By Reader Staff
Bonner County Commissioner Luke Omodt has announced he will seek an additional term representing District 3, which includes the areas immediately north of Sandpoint and the eastern portion of the county.
Omodt gained office in 2022, serving a term that expires in January 2025, and will run on the Tuesday, May 17 Republican Party primary ballot.
As he stated in his campaign announcement, his “first year in office has been turbulent,” but Omodt “is proud of the accomplishments of the Bonner County board of commissioners choosing to focus on statutory obligations to the taxpayer instead of the rough and tumble local politics.”
The turbulence to which Omodt referred stems from the ongoing pattern of disruption and rancor both on the part of members of the public and the commissioners themselves that has characterized BOCC meetings since the current board — consisting of Omodt and Commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Asia Williams — took office in January 2023. In addition, the Bonner County Republican Central Committee considered but ultimately voted against censuring Omodt and Bradshaw in the fall of 2023, citing alleged constitutional and party platform violations, mostly related to conflicts over allowing public comment at BOCC meetings, which has proved to be a contentious and even volatile issue over the past year or more [see Page 4]..
Omodt’s campaign announcement stated that he would focus on “common sense conservatism, fiscal accountability, and improved communication and transparency between taxpayers and their government,” while “taking, answering and posting questions about county government on his YouTube channel, Facebook and website lukeomodt.com.”
A lifelong county resident and 1995 graduate of Sandpoint High School, Omodt retired from the Idaho Army National Guard in 2022 after four deployments and 23 years of service. He taught American government at Bonners Ferry High School for 10 years prior to his election in 2022.
According to his campaign, Omodt will continue to prioritize the completion of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, which provides goals, objectives and policies to direct growth and development in the county. Omodt stated that the final components of the plan will be “Land Use” and “Natural Resources,” to be taken up this spring.
In addition, Omodt’s campaign highlighted construction of EMS Station 1, which is due to be completed in the fall of 2024 and geared toward “modernizing EMS, Veterans Services and Coroner’s facilities.” The campaign stated that the project “has been funded through wise and prudent fiscal policy that will modernize and serve Bonner County for decades to come.”
Noting other accomplishments from his time in office, Omodt’s campaign also pointed to the Bonner County Road and Bridge Department, which has received about $21.4 million in grants, “with zero county match,” to fund six replacement bridges.
Meanwhile, “we’re chasing a seventh bridge replacement, and are submitting a $2.75 million grant to upgrade the Merritt Brothers Bridge in Priest River,” Omodt’s campaign wrote in its announcement.
Finally, the campaign stated that with low snow levels this winter, the Emergency Management Department’s BonFire Program will continue to protect private property at no cost to private landowners by removing hazardous fuels, ladder fuels, and increasing tree spacing.
“Bonner County has grown to 52,000 people in my lifetime from the 24,000 when I first crossed the Long Bridge in 1979; change is hard. Democracy is hard,” Omodt wrote. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done to prepare Bonner County for its future. Bonner County is home and it is worth it.”