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New District 31 sets up rematch for former District 35 representatives
New District 31 sets up rematch for former District 35 representatives From the Post Register "Two Republican candidates who each represented Idaho’s Legislative District 35 for two years are facing a rematch for a Republican primary election nomination in Idaho’s new District 31. Former representative Jerald Raymond is challenging Rep. Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, to be the Republican nominee for a District 31A House of Representatives seat. Hanks, a 63-year-old bus driver at Fremont County Joint School District 215, declined to be interviewed for this article but sent responses to a prior Post Register candidate questionnaire. Raymond, 67, served as the District 35A representative from 2018-2020 before Hanks narrowly defeated him in the 2020 Republican primary by 148 votes. He lives in Menan and has been involved in Idaho’s livestock industry throughout his professional life. Raymond said he was running for election because he doesn’t believe Hanks is communicating enough with the other legislators in her district to collaborate and find the best ways to represent their constituents. He noted Hanks and Rep. Rod Furniss, R-Rigby, canceled each other’s votes in the 2022 Legislative session 105 times. 'Maybe we (Raymond, Furniss and Sen. Van Burtenshaw, R-Terreton) didn’t always agree. We agreed most of the time, but if we didn’t agree, we at least discussed it to the point where we understood each other,' Raymond said. 'That is something that is not happening now and it needs to happen.' During his time in office, Raymond said he was most proud of his work with Furniss that eventually led to the teacher and school staff health insurance bill, which passed in the 2022 session. The bill creates a fund for school districts to place school staff on the state government’s health insurance plan. Raymond was unseated before the bill was written, but he said he and Furniss challenged Gov. Brad Little to address school employees who couldn’t afford health insurance. Hanks voted against the bill along with 13 other House members. Education continues to be Raymond’s main focus. If re-elected, he said he hopes to be appointed to the House’s education committee but recognizes that discretion for committee assignments lies with the Speaker of the House. 'I’m passionate about education for our kids,' Raymond said. '(My wife and I) have 24 grandkids being educated in Idaho. I want there to be quality education for our kids moving forward.' Another priority for Raymond is to protect both public and private rangeland, which he said is important to him as a rancher. Rangelands are open areas of land with native vegetation that are used for farming or hunting as farm animals or wild animals roam and graze the area. Idaho’s primary election is May 17. Either Hanks or Raymond will run against Democrat Connie Delaney from Salmon in the general election on Nov. 8."