My wife, Tyree was also raised in North Idaho, and together we have two sons, aged four and one. My Family has over 80 years of history in this part of the state, and we are proud to be members of this community and Idaho.
I have more than a decade of experience in the franchising business, both as a franchisee and a franchisor, developing businesses and employing people. I first became a Pita Pit franchisee in 2003, and then was fortunate enough to be part of the team that took the reins of Pita Pit USA in the spring of 2005. I’m active with the International Franchise Association through their Legislative Action Group and Franchise Action Network. I also participate locally on the Board of Directors for the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce and the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association.
Economic development and vitality is critical to the overall health and future of any community. If you look across Idaho, you’ll see that a majority of our smaller, rural towns have seen a decrease in population while areas like Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Boise, Idaho Falls, and larger cities across the state have continued to multiply in size. The ability of our citizens to flourish, and our communities to thrive, will require the constant creation of good paying jobs in an environment where government is less intrusive on the private sector.
We are an aging state, and most residents – both newcomers and natives want easy and affordable access to healthcare, a strong public school system, recreational opportunities, and a genuine sense of community. These amenities help us attract and retain a more diversified, talented workforce. The poorest communities in the state struggle to provide the critical services and opportunities most desired by its citizens.
Naturally, it takes more than a quick look to understand our region’s challenges, but those most critical of issues often identify the problems while offering little in the way of solutions. Being born and raised in North Idaho has given me a precious frame of reference, and firsthand understanding of many of the issues we’ve struggled with, and in many cases overcome, as a community.
At one time, the economy of North Idaho was heavily dependent on mining, timber and agricultural production. With the decline in these industries, we have had to diversify our economy by identifying, recruiting and encouraging the development of new opportunities and new or expanding businesses. The progress in Kootenai County is the result of tremendous effort over the years to develop the economy of the area by highlighting its natural beauty and identifying new opportunities for it to thrive. Cooperation, coordination and a genuine commitment from many parties has gotten us to the strong position we find ourselves in today.