Incumbent, two challengers on Republican Primary ballot for House Seat 28A

Gun Rights

BANNOCK COUNTY — Incumbent Richard Cheatum has two challengers for his seat in the Idaho House of Representatives.

Cheatum, a longtime Pocatello City Councilmember, is completing his first term in the seat and is running for a second. He will be challenged in the Republican Primary by James Lamborn and Mike Saville.

To learn more about the candidate’s platform, EastIdahoNews.com asked the candidates to answer the same eight questions. Their unedited responses, listed below, were required to be 250 words or less — some responses exceeded that word count and had to be trimmed.

The primary election is May 21.

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Learn more about Cheatum by visiting his website — here.

Learn more about Lamborn by visiting his website — here.

Learn more about Saville by visiting his website — here.

Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.

Cheatum: I was born and raised on a farm near Syracuse, Kansas and moved to Idaho in 1977 to manage a Pocatello radio station. I have a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Kansas. During my working career I held several positions in broadcasting, in the automobile business, and in Idaho credit unions. I have been married to Debra for 32 years and have a daughter, Nicole.

I have a life-long passion for hunting, fishing, and the shooting sports. I am a life member of the NRA and the Pocatello Trap Club, and belong to the Cedar Hills Gun Club and the Gate City Sport Shooting Association. My volunteer work has included working with the Idaho Chapter of Safari Club International, Southeast Mule Deer Foundation, Southeast Idaho Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pocatello Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, and Pocatello Friends of the NRA.

I am a member of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce and chair the Local Issues Committee. I am a member of the Chamber Chiefs and was chair for a year. I was a member of Portneuf Valley Partners for several years and chair for two years.

My first political service was as treasurer of the Bannock County Republican Party for two years. When I retired in 2017, I successfully ran for the Pocatello City Council. I was Council President in 2022 and 2023. I also serve on the Association of Idaho Cities Board of Directors.

Lamborn: I am 40 years old, and I live with my beautiful, brilliant wife, Misty. We have 2 grown daughters, Ashley, and Janelle, and 2 new grandbabies, Carter and Mallory Jane. I am the sitting Vice Chairman of the Power County GOP Central Committee, and Misty is the sitting State Committeewoman. I am a self-employed investor; my wife is semi-retired and works part-time for Pepsi Co. We both volunteer at our church, Mountain Valley Baptist Church in Pocatello, and we volunteer for the Bannock County Conservative Coalition, working to get authentic Republicans elected to various positions in local government. We are also very active with Pocatello’s Compassion and Hope Pregnancy Center.

Saville: I was born in Pocatello. My dad was a sergeant in the Air Force. As a military dependent, I attended schools in Illinois, Georgia, and Panama Canal Zone. I enlisted in the Air Force and served at Spangdahlem, West Germany 36 months during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War at the AFRTS TV station. After discharge, I returned to Pocatello and IBM hired me as a Field Engineer where I maintained IBM equipment in South East Idaho. I married Rochelle Clark Saville, have 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. After 10 years in Pocatello, IBM offered an executive Field Manager position, IBM transfer to Rochester, MN. IBM transfer to Los Angeles. IBM transfer to Salt Lake City, Retired with 32 years. Hired by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Retired second time 13 years. BSBA from the University of Phoenix. Volunteer work: Ham Radio K7CF, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Young Man of America 1979 and 1981, Utah Voting District Chairman, Idaho Legislative District 28 Chairman, Rotary, Pocatello/Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, Eastern Idaho State Fair Voter information booth since 2015. Pocatello Centennial Rotary. I have no experience in Public Office because job requirement at IBM was 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. IBM encouraged employees to be active in politics. The 4 years of military discipline, 50 years of community service, 45 years of corporate experience, taught me “Running to Win a Public Office is a Marathon not a Sprint.”

Why are you seeking political office? Briefly explain your political platform.

Cheatum: Let me begin by saying I have no personal agenda as a member of the Idaho House of Representatives. I passionately believe the best government is the one closest to the electorate. I consider myself a moderate conservative and have learned I do not have all the answers, I need to listen to others of every political persuasion, and I can be wrong. I want to protect personal freedoms, every individual’s right to make their own decisions, and perform the necessary functions of government with the lightest touch. The votes that have troubled me the most during the past two years are those that force me to balance the rights of the individual and the rights of society overall. Those cause me to seek advice and counsel from other legislators and local officials who have a different perspective on the issue.

Lamborn: I am seeking political office to offer true Republicanism to the genuine Republican voters of District 28 (Bannock County, Power County, Franklin County). A true Republican reveres the US Constitution, adheres to Conservative principles, and at least respects Christian morality. Regarding matters of government spending, education, and individual liberty – as well as faith, family, and freedom – Republican legislators ought RARELY to agree with Democrat legislators. The two parties are intentionally VERY different and ought not resemble each other in government (that was never the intention of our Founders). Competition between the two parties is the priority for freedom’s sake: not their compromise.

