Marc Eberlein speaks about his candidacy in the Republican primary for Kootenai County Commissioner at his home in Post Falls, Idaho, on March 9, 2024.

Marc Eberlein Runs on Successful Conservative Record in Campaign for County Commissioner

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

POST FALLS, Idaho – Marc Eberlein is hoping to win in a busy field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the commissioner seat in district one. To date, five men have announced their candidacy, and Eberlein is the second to sit down and discuss his campaign with the Kootenai Journal.

Interview with Marc Eberlein in March 9, 2024, in Post Falls, Idaho.

In the peaceful ambiance of Eberlein’s home, he shared why he is running and how important the position is to county taxpayers. Eberlien, who previously served as a Kootenai County Commissioner from 2014 to 2018, said there is no learning curve for commissioners, the duties start on day one, and mistakes are paid for by the taxpayers. “I don’t need any training wheels,” quipped Eberlein with a smile. He said he “learned from the best” in reference to county budget issues.

Eberlein embraces the principles of government held by the Founding Fathers and says the purpose of having elected officials is to oversee governmental activities on behalf of taxpayers. “Liberal ideology and special interest groups are attempting to overturn the North Idaho lifestyle we so love,” stated Eberlein.

His record while serving as county commissioner for four years shows a strict adherence to fiscal responsibility and accountability. In April 2018, the Republican central committee unanimously adopted a resolution praising Eberlein for his “continuing application of conservative principles,” which included his vote in opposition to raising property taxes. Eberlein said the county needed to address its spending on non-mandated services instead of raising taxes. Additionally, the group was pleased that Eberlein was the sole commissioner to oppose spending $336,000 of county funds, along with $1.6 million in federal grant money, to build the Transit Center Hub at Riverstone. The plan for this endeavor is to eventually connect with Spokane Transit Authority, a proposition that is not inline with Eberlein’s conservative principles, as it appears to be a big loop to transfer people to the reservation casino on the public dime. He also said, “You have crime that comes in when you put a transit system in.”

Eberlein humbly admits he isn’t the world’s best public speaker, but shared a little about his history in logging, organic farming, cabinetry, and gunsmithing. He moved his family to Kootenai twenty-four years ago and now enjoys fourteen grandchildren who all live locally. He is running for commissioner again for many reasons, however the cost of housing tops the list. He posed the question, “How are our children going to be able to afford the cost of living here?”

When asked how a commissioner can address the housing issue, he said “Property taxes are a crime against humanity.” He went on to explain that property taxes mean a person never truly owns their home, and landlords pass on the cost of property tax to renters. He colorfully said that the government gets you “by the shorthairs” when they place taxes on real property.

When it comes to funding capital improvement projects to meet mandated services, Eberlein replied, “I believe a use tax is the proper way,” and does not favor levies on real property. “When you force a property tax on somebody, and their home is at risk, it’s impossible.”

Eberlein believes the county is in crisis mode and this places significant risk on county taxpayers. He discussed the county’s purchase of buildings and grounds that did not appear necessary as well as the “bad idea and waste of time and taxpayer dollars” to look into changing the county’s form of government. He points out that the voters have soundly rejected this idea three times now, and says the entire thing “reeks of socialism.” He calls what is taking place right now “risky business” and wants to work to stop the consistent increase in the county budget and subsequent rise in property taxes. He referred to the Open Space Bond that was soundly rejected by county voters last November as a “cockamamie idea” that cost taxpayers and gave them frustrations for no reason.

When it comes to election integrity issues, Eberlein believes it is possible to count ballots at the precinct level, but says there “needs to be paramounts on the process for safety and to verify it was all kosher.” Counties in Idaho can decide these matters in regards to vote tabulation without any changes to state statute. “Go for it,” Eberlein said, who added that he would support such a measure to hand count the votes in Kootenai County and thinks a great many people would support it because “everybody is gun shy from electronic ballot counting.”

Eberlein noted one of his many accomplishments as a commissioner was getting the infrastructure in place for the jail pods during the construction of a much needed jail expansion that added 125 beds in 2018. It was during his time on the board that the project was initiated and the shells built with electricity, plumbing, and sewer to enable today’s interior completion to further accommodate the housing needs at the jail. He rejects the idea of private jails, and thinks the county jail should be reserved for local residents who, for whatever reason, require incarceration. Before the jail expansion was undertaken, Eberlein insisted on getting an architect who could render a computer assisted design visual of the project that would enable a clear understanding of the building’s interior and exterior so that there would be no surprises after construction began.

Eberlein advanced a resolution in 2015 to remind the state and federal governments about the dangers of not vetting refugees and radical terrorists, as well as the costs of illegals. He said as a commissioner he would never agree to lease or rent county property to entities providing services to illegal foreign nationals. He also worked with the county’s IT department to implement an update to the county’s website, which has given the public access to a functional system complete with meeting agendas and audio.

Additionally, Eberlein was able to protect private property rights by consolidating and simplifying the land use ordinances. Now residents enjoy home occupation by right, meaning a homeowner can work from home without interference or special permitting. Waterfront property owners can stabilize the shoreline to prevent erosion damage which preserves water quality, parcels can be easily combined, and accessory dwelling units are now possible, as well as increasing accessory building size.

One public commenter during Eberlein’s tenure stated, “I always had a lot of respect for Dan Green’s leadership, but I must admit that I am enjoying you [Marc] leading the BOCC and not just because you bring great humor to the process, you do your homework, you clearly seem to understand the BOCC’s role, and you listen to your staff and constituents.” Eberlein refers to former commissioner Dan Green as “a rockstar” when it comes to the county budget, even though they have a difference of political opinion in other areas.

Eberlein believes that honesty, common sense, practicality, and a desire to listen and to hear are qualities to look for when electing government officials. He believes “public safety is an essential service and demands keeping a vibrant law enforcement.” He acknowledges that tax burdens are sapping Idahoans on a daily basis, and believes “parental rights, gun rights, healthcare freedom, and even life itself” are at stake. 

There are two county commissioner seats up for election every even numbered year in Idaho. Candidates must first win their party’s primary in May, then go up for election on the November ballot.