Candidate Questionnaire: 2024 primary election

Races for Bonner County commissioner Dist. 1 and Dist. 3 and Bonner County sheriff

Compiled by Zach Hagadone and Soncirey Mitchell

Publisher’s note: Before each election, the Sandpoint Reader reaches out to candidates in contested races to ask questions about how they would represent the constituents in the offices they seek. Below are questions and answers for the offices of District 1 and District 3 Bonner County commissioner, as well as Bonner County sheriff in the Tuesday, May 21 primary election. Next week’s edition will feature candidates running in contested Idaho legislative races.

All candidates who responded to our questions have been included below, with some answers edited lightly for length.

There are two candidates forums coming up: the first featuring Bonner County candidates on Monday, April 29 hosted by the Bonner County Daily Bee and Selkirk Association of Realtors; the other featuring Idaho Legislative District 1 candidates on Tuesday, April 30 and hosted by KRFY 88.5FM, and the Sandpoint Reader. 

Both forums will be held at the Sandpoint High School auditorium and will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude no later than 8 p.m.

Finally, don’t forget to vote Tuesday, May 21.

Bonner County Commissioner

1. Why are you running for Bonner County commissioner?

2. What do you think are the three most important issues to your constituents?

3. What do you see as the top challenge facing your district — or the county in general — 

and how do you propose to address it?

4. Given the amount of lawsuits the county has faced in recent years, how would you use your position to protect against 

future litigation? What next steps would you propose to ensure that the county gets and maintains proper insurance?

5. The political climate surrounding the board of county commissioners has become notoriously divisive under the current 

BOCC. How would you diagnose the reasons for that division and how would you ease the tensions on the board?

District 1

James Burroughs, R

No photo submitted

Age: 58

Birthplace and residence: DID NOT RESPOND

How many years lived in Bonner County: DID NOT RESPOND

Past/current government service (if applicable): Retired correctional peace officer

Profession: Food service director

Education: Two associates degrees

Contact info: [email protected], 530-304-1741, no website



Brian Domke, R

Age: 49

Birthplace and residence: born in New Jersey, Bonner County resident

How many years lived in Bonner County: 10

Past/current government service (if applicable): chairman of the Planning and Zoning Sub-Area Committee for Priest River/Oldtown (2019-2021), member of the Bonner County Natural Resource Committee (2017-2019)

Profession: Landscape architect

Education: B.S., Cornell University; A.A.S., Morrisville State College

Contact info: [email protected], (208) 610-9853, 



1. I am running for this office to bring decorum and effectiveness back to the board of county commissioners. The current dysfunction within the BOCC has created an environment that is inefficient, creating unnecessary liability, a work environment that negatively impacts the retention/recruitment of county staff, and has resulted in an adversarial relationship between the BOCC and the public. It is my intent to reverse these negative impacts so that our county can rebuild a healthy relationship with the public, retain and attract talented county staff, reduce its legal liability, and use tax dollars in an effective and efficient manner.

2. I believe the citizens of our county desire to have a board of county commissioners that: 

a. works together effectively by focusing on making well-vetted decisions that include listening to the voice of the public, instead of being distracted by personality conflicts;

b. actively seeks to keep the size and cost of county government limited to reduce our tax burden;

c. protects private property rights, our natural resources and our community as a whole, which are threatened by poorly planned growth and unlawful land use decisions.

3. The top challenge facing our county is the rapid growth that has overburdened our infrastructure, driven up property/housing costs and undermined the fabric of our rural character. Solving this challenge requires improving the county’s Comprehensive Plan to better assess and define which areas of the county can support stable growth without overtaxing the capacity of the land or harming the adjacent neighbors, revamping county land use regulations to provide clear and concise permitting requirements, and defining impact fees so that the burden of cost for new development falls on those benefiting from the project, not the current residents.

4. I would protect the county from future litigation by only voting in favor of board decisions that are openly deliberated and lawful to the best of my knowledge. Such lawful decisions would include respecting the constitutionally protected rights of the public, complying with the Comprehensive Plan and land use regulations, and working to maintain a professional working relationship with all other elected county officers. Treating each citizen equally under the law can significantly reduce the county’s future liability. Once the county has reduced its level of risk, obtaining property insurance will become more competitive and affordable.

5. The current BOCC dysfunction appears to stem from personality conflicts among the board. The BOCC should be focused on addressing issues, instead of attacking people. I would help restore professional conduct through leading by example. This would include treating others with respect and staying focused on each issue, not the personalities associated with it. To this end, I would second the motion of each of the other board members so that the idea can be heard and its merit can be vigorously debated before being voted on — allowing the idea to win or lose, not the person presenting the idea.

