Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Mick Halverson Wants to Start a Conversation
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Mick Halverson has been known to recite some engrossing cowboy poetry.
 
Sunday, November 4, 2018
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Mick Halverson was running late, having just come from meeting with subcontractors during which he asked how they might be able to cut costs for affordable housing.

“I’ve had a hundred or so meetings since I announced my candidacy for Blaine County commissioner,” said Halverson who is running as a Republican in District 1.

Halverson, who live in Picabo, would do things on a handshake, if he could.

 
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Mick Halverson gave the Howard Preserve its first legal right of way.
 

Raised in Mackay where his father ran a general merchandise store, he moved to the Wood River Valley 49 years ago fresh out of high school. Here, he convinced the owner of a plumbing job to hire him instead of the young man he’d just hired.

“I said, ‘Fire him. Hire me,’ ” Halverson recounted. “I said, ‘I’ll do a better job. Let me work for you and I’ll prove it.’ ”

“I’d never done work like that before,” he added. “But I was raised you don’t ever say you can’t do stuff.  You tell people you’ve never done it before but you’ll try.”

Halverson implemented a new bookkeeping service and answered the phone on Christmas morning. And he apparently did a good enough job that when the company’s owner had to take his wife away for kidney dialysis, he left the 19-year-old in charge for nearly a year. When the owner decided his wife’s illness wouldn’t allow him to return, Halverson bought him out, even though it meant not claiming a college scholarship he’d been awarded.

 “I gave him my word and I couldn’t break it,” said Halverson, who retired from the business 20 years ago after running it for 30.

At 23 Halverson bought first piece of ground with the money he made from selling a truck and a horse. And, over the years, he invested in several rental properties.

“My most expensive rental unit is $800 for a three-bedroom, half-car garage, and my cheapest is $550. I  take less money to keep costs down to help people,” he said.

What if government entities offered property tax relief for three to five years to those willing to help solve the housing crisis? Or waive full or partial sewage fees? he asks.

We all need to help with housing issues--any challenge or crisis affects all of us. And we can’t have cities just tending to their own interests—we’re all in this together,” said Halverson, who has served on Bellevue Planning and Zoning for six years.

Halverson calls himself “conservative” as opposed to “a conservative.” If elected, he said, his focus would be on serving and protecting.

“People want to be served and protected—they don’t want to be ruled over,” he said.

Halverson says he has volunteered to waive his benefits package if elected, except for the PERSI benefits.

“The commissioners make $90,000 a year and when they raised their base salary their benefits went up to $33,000 so they’re making close to $120,000 with a salary increase this year. That’s too much. I propose taking $20,000 out of the base and donating it to some project like habitat restoration.”

(Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen says commissioners' salary is actually $84,024.)

Halverson notes that one of the first things people usually ask him is what platform he’s running on.  It shouldn’t be up to commissioners to announce their positions on federal issues.

“I tell people: Let’s have a conversation. Tell me how I can help you,” he said. “It’s not up to the county to make federal law.”

 

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