Saville: IN 2016, I was asked by Idaho State Senator Mark Nye to challenge Senator Jim Guthrie. Mark was a lawyer. I resisted citing “I’m Retired, I want to go fishing, go camping, be with my grandkids.”. Like most lawyers, Mark would not take No an answer. We talked for 90 minutes and toward the end of the call, I noticed my neighbor’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade children getting off the school bus at 4:45 after a 20-minute ride from school that reminded me of Why Marsh Valley schools were 4 days. I saw those 3 children getting on the bus at 6:30 AM. A long day for a 6-year-old. On Friday, there was no school. The mother was single and had to hire a baby sitter on Friday. Children were selling candy to play in the band and sports. Parents were asked to buy janitorial supplies. A 4th grader told me he did not like school because his text books were 10 years old with torn out missing pages. Teachers had to by Chrome computers to teach a mandatory class. Teachers had to pay $600 a month for family health insurance. The elementary school principal had to divide her week up, McCammon and Downey. Idaho State funding is 50Th in the nation at $8,000 vs the National Average of $12,000 with Wyoming at $19,000 per child. I discovered that Senator Risch, then Governor held a Special Session August 2006 where he pushed through HB-1 promoted as a property tax cut that slashed State funding to K-12 $260 million. Idaho Education News “Tax…

What are the greatest challenges facing people and communities in your district? What is your plan to meet those challenges?

Cheatum: Every community in Idaho faces some unique and some common problems. My service on the Board of Directors of the Association of Idaho Cities has provided me with the opportunity to hear from Mayors and City Councilors across the state and how they have addressed and solved problems. Some of those problems include water, sewer, transportation, funding and budgeting, labor shortages, affordable housing, planning for growth, and the mountains of paperwork required for compliance with the ever-increasing demands on government.

I think the ultimate source of many of the challenges facing Southeast Idaho is a demand for services from the growth we are experiencing. My view of the role of the Legislature in this area is to listen to the local authorities and their proposed solutions, draw upon the state’s experience and provide individualized solutions, not suppose the solution for a community of hundreds of thousands will work in a community of a few hundred.

Lamborn: Inflation is a HUGE challenge facing people and communities in District 28. Though much of it comes from fiscal irresponsibility on the federal level, some of it can be hedged here in Idaho on the state level. Disciplined and respectful treatment of our tax dollars by our state representatives will certainly help to curb the devaluing of our hard-earned money. The primary reason our taxes keep going up is because our state Republicans are spending our money as if they were our state Democrats. A billion dollars here… two billion dollars there… as if they were playing Monopoly. It’s immoral, dangerous, and totally unacceptable.

Saville: The austerity programs necessitated by 2006 HB-1 has starved public education. Last year K-12 decreased by 13,000 children as parents are voting with their feet home schooling, private schools. After my dad was transferred to Fort Gordon, GA near Augusta, I attended Segregated Schools from 1955 to 1961, Racism of water fountains that had a kids fountain marked “Colored”. Gas stations had bathrooms marked “Men – Women – Colored”. Woolworth department store lunch counter with 40 seats for Whites and 10 for Colored with a line out the door waiting to buy ice cream for their children. The Augusta Masters tournament hired me as a gallery guard wearing my JR ROTC uniform in 1960 had black caddies that were picked at random. I watched Arnold Palmer win in 1960. I took a City bus to buy an electron tube for my radio downtown Augusta after school, the bus was filled and I sat down next to a 65 year old black women. The bus driver pulled over at an empty bus stop, walked back where I was sitting and told the black woman to move to the back of the bus and said “Boy if you ever do that again, I will kick you off my bus. The Harlem Globe trotters could not stay in Augusta to play for the troops stationed at Fort Gordon. My dad took me to the base Gym to watch the Trotters. When the 1960 Presidential Election of Nixon and Kennedy, after lunch, my biology teacher said “If a Nigger comes in the front door of this…

How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views? How will you communicate directly with constituents?

Cheatum: I have not found a perfect solution to communicating with everyone on every issue. My email is flooded with hundreds of messages every day, especially when a divisive issue is being addressed. It is impossible to respond to each one and difficult to even find time to read them all, especially when they are computer generated identical copies. My personal cell phone and House phone are on the Legislative website, and I try to respond to every call. I do find time to read the letters that reach me during the session.

After a typical 7am-8:30 pm day I have found it difficult to make regular posts to a Facebook page or a website, but hope an office page may be able to help me this next term.