Brian Riley, R

Age: 50

Birthplace and residence: Born in Laguna Beach, Calif., and currently resides in Sagle

How many years lived in Bonner County: 39 years, since April 1985

Past/current government service (if applicable): N/A

Profession: Semi-retired business manager

Education: Three years of secondary education and over 20 years of practical management experience

Contact info: [email protected], 208-255-9229


1. I feel that I have the qualifications and experience to perform the roles and duties of a county commissioner as outlined by the Idaho Association of Counties. I also feel that our culture and sense of community is important to the residents of Bonner County as it is with me — our family’s roots go back several generations in Bonner County. 


a. Property taxes affect everyone and are all impacted by tax rates. 

b. Property rights are a focus within our communities due to several factors, including the Comp Plan being outdated. There have been several individuals in our community who have volunteered large amounts of time to get this completed and by the time of January inaugurations, the new BOCC is expected to have this as a tool. 

c. Infrastructure improvements (or lack thereof) will have many impacts to our communities. The challenges of employee retention and recruiting are an issue in the departments providing many of our infrastructure services. 

3. There will be several challenges but one that will impact the largest percentage of our county is maintaining the needed employee base to carry out the services expected to be provided by Bonner County. The ability to retain and attract qualified employees for the open positions within the county affect services and drain available budgets due to training and hiring costs.

4. Consistently follow our laws and ordinances when making decisions. If a potential “loophole” exists, make an agenda item to review the appropriate policy. Working with the risk manager and requesting annual audits is not out of the realm of expectations for validating the correct insurance is being selected both for cost and coverage. 

5. Understanding that conflicting interpretations or thoughts on an issue are not to be discouraged. Many times I have learned that there were perceptions surrounding an issue that I had not considered that did in fact change my decision. Allow for discussion and input on issues before finalizing a decision but keep the discussion centered on the topic. Experience in having had to do this is very helpful in these circumstances.

District 3

Dimitry Borisov, R

Age: 45

Birthplace and residence: Soviet Union, residing in Clark Fork, Idaho

Years lived in Bonner County: 23

Past/current government service (if applicable): N/A

Profession: self-employed

Education: some college

Contact info:, [email protected]



1. I’m running for Bonner County commissioner to ensure transparency, accountability, responsible governance, and responsible land use practices and planning. With my background in community service and dedication to listening to residents’ concerns, I aim to represent their interests effectively and advocate for positive change.

2. Restoring trust in the commissioners’ office. The lack of fiscal accountability to the taxpayer for the county funds at the fair. The sudden and unmetered housing boom with no street plan to mitigate traffic safety and practical use. Addressing responsible land use practices and planning.

3. The primary challenge is restoring trust, accountability and integrity in the commissioners’ office. I will advocate for increased transparency, regular public engagement and a commitment to ethical governance. By actively involving residents in decision-making processes and prioritizing open communication, we can rebuild confidence in our local government.

4. I would prioritize proactive measures to minimize legal risks: closely working with legal counsel, seeking their guidance on potential liabilities; thoroughly assessing all available information before making decisions, while also working with risk management; regularly reviewing county policies and procedures to identify areas for improvement. By being transparent, accountable and having responsible governance practices, we can mitigate the possibilities of future litigation.

5. I believe the division stems from differing priorities and communication breakdowns, such as the unwillingness to listen to different opinions. To ease tensions, I’d prioritize open dialogue, build a culture of respect and collaboration, and focus on common goals for the betterment of Bonner County.

Jeff L. Glass, R

Ron Korn, R

Luke Omodt, R

Age: 46

Birthplace and residence: Missoula, Mont.; Sandpoint, Idaho

Years lived in Bonner County: 45

Past/current government service (if applicable): 23 years United States Army SFC (ret.), 12 years as a government teacher at BFHS/SHS/CFHS and Middle School, current county commissioner

Profession: soldier/teacher/commissioner

Education: B.A., secondary education social studies with a minor in government; U.S. Army NCOES: WLC, BLC, ALC, SLC, Equal Opportunity leader, Master Resilience trainer

Contact info: [email protected],, 208-946-3395

1. Bonner County is a great place to live. I grew up here, left for the U.S. Army to realize how great home was, married a girl from my high school class and live across the street from my grandmother’s house. County commissioners run a public utility company responsible for safe roads and bridges; weeds, airports, EMS and the Sheriff’s Office; solid waste and more. These statutorily obligated services are paid through property taxes. Bonner County deserves efficient, prudent and competent leadership. I have the experience, commitment and temperament to protect and improve our quality of life. Vote Luke Omodt.

2. The three most important issues are the health, safety and welfare of Bonner County. County government is created by the law to provide services to the residents of Bonner County. Voters should demand competent, civil and responsible leadership that protects the ability of individuals to live their lives as they see fit. County residents should feel secure in their homes, finances and their opportunities. Parents need to know their kids are safe and they work in a county that is fiscally responsible. Reliable, efficient and prudent use of taxpayer monies is the recipe for the success of local government.

