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Wednesday, April 21, 2004


Mix touts
20 years in office

‘Why change what’s not really not broken?’

"I think part of this election is: Why take the risk? I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve never had an agenda. Why change what’s really not broken?"

MARY ANN MIX, Incumbent candidate for Blaine County Commission

Express Staff Writer

Incumbent Blaine County Commissioner Mary Ann Mix has been working in public office for 20 years.

With a lengthy public track record and a long résumé that includes the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission, Hailey City Council and Blaine County Commission, not to mention a half-dozen other governing boards, Mix said voters should consider voting for her in the May 25 primary election, in part, because they know what they’ll get.

"I think part of this election is: Why take the risk? I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve never had an agenda. Why change what’s really not broken," she said. "This time, I think the community really needs that proven leadership and effective coalition building."

Tom Bownman, a former chairman of the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission, is challenging Mix in the primary. Both candidates are Democrats. No Republican has filed for the seat.

Mix, who declined to reveal her age—"I’m over 50. We’ll leave it at that"—said she is running for re-election because she continues to love her community.

"I have a great deal of depth and knowledge about things that are happening in this community," she said. "It is truly one of the special places in the world."

Among the top issues she highlighted is managing the county government in a fiscally responsible way in the face of continued growth.

"Balancing land-use planning with fiscal conservatism is really important for Blaine County right now," she said. "How we pay for our infrastructure over the next 10 years is important. It’s important to not raise taxes."

Mix said she has a knack for building coalitions and added that the time is ripe to begin looking at planning issues from a regional perspective.

Putting her money where her mouth is, Mix just last week brought diverse stakeholders from southern Blaine County together to attempt resolving a conflict that occurred when a local canal company cleared trees from one of its waterways and exposed a number of Southern Star Subdivision homeowners to Highway 75.

"We need to move forward and not let egos get in the way," she said. "My experience and my depth in the knowledge of this—building these coalitions—is really critical at this time."

During an interview on Tuesday, April 13, Mix elaborated on four issues she said could shape Blaine County’s foreseeable future: examining impacts from the Friedman Memorial Airport, balancing Blaine County’s staggering growth with a diversifying economy, ensuring local elderly people can afford to live locally and wrestling with pressures created by urban flight.

Among the accomplishments she emphasized was a move in 1997 to initiate a geographical information system network. That early work has become the backbone for the current implementation of Emergency 911 services in Blaine County.

"If it wasn’t for GIS and the efforts I made in GIS, we would not be able to implement E-911," she said. "It would not be possible. I can truthfully say that is an accomplishment I am solely responsible for."

She also emphasized her work on behalf of open space, mediation legislation that was used to reach consensus on a new medical office building at the St. Luke’s Wood River Regional Medical Center site and land acquisition for future infrastructure needs.

Mix serves on no fewer than seven governing boards. She is chair of the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority. She is chair of the Blaine Manner Board of Directors. She is on the Southern Idaho Solid Waste Authority and chairs the Idaho Association of Counties Environment, Energy and Land Use Committee. She is on the Northern Rockies Folk Festival board.

As for free time, she said she doesn’t have much of a social life, but added:

"I really have the passion. My community is worth it."


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