Lamborn: I will best represent the views of my constituents – even those with differing political views – by promoting virtues and values that are universal… that rise above partisan political disagreement. For example, we all want our children to be safe from physical, emotional, and mental harm. We all want enough money to retire on. We all want to be able to afford food and shelter, transportation, clothing, and medicine. We all yearn to be free from tyranny in all its forms. In the end, we’re all neighbors here in District 28 and we’re all Idahoans. The clearer we view each other as such, the better off we’ll all be.

Saville: I knock on District 28 doors and when they answer I ask them. I have had a booth at the Easten Idaho State Fair Voter Information booth in the Bazar building since 2015, 9 days from 10 AM to 10 PM where 1,000 people stop every year and tell me and the 127 Volunteers over the years their concerns and encourage them to Vote as 250,000 eligible voters are not registered to vote. Almost all of the 250,000 Fair visitors pass by the booth. Volunteers register voters and we direct them to voteidaho.gov to Register to Vote and request an absentee ballot. The common response by most who are not registered to vote is “My Vote doesn’t Count” mostly 18 to 40 years old. I have set up a tent in American Falls, Fort Hall, Chubbuck, Pocatello, Inkom, McCammon, Downey, Preston, Lava Hot Springs, and Weston as a Candidate. The Gerrymander of 2021 eliminated 50% of Inkom, McCammon, Lava Hot Springs, and Arimo from District 28 and added Preston, Franklin, Weston, and Dayton. Parades in Lava Hot Springs, Preston, McCammon, Chubbuck, Pocatello, Downey, Fort Hall and 100.s of pounds of candy. My 4 years of military service, 32 years with IBM in 1,000’s of clients where 50% of the activity was to give the IT manager Why the payroll was not printed so he could tell the CEO. As a Field Manager in Los Angeles with accounts like Lockheed, JPL, Universal Pictures, Paramount, Mo-Town Records, and Beverly Hills lawyers. I had to use my interpersonal skills to keep IBM equipment installed. I never lost a customer. Every…

What parts of the state budget could use more funding? Where are places in the budget that cuts could be made?

Cheatum: Every state department could probably do a better job with more equipment and more people. However, that would mean increasing taxes and fees to raise the necessary funds. State budgets are proposed by the Governor and then brought to the House and Senate in the form of budget bills by the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee, or JFAC. JFAC is composed of ten members from the House and ten members from the Senate. Working groups within JFAC carefully analyze the budget requests to create legislation that serves the mission of the department and serves the needs of Idahoans.

I serve on Revenue and Taxation, Local Government, and Commerce and Human Resources, not JFAC. While I review each budget when it comes to the House for a vote, I rely on and trust the decision made in the committee.

I have concerns about the condition of many of the state buildings. Postponing maintenance, remodeling and replacement has created a huge, deferred debt load that is only going to become worse if it is ignored. We are catching up on the needed transportation improvements across the state, and this year took a giant step toward helping schools with needed facilities improvements, but the next challenge will be addressing changing needs in state office space and in our colleges and universities.

Lamborn: Local sheriffs’ and police departments could use more funding in District 28. An effective and noble local law enforcement is far easier to maintain and control than federal law enforcement. In fact, the more adequately funded our local cops are, the more insulated and protected we are from the inevitable tyrannical elements which arise, from time to time, within the numerous federal bureaucracies. Public funds which go to promulgate woke, leftist ideals within our public school system – ideals which are used to brainwash our kids, K-12, into hating their sex, race, religion, and country – ought to be withdrawn permanently. There is just no reason OUR public funds should be used to promote the big lies of DEI, CRT, “transgenderism”, or Marxism in our schools. These types of indoctrination only abuse our kids; they never help them.

Saville: Education is being starved for the benefit of Charter and private schools, Not only do Charter schools receive State funding but also millions from the Idaho Lottery. The Governor announces Tax rebates that is based on taxable income, a tax rebate of 7% for example with taxable income of $1,000,000 receives $70,000 and a family with a $55,000 taxable income receives $3,850. My business experience has taught me how to “Follow the Money”. Sales taxes, flat taxes, user fees, Sin taxes, and grocery taxes are regressive meaning it impacts Seniors and low income more than the 30,000 Idaho millionaires. Mike Moyle, the House speaker is the Property Tax guru of Idaho. He and his unknown to the public friends present tax bills with little notice usually at the 90th day of the 94 day session I watched other legislators complain they had no time to analyze the tax bill to vote on. This year there was a huge Omnibus bill that funded multiple state agencies submitted by Speaker Moyle. The wealthy in Idaho are very well served by the majority party.

Are you currently working on any legislation or have ideas for bills that you feel are vital to the future of Idaho? Please provide details.

