin Falls as an example of how sustainability can and should be done, starting with where we live. Emphasizing locally sourced solutions with farmers’ markets selling foods and goods from around the valley and Co-ops of locally based food sources and products, from ag and dairy. Protecting our ag roots and farmland by implementing farm-to-table programs for local schools.

Twin Falls City Council (Seat 5)

Mike Allred, 36, is a tradesman and home inspector, and says he is very involved in the community when it comes to the underserved.

Mike Allred

Mike Allred

Allred has lived in the Twin Falls area for five years.

“I am running for multiple reasons,” he said. “I love this city and this country. I worry about the path our country is headed nationally. I would like to see a responsible policy that does not hamper the entrepreneurs’ ability to thrive. I worry about the rising taxes and cost of living in our area. I think local policy can have an impact on those issues.

“The greatest issue we face is our national debt. We need to have a strategic plan that allows for a resilient community.”

Hanna J. Cameron, 24, is a sixth-grade social studies teacher “with a heart for people and politics,” who is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration.

Hannah Cameron

Hannah Cameron

“I’m running for Twin Falls City Council because I see the importance of strong leadership at all levels of government,” Cameron said, “and because of my genuine love for public policy and the people of Twin Falls.”

Infrastructure and the local labor shortage are the issues most important to her.

Cameron held a political internship with the Missouri State House of Representatives in 2018.

Spencer Cutler, 42, was born in Twin Falls. He is the facilities director at the College of Southern Idaho.

Spencer Cutler

Spencer Cutler

This is Cutler’s first candidacy for an elected office.

“Growth, growth, growth. That’s the big issue on everybody’s mind,” Cutler said. “It’s important that we work with community members to have a well thought out strategic plan to prepare for growth while minimizing the burden on taxpayers.

“My leadership experience is ideal for this task.”

Liyah Babayan is the owner of Ooh La La Boutique in Twin Falls. This is her third run for a seat on the Twin Falls City Council.

Liyah Babayan

Liyah Babayan

Babayan has received numerous awards and honors for her services to the community, including Idaho’s Women of the Year honor and Twin Falls’ “Extra Mile” award.

She serves on The Salvation Army Advisory Board, ACLU Idaho Board of Directors, and the Culture for Change Foundation.

Babayan says she is running for city council “to add some diversity to the stagnation in our representation.”

Her platform is based on the following concerns:

  • Transparent and inclusive government
  • Affordable housing and taxes
  • A healthy community and environment
  • Equality and dignity in representation
  • Small business support

Twin Falls City Council (Seat 6)

Incumbent Christopher Reid is running unopposed for Seat 6 and the race will not appear on the ballot.

This article originally ran on magicvalley.com.