3. The biggest challenge facing District 3 and Bonner County is addressing a growing county with an exodus of labor due to limited and exorbitantly expensive housing. We are addressing this challenge by updating our Comprehensive Plan with data-influenced decisions, improving roads and bridges with detailed analysis, and providing a stable regulatory environment to sustain a vibrant business community with economic opportunity. More government is not the solution. We are an ingredient in the mix of a free market, economic opportunity, a ridiculous quality of life and the opportunity for residents to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

4. We live in an age where people sue without consequence. Until I took this job I’d never been sued — I’ve never sued anybody. Bonner County is currently paying three outside law firms and five lawyers to defend us against lawsuits from one employee of the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office. Personally, I think that this is nuts. Property insurance is crazy with the risk of fire like Lahaina’s and Paradise Valley. Big insurance companies are pulling out of Idaho. Commissioner Bradshaw and I saved Bonner County $200,000 by not accepting the status quo and switching to Idaho Farm Bureau Insurance.

5. I’ve been an Idaho Republican since turning 18. Since taking this job I’ve been called a “tyrant,” “king,” “racist” and “misogynist.” Chaos merchants who revel in disruption are entitled to their opinions and rage. I’ve asked what they are mad about and received silence. I’ve lived for years in warzones serving this country. I know how blessed we are. I choose joy, humility, integrity, professionalism and competence. I am here to serve all of Bonner County. I chose to serve my country, to teach our youth, and am asking for your vote to protect and defend our quality of life.

Bonner County Sheriff

1. Why are you running for sheriff?

2. What do you think are the three most important issues to your constituents?

3. What sets you apart from your opponent?

4. What do you see as the top challenge facing the county, and how do you propose to address it?

5. There have been undeniable tensions between the BOCC and the Sheriff’s Office  in recent years. How would you diagnose the reasons for those tensions and how would you ease them going forward?

Steven Bradshaw, R

Age: 69

Birthplace and residence: Born in Pasadena, Texas; moved to Bonner County in 1988

Years lived in Bonner County: 36

Past/current government service (if applicable): Elected as a Bonner County commissioner in 2018 and finishing my second term (six years)

Profession: Self-employed as a commercial and residential contractor for 45 years


Contact info: 208-597-2383, [email protected]



1. I am running for Bonner County Sheriff because I have watched good deputies leave our sheriff’s department over the years, all the while being told by the current sheriff “they left because of the pay.” The last five-and-a-half years I have worked with the previous board and brought our deputies pay up considerably, even with budget restraints. That being said, I have lived here 36 years and I haven’t talked to a single deputy that left in the last 15 years because of the money. I have known most of them. Something is seriously wrong.

2. The current S.O. organizational chart resembles a funnel standing on its point. If it were a ship, it would capsize and sink. At its current state it is not sustainable and desperately needs to be restructured. We need more deputies on the street and less office deputies. In my five-and-a-half years, we have built two EMS stations with one in the planning stage for the Blanchard area — the second being completed this year, which will also house many county departments with room for future needs as growth continues for years to come, and at no increase to the taxpayer.

3. The office of sheriff is an administrative position and does not require law enforcement experience, but right and wrong combined with common sense and the ability to manage. The current S.O. budget is a disaster. I can correct that and help our deputies at the same time. I will be an honest servant to the people of Bonner County while also being a leader of what I consider to be some of the best law enforcement personnel in the Northwest.

4. Moving from the current EMS station in downtown Sandpoint will save the county approximately $10,000 per month and moving DMV from the Bonner Mall in the future will save $1,350, lowering the county’s cost by $136,000 annually. We also lowered the county property insurance by $200,000 with better and more detailed coverage at a $10,000 deductible instead of $100,000 deductible. I have proven my fiscal and managerial abilities.

5. We need an honest person for sheriff. Vote Steven Bradshaw for Bonner County sheriff.

Daryl Wheeler, R

Age: 66

Birthplace and residence: California, Bonner County

Years lived in Bonner Co.: 25

Past/current government service (if applicable): 38 years in law enforcement

Profession: Bonner County sheriff, 15 years

Education: All possible Idaho certifications: see website

Contact info:, P.O. Box 795, Ponderay, ID 83852


1. To continue to keep Bonner County a safe place to live, work, learn and play.


a. Liberty;

b. Safety;

c. Fiscal management.

3. I have 38 years of law enforcement experience, with 15 of those years as your sheriff. My opponent has no law enforcement experience.

4. After the lockdown, the price of housing soared and has become unaffordable. Kootenai County pays their deputies $10 more an hour than Bonner County deputies. It is the responsibility of the county commissioners to make sure that wages are competitive. We invest around $100,000 in each deputy. We throw away that money each time we lose one of our deputies. It is short-sighted to ignore this reality.

5. Over the last few years there have been several dysfunctional boards in North Idaho. All have exhibited a similar structure: board members who were intolerant of other members, the public and elected officials; members engaging in obvious decision making outside of board meetings and keeping the main stakeholders outside the decision-making process; behavior that encourages lawsuits. The only solution to the Jerry Springer Show in Bonner County will happen when the two male members are replaced at the ballot box. Hopefully we will get new commissioners who are fiscally responsible, practice lawful land use and are favorable to law enforcement.

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