Cheatum: Currently, I have no firm plans for 2025 bills. I am trying to catch my breath after the 2024 divisive session and look back at what was accomplished and what was left incomplete or undecided. I have been approached by a couple of people about things they perceive as issues, but I have not begun to consider solutions. I am certain we will see an attempt to legislate the spending of public money on private education, change the way rate-regulated utilities are assessed and taxed, change the way urban renewal works, and more tweaks to public education funding and lowering income tax rates.

Lamborn: am not currently working on any legislation. However, any bills which promote the spirit, and the letter of our national and state constitutions are bills which I would happily sponsor, co-sponsor, and vote for.

Saville: This does not apply unless I am elected in May. When Bannock County raised property taxes 20% for 40,000 properties including mine, I needed to find comparable properties. I discovered that Idaho does not disclose the sales price of a sold Real Estate. The County Assessor knows, the Real Estate brokers know, the bank knows, the title company knows, but NOT the public. Idaho is one of 14 States that hide home sales prices from the Public. The increase was done by a computer program, not an assessor. I was one of 350 who protested to the Tax Commission. Idaho needs to improve transparency with a score of “D” minus for Ethics, there is a problem. With little transparency in any governing body, there is opportunity for corruption.

Have you seen any mistakes made by the Idaho Legislature in recent years? How would you work to correct these errors?

Cheatum: Declaring something a mistake depends entirely on your perspective. What is good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. I would like to see a requirement the fiscal note that is required in every bill include not only the impact on the state, but also a realistic impact on local government if it affects those jurisdictions.

I don’t like bills written with a variety of barely linked topics and require a vote on the main issue that is a good thing, while also passing something much less desirable. That happened in 2024 with HB521 that provided facilities maintenance for schools, but required them to hold class 5 days a week. There seems to be at least one bill every year that is drafted this way. As a legislator, my only solution is to protest in committee or on the floor during debate and try to get enough support to amend the bill, separate the diverse topics, or defeat it and hope the good parts survive in another bill.

Lamborn: I’m not sure I would consider all the bad votes I’ve seen in recent years in our state legislature “mistakes.” I think there aren’t currently enough authentic Republicans within Idaho’s GOP ranks, for more good bills to have been passed, and more bad bills to have been rejected. Rank Choice Voting is the biggest threat to our state’s election integrity that has ever existed, period. Too many Republicans (including some in District 28) joined the majority of Democrats in promoting it. Six bills have been created in the legislature to remove sexually explicit imagery from the Young Teen section of our publicly funded libraries (about 40 total in our state so far), yet District 28 Republicans kept voting with the Democrats to keep the pornography available to our children. And, of course, all the EGREGIOUS Democrat spending bills that have made it to the Governor’s desk, due to the non-principled capitulation of the handful of “usual suspects” within our Republican ranks. The “mistakes,” so called, are, in fact, the phony and fraudulent politicians who call themselves Republicans being anywhere near our state legislature.

Saville: Abortion, demonizing 1% of Idaho Citizens – Transgender, the Library $250 Bounty, and the corporate written bills that come from the American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC and the dark money funded Idaho Freedom Foundation, are just a few since I first ran for the Idaho Legislature in 2016. I can do something if elected.

What is the most important issue facing Idahoans? What is a legislator’s role in meeting or addressing that issue?

Cheatum: As I mentioned above, the core of the problems we face in Idaho are almost always related to growth. Idaho has been discovered. We cannot stop the growth, but we can look for innovative ways to manage and accommodate the growth while sustaining the lifestyle that is attracting the new residents and makes Idaho such a desirable place to live. Housing shortages, increasing water and sewer needs, transportation infrastructure, power requirements, maintaining our farms and ranches, and access to public land, are all issues facing the state and many a number of local areas. In many cases, the best solution is for the state to let locals solve their own problems, but sometimes a broader stroke is needed.

Whether it is individually as legislators, as a regional or like-minded group, or in committee hearings, we need to listen carefully and examine both sides of every issue before acting.

Lamborn: The most important issue facing Idahoans is our financial dependency on Washington DC, as well as the inflation of our currency due to Washington DC, primarily. And the two issues are inextricable from each other. We must, as Idahoans, play our part in controlling our spending and maintaining our autonomy from the Democrats in our federal government.

Saville: A woman’s reproduction rights, Abortion laws where OG-BYN doctors are voting with their feet and leaving Idaho. The draconian laws that puts law enforcement in a difficult position to enforce like helping a girl receive help from anyone. Minimum 10 year sentences starting at age 14 if in possession of 4 grams of fentanyl. There are 21 Hate and anti-government organizations in Idaho according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 3 areas, North of Idaho Falls, West of Boise and North Idaho who are active in Idaho politics electing legislators. It was not this way when IBM transferred me in 1976. Passng Gun laws like 18 year old youngsters can wear a gun at Costco. Idaho is not the safe State I grew up in today.

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