District 3 House seat B: Don Cheatham

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POST FALLS - Don Cheatham wants to help Idaho stand on its own.

Cheatham, a Republican, is seeking the District 3 House seat held by the retiring Frank Henderson. Others seeking the position are Greg Gfeller and Jeff Ward.

"We need to get away from depending on the federal government and rely on Idaho's resilience," Cheatham said. "One of the most important lessons learned from my travels is mistakes other states have made in recognizing and resisting excessive and unnecessary federal regulatory oversight."

Cheatham is a former Los Angeles police officer and recently retired from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At DHS, he was a protective security adviser before being promoted to the regional director for the Southwest.

"With my experience at Homeland Security, I have the knowledge to reach out to different sectors of the economy," he said.

He also worked in the private sector for Bank of America in corporate security.

"I tried retiring three times, but it didn't work," Cheatham said. "I was approached about getting into the political area, and I believe this is one of the most charitable things that I can do.

"All my jobs have been working with the public."

With economic development, Cheatham said the best way to attract business is to have fewer regulations and lower taxes.

"There are an abundance of items which impact us and need to be analyzed, including our energy, transportation, the banking and financial sector, in addition to supply chain strategies to enhance our desirability."

Cheatham said, in most cases, he doesn't believe urban renewal districts are justifiable or a fair way to attract business.

"Are we financing high-rise condominiums the average person cannot afford?" he said. "How does this benefit our citizens and what if the business declares bankruptcy prior to the debt being paid off? It's not the government's job to pick and choose winners and losers, especially when the public has no say whatsoever in how their tax dollars are being spent when it comes to the urban renewal districts."

Cheatham believes expanding Medicaid in Idaho is a bad idea.

"I don't think that we could sustain it," he said. "This is an entitlement program that gives the state little control ...

"Expansion would force people into the same federal health care system. Medicaid is a broken system on the federal level riddled with rising costs. By expanding it further, Idaho jeopardizes our existing system which is close to non-sustainable with the expected amount of new enrollees to have significant fiscal impacts."

He believes that many small businesses can't afford to raise the minimum wage.

"Most businesses have raised their wages as much as they can on their own," he said, adding that some employees could get laid off if the wage is raised.

Cheatham said legislators shouldn't get involved with adding language to discrimination laws to protect lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgendered people because that would be giving rights to a special group.

Cheatham said that, as a pro-lifer, he's thankful for being adopted by loving parents who made his life possible. He's also a strong supporter of the right to bear arms.

During the Vietnam War era, Cheatham served in the U.S. Air Force.

"I support and look forward to brainstorming with our citizens on how to better assist our veterans," he said.

Profile:

Don Cheatham

Age: 68

Profession: recently retired from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Educational background: bachelor's degree in criminal justice

Public service: None

Community service: Kootenai Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, National Rifle Association, Coeur d'Alene Rifle and Pistol Club

How many years as a resident of your district: two

Marital status: Married to his wife, Lynn, for 30 years

Hobbies: golfing, fishing

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction in the candidate's age.

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